How to Clean Water Softener Resin

Updated March 23, 2017

The resin bed in a soft water pressure tank contains ion exchange resin beads that work to dissolve metals, particles and minerals from the water. Resin beds and injectors can become fouled with a build-up over time of iron, silt and magnesium, which cause the resins beads to operate inefficiently. Clean the resin bed in your water softener with a rust-removal chemical treatment to return efficiency to your unit.

Turn your water softener control head to "Bypass" mode.

Locate the regenerate setting on the control valve on the top of the unit. Turn it in a counter-clockwise direction to the "Regenerate" mode.

Run the softener through a manual regeneration to ease water pressure before cleaning the injector.

Pull off the caps on either side of the injector head. Remove the injector nozzle and remove the screen.

Flush the injector screen with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse the screen thoroughly before returning it to the unit.

Remove any clogged debris from the nozzle with a small paper clip or other small wire.

Reassemble the softener injector, replacing the screen and nozzle.

Measure out the rust remover designed for water softeners according to the manufacturer's directions and mix with the recommended amount of water before pouring it into the brine well.

Remove the top of the brine tank. Add the water/rust-removal mixture directly to the brine well.

Run the unit through a second manual regeneration to purge it of the waste water. Purge a second time for heavily soiled resin beds.

Return the unit to the normal settings.


You can use a product such as "Iron-Out" once yearly for major cleaning, or in smaller doses more often to keep a build-up from occurring inside of the resin bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Detergent
  • Paper clip
  • Rust removal product
  • Container
  • Measuring device
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About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.