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What To Expect After Getting a Water Softener


After installing a Culligan water softener, you’ll quickly notice the numerous benefits of soft water, from silky skin to spotless dishes. Here’s what you can expect to see once your system is up and running (including what’s normal and what’s not). Plus, find out how to keep your system running at peak performance – and what to do if there’s an issue.

First, you’ll likely notice a few of these things after your softener is installed:

  • There will be water at the bottom of your brine tank after installation, as this helps create the salt solution needed for regeneration.
  • For hot water uses, it may take a few days to see all the benefits of soft water as your water heater runs through the remaining hard water in the tank.
  • If you previously had a water softener, you will notice the new unit will likely use less salt, water, and energy than your old unit did – Culligan’s HE water softeners are the world’s most efficient.*

Hair and Skin Improvements

One of the first differences you may notice is a slippery water texture in the bath or shower. This occurs because soft water allows your body’s natural oils to reach the surface of your skin (unlike hard water, which leaves behind an insoluble film of soap by-products).

The silky feeling of soft water might make you feel like there is soap residue on your skin that needs to be washed off, but the opposite is true. Soft water effectively rinses shower products without leaving behind residue, resulting in cleaner, more moisturized, and healthier-looking skin and hair.

Hard water also reduces the ability of soaps to lather, so soft water will improve the effectiveness of your body wash, soap, and shampoo as well. When you start bathing with a water softener, try using only a fourth of the amount of cleansing products that you did before installation.

Easier Cleaning

With a Culligan water softener, you can say goodbye to hours spent scrubbing your bathrooms and kitchen and countless dollars spent on unnecessary cleaning products. Here are a few tips on the easiest and most efficient ways to clean with soft water.

  • No more bathroom buildup: Soft water will not cause soap scum and grime on your shower doors, tiles, or faucets. If you have leftover hard water buildup on your appliances, the soft water flow will naturally loosen the soap scum and wash most of it down the drain. You can then spot clean any excess with a mild cleanser.
  • Less soap, cleaner dishes: Soft water helps prevent streaky and spotted dishes in the dishwasher. In fact, soft water requires much less dish detergent work effectively. Instead of a pod or pre-measured portion, use only one teaspoon of dish detergent for best results.
  • Softer, brighter laundry with reduced detergent: The first time you use your washing machine after installation, be sure to run one load without any kind of soap or cleanser. From then on, carefully measure your products to avoid stiff fabrics or streaks on your clothing caused by excessive soap. If you are using a top or front loading machine, only use a quarter the amount of detergent you used previously.

Simple Maintenance

Just like your car or any home appliance, your water softener needs maintenance now and then to ensure it performs in peak condition, especially if you have a private well or serious water problems like high iron content.

Water Softener Salt Refills

The most important part of keeping your water softener in peak condition is making sure you have enough salt to clean the resin beads that remove the hardness from your water. Most homeowners need to add salt every two to four months, depending on your water hardness, family size, and water usage. Softeners can also be adjusted around family changes such as a long-term guest or a child moving out. Culligan offers regular maintenance packages, including salt delivery and refills, to make this even easier.

If you’re ever wondering if you need more salt, take the lid off the brine tank. If you see salt, you’re in the clear– if you start to see water, it’s about time for a refill. If you have Culligan’s Smart HE Water Softener, you can also track your softener’s salt level and get low salt alerts on the Culligan Connect app. (Don’t have the app yet? Get installation instructions here.)

Cleaning and Other Maintenance

While water softeners are mostly self-sufficient, they require occasional cleaning or replacing of internal parts.

Salt contains insoluble material that collects at the bottom of the salt-storage tank and requires periodic cleaning. Depending on the type of salt you use and local water conditions, it is recommended to clean the brine tank every few years.

If your water is ever deemed unsafe to consume by your local municipality, you should have your softener sanitized. You should also consider sanitation if you are away from home for a long period of time.

Using the Bypass Feature

If you experience any kind of malfunction or leakage related to your softener, use the bypass function to stop your water from flowing through the softener while the issue is resolved. (If you have a smart HE softener, this can be done on the Culligan Connect app as well.)

You can also use the bypass feature when you don’t want to use softened water, such as when you’re watering the lawn or filling a pool. (Note that soft water is not recommended for fish or plants, so you may want to put your system on bypass before getting water for these uses as well.) If you turn off your softener for a long period of time, consider sanitation before turning it back on.

What to Do When You Need Help

For maintenance needs from brine tank cleaning to sanitation and more, the easiest approach is to call your local Culligan expert for assistance. (They can even service water softeners from other brands.) And if you have any questions at all about your softener, we’re here to help. Give your local Culligan location a call or schedule a service appointment here.

*HE Softener when configured with proportional upflow brining with Aqua-Sensor®.


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