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Safe to use water from a softener?

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by berry79, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Jun 13, 2011 at 1:26 PM
    #1
    berry79

    berry79 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Was just wondering if it's safe to use the water from a softener to wash my truck? I have been bypassing the water softener when washing my vehicles but, with the heat we have had lately, I just can't get them dry before the water spots set in. I typicaly dry by misting the surface with QD to get rid of the spots but, I'm going through the detailer fairly quick. I'm just worried that the salt in the unit will transfer through the water and onto the paint.
     
  2. Jun 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM
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    2008taco

    2008taco Well-Known Member

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    Yes its safe. Professional car washes use water softeners to prevent spots. The salt content is very minimal.
     
  3. Jun 14, 2011 at 6:48 AM
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    Chris(NJ)

    Chris(NJ) Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely! Always use a softener it you can!
     
  4. Jun 14, 2011 at 7:03 AM
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    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    The softner gets rid of the minerals, so you have less water spots. If you're pulling from a well, use a couple pre-softener water filters(start with a course and the 2nd a fine filter). It will increase the life of your softener. There's also carbon filters that get rid of smells and undesirable flavors you can add after the softener.
     
  5. Jun 14, 2011 at 7:34 AM
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    berry79

    berry79 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I have city water. I installed the softener because our water was high in calcium. I was just worried the salt used in the softener would be in the soft warer and damage my vehicles.
     
  6. Jun 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM
    #6
    PA Sniper

    PA Sniper Member

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    Here's how a softener works....as the city water passes through the unit it exchanges sodium (from the salt) with the hardness (mainly calcium and magnesium) in the city water. The harder your city water, the more sodium you end up with in the softened water. A softener just exchanges one dissolved mineral with another. The benefit of having sodium in your water as opposed to hardness is that it doesn't form mineral deposits and is easier to wash with. As for leaving spots, since you have the same amount of minerals in the water the spotting should be roughly the same. Your soap will work a little better, but you'll still need to dry the truck quickly to minimize spotting. Car washes sometimes use something called Reverse Osmosis, this actually removes the minerals and produces fairly pure water that doesn't spot. Sorry for the long response, but it gets complicated. Hope this helps.
     
  7. Jun 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM
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    PA Sniper

    PA Sniper Member

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    One last point, since it is the chloride content of salt that is corrosive to steel, and since softeners don't add any extra chloride to the water, you don't need to worry about the softened water being more corrosive than non-softened water. Chemistry class is now over. Enjoy!
     
  8. Jun 18, 2011 at 3:07 PM
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    berry79

    berry79 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks PA Sniper. That was very informative. Makes me feel better about using the soft water.
     
  9. Jul 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM
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    TacomaForever

    TacomaForever New Member

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    Thought I'd add to what sniper said by including this link to a site that goes through water softeners.

    Basically, yeah, softened water may be better to use in that it would have less magnesium/calcium which could leave spotting on the truck. On the other hand, it is slightly more salty, but not that much more so. It is sodium component of salt, not chloride.
     
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