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Why Does My Well Water Feel Slimy After Softened?

Scott Winfield
Written by Scott Winfield
Last Updated on

There are two main reasons for slimy well water: iron bacteria contamination or an increased sodium (salt) levels in your water softener

You should get your water tested since there are other contaminants that can also change the water’s feel and color. However, iron bacteria is the most common reason for slimy water many cases.

Iron Bacteria Gives Water a Slimy Feel

Iron in your well or plumbing system will make the water to look discolored, have a slippery feel and even cause the water to smell and taste like metal. If the water is slimy and leaves reddish stains on sinks and faucets, then its a sign of oxidizing iron.

Iron oxidization aids the buildup of rust deposits in pipes, which can cause clogging issues and affect the pipes overall lifespan.

Rusted Iron Pipe
Rusted Iron Pipe

There are a couple of solutions to get rid of iron bacteria in your water such as shocking the well or using a chemical injection system.

Shock chlorination is a method where highly concentrated chlorine solution is added to the well water for a short time. It is one of the most effective methods of removing iron bacteria in wells.

After shock chlorination treatment, you should also install a well water filtration system to remove chlorine and iron residue in the water. The best well water filter is the Springwell Well System.


The other solution involves using a chemical injection system (like the Springwell Injection System) to periodically inject chlorine into the water to kill bacteria and viruses. Like shock chlorination, you should also install a water filter system to remove chlorine residue in water after chemical injection.

Soft Water From Water Softener Feels Slimy

Softened water can be slimy due to increased sodium levels in the water and the complete lack of hard minerals. This is even more noticeable if the well water is too hard or if you have just started using water softeners.

Slimy soft water is a result of the ionization process that takes place when water softeners bind calcium and magnesium minerals with salt to produce sodium. The sodium gives the water a silky and slippery feel.

Is All Soft Water Slimy?

Yes, soft water is naturally slimy. However, the degree of sliminess depends on how much salt was used in the softening process.

Solution to Excessively Slimy Soft Water

If you’re uncomfortable with slimy soft water, then you should consider switching from using salt-based water softener to a salt-free water conditioner.

Water conditioners don’t use salt. Instead, they use Template Assisted Technology (TAC) to change the chemistry of hard water minerals, thereby preventing the minerals from building up.

The other option is to switch from using sodium salt to potassium chloride water softener salt. Potassium chloride salt is more expensive than its sodium chloride counterpart, but it is worth the try.

Potential Health Implications of Slimy Water

The potential health implications of slimy water depend on the cause.

Send a water sample for testing if you suspect that the slimy feel is due to iron bacteria contamination. Iron bacteria can lead to the growth of other dangerous organisms in the water, including coliform bacteria that can make you sick.

Softened water, on the other hand, doesn’t cause immediate health problems, but it lacks minerals and can have high levels of sodium or potassium, depending on the type of water softener salt you use.

If you’re on a sodium or potassium-restricted diet, test the softened water to see the amount of sodium or potassium. Also double-check with your healthcare provider to be sure it’s safe to drink.


Well water can have a slimy feel if it’s too soft or contaminated by iron bacteria. If you’re dealing with iron bacteria, it’s best to contact a professional to test and disinfect the water.

If the slimy feel is due to using a salt-based water softener, you should consider using a salt-free water softener instead. Or better still, switch from using sodium salt to potassium chloride water softener salt.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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