Why Does Soft Water Feel Slimy?

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Why does soft water feel slimy

Why does soft water feel slimy? Water tends to feel slick and slimy after the water softening process. This phenomenon is caused by the higher salt content in soft water. The sodium or potassium ions are the salt deposits that remove the magnesium and calcium ions in hard water.

Although soft water is vastly more beneficial for yourself and your home, the slimy feeling on your skin can seem alarming. Knowing the exact reason for this sensation can go a long way in settling heightened nerves.

The benefits of softened water outweigh the damage hard water can have on some people’s health and the life span of their home appliances. With all that said, knowing the benefits and risks of drinking or using this sodium-rich water is prudent.

Why does Soft water feel slimy?

The ion exchange process replaces the magnesium and calcium ions in hard water with sodium ions during the water softening process. This high salt content can manifest in unfamiliar ways on your skin. The most obvious being the water feeling slimy to the touch.

The Reasons Behind Slimy Soft Water

Trying To Remove High Levels of Hard Water

The number one reason for installing a water softener in states with high hard water levels is to remove the heavy minerals in the natural water supply. Hard water is not only rough on pipes and home appliances, but it is also rough on your skin.

The minerals in the hard water almost work as an undesired exfoliant which can remove your skin’s natural oils and leave the skin excessively dry. This process leaves you with that dry sensation that requires you to use more lotion to remedy it.

However, soft water doesn’t do this as much, and your skin then tends to feel unfamiliar and smoother. Sometimes it’s not even the water that feels slimy but your skin.

High Levels Of Sodium And Potassium Ions

Another significant factor in exaggerating the perception of dirty water is how soft water reacts with your shampoo and soap. When showering or bathing with hard water, you tend to use too much soap without noticing. The soap residue is then left on your skin as the water runs off and that slightly rougher feeling on your skin becomes normal.

People who have transitioned to a soft water system fall into the trap of using the same amount of soap and shampoo to get squeaky clean. The transitioning then leaves your skin with a silky feeling, and it seems that soft water is not capable of rinsing your body correctly.

Of course, this is only because you aren’t yet aware that soft water is more efficient, and using less soap will fix the slippery feeling on your skin.

How To Make Soft Water Feel Less Slippery

Adjusting The Amount Of Soap Used

Installing a water softening machine can save you money by allowing you to use less soap and shampoo when washing your dishes, clothes, skin, and hair. However, using soft water without this in mind causes you to miss out on this tremendous benefit, which manifests in the water having a silky feeling.

If you begin noticing that your dishes and shower floors seem soapier or have more soap scum because of the soft water, it is helpful to start experimenting with using half of the amount of detergent or less soap that you are used to. If the water still feels soapy, cut the amount of detergent or soap even further.

Adjust The Water Softening Settings

If you still experience a more-than-ideal clammy effect from the soft water, it may be time to look at your water softener’s settings. Just like you adjusted the amount of detergent or soap to use, you can change the softener’s settings according to the hardness of the natural water coming into your home.

Most water softeners have factory settings of a default water hardness of 20 or 25. This default is too high for water that’s not too hard. The water hardness needs to be tested before the water softener is installed to determine the correct settings and reduce the unwanted effects of too many sodium or potassium ions. A unit with a high default for water that is not so hard ends up using more salt and water.

The extra sodium in the water will cause a greasy reaction. Sometimes water softeners have a bypass that can allow a small amount of untreated water to mix with the treated water. This can significantly reduce the slimy feeling if the first two steps do not yield your desired outcome.

Is Slippery Soft Water Safe

Some people advocate for the calcium and magnesium ions and minerals found in hard water. They swear by the calcium and magnesium in the water because it is established that they do not cause any risks to the skin. Ultimately, having a healthy amount of these minerals in your diet helps balance your skin’s pH.

However, the unseen soap scum left by the hard water blocks the pores in your skin. They can also prevent soap suds from appropriately reacting with the water to create a lather to clean the skin well.

This forces some people to use more facial products or soap to clear out their pores to achieve clean and healthy skin. Unfortunately, this sometimes does little to convince the people experiencing skin breakouts.

They might note experiencing an increase in acne when they switch to soft water. Soft water should not cause any acne or unexpected reactions to your skin. If this is the case, it might be pointing to a different health issue.

Soft water is generally just better, especially when compared to hard water, to achieve clean and healthy skin and to prolong the life of your clothes and appliances. With the impurities in the water impeding the cleaning process, shampoo and soap stick to the skin, leading to your skin and hair feeling dry. This dryness can exacerbate eczema in some people.


The ion exchange process replaces the magnesium and calcium ions in hard water during the water softening process. This can manifest in unfamiliar ways on your skin. The most obvious being the water feeling slimy to the touch.

Troubleshooting and correcting the slimy feeling of this soft water is easy. This ease and the fact that soft water is more efficient in numerous ways make this minor inconvenience worthwhile.

Simply adjusting the softening machine to match your water’s hardness and reducing the amount of soap you use to bathe can greatly dimmish this unwanted sensation on your skin.

The H2Home Lab team is dedicated to helping you find the best solutions to your specific water needs, as well as provide troubleshooting tips and guides for water filtration, heating, softening and plumbing. We hope you will find the info you need on our site from any one of our buying guides or subject matter articles.

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