The Best Water Softener Cleaner for a Happy Water Softener (2024)

Updated on:
January 23, 2024

Water softeners are essential for many homeowners across the country, but they can be expensive. So it’s important that you keep yours clean of damaging scale buildup. 

Designed to prevent and remove mineral deposits and other contaminants from the softener system, the right cleaner will keep your water softener working efficiently, as well as prolonging its life-span.

I’ve researched, reviewed, and ranked the most popular brands on the market to help you decide which cleaner is best for your system.

1. Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser: 9.2/10 

  • Best overall water softener cleaner
  • $13.28

Whirlpool’s Water Softener Cleanser eliminates mineral buildup and contaminants from water softeners, ensuring optimal performance and prolonging the system’s life.


Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser uses a powerful phosphoric acid solution to effectively remove harmful deposits from your water softener’s resin bed, as well as preventing or eliminating salt bridges and other malfunctions and contaminants that can compromise the performance of your water softener. 

Unlike other brands that require you to distill chemical solutions, simply pour the Whirlpool cleanser directly into the water softener’s resin bed, then press the regeneration button. After approximately two hours, the water softener is clean and ready for use.

It is compatible with most water softener brands and should last about four months.

If you own a Whirlpool water softener system, you can extend your system’s parts and labor warranty by continuously using this cleanser. All you have to do is show them your receipts for the cleaner. Since a water softener is a huge purchase, this is a pretty easy way to soften the blow.

This softener cleaner has been third-party tested and certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). While that might not seem like a big deal for a cleaner, it’s at least nice to know someone’s paying attention.


Whirlpool Water Softener Cleansers may not be as effective at removing certain types of contaminants as other, more specialized, water softener cleaners. 

For example, if you have a high level of iron or sulfur in your water, you may need a different type of cleaner that is specifically designed to target those contaminants. However, some of those cleaners call themselves specialized but have the same ingredients. So take those claims with a grain of phosphoric acid.

If you’re sensitive to strong smells, you might not like its reported strong odor. Luckily, most water softeners are located out of the way of living areas, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most people.


With its easy-to-use directions, compatibility with most water softener brands, and exceptional cleaning power, the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser is a top choice for homeowners looking to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of their whole-house water softener systems. 

If you need a trusted and effective cleaning agent that will clear out contaminants from your water softener, check out the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser here.

2. Pro Products Res Care All-Purpose Cleaner: 8.6/10 

  • Versatile but expensive
  • $23.67

The Pro Products Res Care cleaner can also be used to clean and maintain other water treatment systems, such as carbon filters and reverse-osmosis systems.


The acid-based cleaning solution in the Res Care water softener is safe for use in all types of water softeners, and it is especially effective at removing organic molecules, iron, manganese, and other heavy metals from the resin bed. 

It’s easy to use and can be added directly to the water softener brine tank, where it will dissolve and begin to work on removing buildup and contaminants. Simply add four ounces of this solution to your water softener’s brine tank and manually regenerate it. 


One major disadvantage of this water softener cleaner is the flimsy shipping package it comes in, neither padded nor bagged in plastic. In fact, several users reported that the cleaner leaked inside the package en route.

Another issue is that Pro Products recommends the use of an Easy Feeder in order for the water softener cleaner to be more efficient. This might be a sneaky upsell, but I personally prefer a product that works right out of the box.


Despite the packaging issue and the cunning attempt at an upsell, Pro Products Res Care All-Purpose Water Softener Cleaner is a highly effective and versatile cleaner that can improve the performance and longevity of water softener systems, as well as other water treatment systems in the home. 

Follow this link for more information.

3. Pro Products Rust Out Softener Rust Remover: 7.7/10 

  • Best for rust removal
  • $18.99

Pro Products Rust Out is a specialty product designed to eliminate rust stains and scale buildup in your water softener system.


The Pro Products RO65M Rust Out Water Softener is a good way to clean and get rid of iron residue from your water softener system and extend its life-span. Perfect for homes with high levels of iron in the water supply, this water softener cleaner gets rid of rust stains, breaks up salt bridges, and removes harmful mineral deposits. 

While Rust Out is intended for high iron concentration in water softeners, it also makes a good all-purpose stain remover, especially for ceramic and other surfaces that don’t absorb liquid. 


When using Pro Products Rust Out as a water softener rust remover, there are a few drawbacks to consider.

One notable issue is that it may not work on all types of rust stains or mineral buildup. Depending on the severity and type of rust stains, multiple applications or the use of extra cleaning products may be required to remove the stains completely.

The ingredients list of Rust Out is not that different from that of Pro Products’ other water softener cleaners, just with slightly different amounts. Beware of gimmick sales of similar products and compare active ingredients. Even with high iron and rust stains, a general cleanser may do the trick if the budget calls for it.


Pro Products Rust Out is a liquid rust remover designed to eliminate rust stains and scale buildup in water softener systems. It is a versatile solution that can be used on all types of water softeners and can effectively remove rust stains from a variety of surfaces. 

Despite a few things to look out for, Pro Products Rust Out is a powerful and effective solution that maintains your water softener’s peak efficiency and eliminates unsightly rust stains in your home.

Rust Out is available for purchase here.

4. Morton: $12.56

Morton Universal Water Softener Cleanser is a near clone of the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser but without the decades-long, trusted reputation of Whirlpool. While NSF certification may not be a huge deal for a cleaner, you should know that this cleaner doesn’t have it. So while it might mimic Whirlpool, it doesn’t come with Whirlpool’s peace of mind.

For a water softener cleaner that maintains your softener’s ability to provide clean, soft water, Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser is the best choice. 

5. EcoPure: $11.00

The EcoPure EPCL Water Softener Cleaner is yet another product that copies Whirlpool’s marketing strategy. They even have the same warranty extension program for their water softeners. 

However, the powder solution in this product is not as effective on stubborn mineral buildup or iron stains as Whirlpool’s softener cleanser. 

Be advised: Some users claim that the use of this product leaves a blue tint in their water, which they sorted out by reducing the prescribed amount of the cleaner solution. Other users have reported that EcoPure’s water softener cleaner has a strong odor that can linger in the water softener system and throughout the home.

6. Res-Up: $43.79

This is the most expensive option on my list. The Res-Up Water Softener Cleaner is a strong liquid solution of phosphoric acid and dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (BAC) that cleans resin beds and is especially tough on iron precipitate.

A significant disadvantage is that the chemical formulation in this product requires special attention during application and storage.

There isn’t much information available about its efficacy, but still, it doesn’t make sense to buy this product for $43.79 when the Whirlpool cleaner is equally effective and available for $25 less.

7. Pro Products Softener Mate Water Softener Cleaner: $31.50

This is another all-purpose water softener cleaner that is formulated to easily remove limited levels of iron, manganese, silt, and metal particles from your water supply. 

Softener Mate is used together with salt. If you live in an area with hard water and high salt levels, using Softener Mate regularly could increase the amount of salt in your water, which may not be desirable for some people.

Also, Softener Mate is designed to be used as a regular maintenance cleaner, but it may not be as effective for heavy-duty cleaning compared with other cleaners on this list.

Finally, this product costs $18 more than Whirlpool’s softener cleaner and is not as effective.

The Bottom Line

After weeks of reviewing the most popular brands of water softener cleaners, I concluded that the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser is the best high-quality, efficient, and affordable solution for maintaining your water softener’s peak efficiency.

It is designed to remove mineral buildup, iron deposits, and other contaminants from the resin bed, which can cause clogging and reduce the efficiency of your water softener. 

One of the key advantages of Whirlpool’s cleaner is that it is easy to use—simply pour the recommended amount into your device according to the directions and let it do the work. The formula is safe for septic systems, and it will not harm your pipes, fixtures, or appliances.

Overall, the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser is a reliable and effective solution for keeping your water softener in top condition, and it is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable, easy-to-use, and high-quality water softener cleaner. Buy it today here.

Best Water Softener Cleaner Review Methodology

Even the best water softeners need to be cleaned and maintained. But just any old cleaner won’t do. This section explains the process I used to find the most reliable water softener cleaner available.

Step 1: A big list of every water softener cleaner available

I began by writing down a list of all the water softener cleaners. This required days of scouring the internet on sites like Amazon, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Blain’s. In the end, I had a list of more than 40 products that are available on the US market. I needed a way to narrow down the list.

Step 2: Online reviews

The second step was to go through customer reviews for the brands on my list. Reviews help eliminate those brands that turn up nothing but complaints across multiple review sites. Finally, I put together a list of reputable products based on positive feedback. I was eventually able to narrow down my list of water softener cleaner brands to seven.

Step 3: Product analysis

This is when I got into the meat of the issue. I needed to compare each water softener cleaner’s capabilities. I knew I needed a cleaner that would effectively clean the water softeners, resin bed, and resin beads, but I needed to go deeper than that. 

So I made a list of all the main features that I would look for in a water softener cleaner. This includes questions regarding how various types of cleaners differ from one another according to these factors:

  • Price
  • Chemical compounds
  • Safety
  • Efficacy
  • Certifications
  • Ease of use
  • Availability

Step 4: Interviews with real customers

Next, I needed to figure out a way to talk to real customers who had first-hand experience using a water softener cleaner. The only surefire way was to do a questionnaire survey. 

So I called up a couple of friends and organized a door-to-door survey within a 30-mile radius. I also got in touch with a few licensed plumbers to find out about their experiences with water softener cleaning solutions.

I also held an online survey on Facebook and Twitter, just to broaden the scope of my reach. After three arduous days of legwork, I had all the information I needed.

Step 6: Test drives

I figured that if I was going to be objective in my review, I needed to speak as an authority on this subject. This meant that I had to purchase every product on my list and run a controlled test run. 

So I tried each cleaner on my own water softener and, to save time, some friends’ water softeners are well. They were happy to clean their water softeners for free, that’s for sure. In this economy, you gotta find savings where you can. 

In the end, I had everything I needed to sit down and write this review.

Final Thoughts

Whirlpool Water Softener Cleaner is a top-quality solution for keeping your water softener system in great condition. It is formulated to remove mineral buildup, iron deposits, and other impurities from the resin bed, which can cause clogging and reduce the effectiveness of your water softener

One of the key benefits of Whirlpool water softener cleaner is its ease of use. Simply pour the recommended amount into your brine well or salt tank and let it do the work. The formula is safe for septic systems, and it will not damage your pipes, fixtures, or appliances.

In addition to being easy to use, Whirlpool water softener cleaner has several other advantages including the following:

  • Compatible with most water softener brands
  • Affordable
  • Safe and effective formula
  • NSF tested and approved
  • Restores system efficiency
  • Reduces maintenance needs

If you’re in the market for a high-quality, easy-to-use water softener cleaner, check out the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleaner today. 

Click here to learn more about how to clean your water softener.

Would you like to explore further into the subject of water softeners? You can find additional resources below:

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