Water Softening and Water Filtering: the Difference

Water Softening and Water Filtering: the Difference

Believe it or not, there was a time when even we didn’t know the difference between water softening and water filtering. But don’t tell anyone we told you. So don’t worry if you’re staring at your water options, scratching your head, wondering what exactly you need in your home.

Turns out, you don’t have to be an expert to understand the basic principles of water softening and water filtering–that’s what your Culligan Man is for. But let’s break it down, so you have a better understanding of what Culligan’s products can do for your water:


  • Filtering water involves separating mineral particles, like particulates, iron, hydrogen sulfide or other organic matter, from water.
  • By passing water through a “filter bed” or “media bed”, these granular particles are trapped and clean water passes through the bed.


  • Softening water involves something called “ion exchange” to remove dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese that can’t be trapped in a filter bed.
  • Softeners contain fresh resin beads with sodium attached to the bead and as water enters the tank, dissolved calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin.
  • The resin passes up the sodium in exchange for the dissolved chemicals and the water is then rid of these impurities.

Now the question is, which system do you need for your home? This depends whether contaminants in your water are particles or dissolved minerals. And if you were paying attention, you’ll know the filter removes particles while the softener removes dissolved minerals. Unsure what ails your water? Call your Culligan Man! He can provide a free water analysis or a free water test kit.

Never fear, your water filtering and softening are here.