Does a Water Softener Remove Fluoride: Explained by Expert

Fluoride is a mineral that is present almost in all groundwater in a small or substantial percentage. Fluoride helps prevent the decaying of teeth by resisting the acid attacks from plaque bacteria. 

Does a water softener remove fluoride
Does a water softener remove fluoride?

Not all water has a considerable amount of fluoride to fight tooth decay. Some groundwater and springs have a high amount of fluoride.

What happens when fluoride is more than the required percentage?

Having fluoride more than the optimum level is harmful. A high level of fluoride, if exposed for a long duration, can lead to skeletal fluorosis. 

What happens when fluoride is more than the required percentage?
What happens when fluoride is more than the required percentage?

Skeletal fluorosis is a condition where fluoride gets accumulated in the bones. Further, it can result in stiffening and paining of joints, leaving the bones getting weaker or creating fractures in older adults.

Does a water softener remove fluoride?

The answer is simple- No. Water softeners target positively charged ions to exchange them with negatively charged ions. Fluoride is a negatively charged ion. So it’s hard to remove fluoride with water softeners.

Does a water softener remove fluoride
Does a water softener remove fluoride?

Fluoride from water can be removed by:

You can’t rely only on your water softener system to get safe drinking water.

What do Water Softeners Remove?

Water softeners are filtering agents or appliances that convert hard water into soft water.

What do Water Softeners Remove?
What do Water Softeners Remove?

💧What does hard water contain?

Hard water contains a large or fewer percentage of minerals like calcium, magnesium, impurities, contaminants, etc. Be it rainwater or any other source, water carries all available minerals during its flow, making them a part of itself.

💧Why convert hard water to soft water?

The minerals dissolved in water damage your home appliances, plumbing systems, clothes, skin, hair, etc. In addition, they carry other impurities that can pose a threat to your health.

Converting hard water to soft water benefits you in several ways and helps to increase the lifespan of your home appliances, plumbing systems, etc. You may require less soap, and your clothes will feel soft to you after washing with soft water. Using soft water will lessen your maintenance cost on your boilers, washrooms, and bathrooms.

💧How is it done?

Water softeners remove the ions from the water, which are the main reasons for water being hard water. In most cases, Calcium and Magnesium are responsible for water getting hard.

The water softeners have a system to remove these impurities, along with other contaminants leaving the water soft. The most efficient way to convert hard water to soft water is by connecting a water softener system to your water supply.

💧Are all the impurities removed?

No. There’s a limit to water softeners. It has a system to replace positive ions with negative ions, so the minerals having positive ions will only be removed. 

💧What gets removed?

Calcium and magnesium minerals dissolved in water are known to be positively ionized. Therefore they get removed to convert hard water into soft water.

💧What doesn’t get removed?

Fluoride, on the other hand, though dissolved in the water as an impurity, cannot be removed as it is negatively ionized. In addition, water softeners fail to eliminate all contaminants like viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and impurities like chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, etc.

Water softener also fails to remove physical impurities like rust, sediment, or other precipitated elements. Chemicals like iron and manganese, known for their discoloring properties, are also not eliminated. The soft water recycled using the water softener is still not safe for you to drink or use for cooking.

Does Culligan water softener remove fluoride?

No, Culligan water softener is built with core functionality to remove the minerals causing the hardness of the water. These minerals are positively ionized and are exchanged with negative ions, giving you soft water. 

Since fluoride has negative ions, it doesn’t get removed and remains in the water in a dissolved state. However, water filter systems with reverse osmosis can block fluoride with other impurities and contaminants and give you water suitable to consume.

How to remove fluoride from drinking water?

How to remove fluoride from drinking water?
How to remove fluoride from drinking water?

💧Reverse Osmosis Filtration System

 A practical solution to lessen excess fluoride or remove it entirely from drinking water is to set up a filtration system based on reverse osmosis.

The semi-permeable membrane in the Reverse Osmosis units blocks large molecules like impurities (chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, etc., dissolved in water) and contaminants (viruses, bacterias, protozoans, etc.), allowing pure water to pass through. Fluoride dissolved in natural water also gets blocked, giving you fluoride-free pure water.


In this process, water gets heated to collect evaporated vapor in another container. Fluoride and other impurities remain behind as they don’t vaporize. The vapor accumulated is later condensed to give you fresh, pure, and drinkable water, free of fluoride, contaminants, and impurities.

💧Bone Char Carbon

This is another effective way to eliminate fluoride from water. It also helps to remove heavy metals, chlorine, and pesticides.

Bone Char is created by charring animal bones at a high temperature. It contains tricalcium phosphate, which helps to remove fluoride and metal ions in water. Fluoride gets replaced with carbonate from the char, thus making the water free of fluoride.

💧Activated Alumina

This is one of the most used processes for removing fluoride from water. It uses the adsorption technique. The fluoride and other impurities are successfully absorbed from water, making the water safe for drinking.

How can I remove fluoride from water cheaply?

Distillation is one process that you can try at home without any professional costs involved. Some of the other alternatives are:

  1. Fluoride Water Filter Pitcher: This is one of the most convenient and easy-to-use methods. Suitable when your water requirement is less.
  2. Faucet Mount Water Filter: Mounting a fluoride filter to your faucet will give you safe drinking water with recommended fluoride content. Again this is when your water requirement is not much.
  3. Using Holy Basil: This is the most natural way, in which you just put some basil leaves in your water container for above 8 to 10 hours.
    • If you have the means to check the fluoride content, you will notice it has considerably reduced. Don’t use this method if your demands require urgency.
  4. Using Gravity Fed Filters: The device is cylinder shaped and contains two chambers. The chambers stand separated by a thick mesh filter. The upper compartment holds the fluoridate water.
    • While the RO relies on power to apply force to water, the Gravity Fed filters use gravity to do the same. Water collected at the lower chamber is fluoride-free and safe to use.
  5. Water bottle with a built-in Fluoride filter: This is the best option if you want to ensure you drink fluoride-free water whenever you are outdoors. It works on the similar concept of Gravity Fed filters and blocks all other contaminants along with fluoride.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1 Which water filter removes fluoride?

A water filter based on the Reverse Osmosis principle removes fluoride.

Q.2 How long does it take to get fluoride out of your system?

It may take around 15 hours to take fluoride fully out of your system. In some cases, it may be about 55 hours too.

Q.3 How can I reduce my fluoride intake?

☑️ Avoid unfiltered drinking water.
☑️ Say no to fluoride supplements.
☑️ Reduce intake of drinking soda and reconstituted fruit juices.
☑️ Start using toothpaste without fluoride content.
☑️ Stop drinking red or black tea as the leaves contain high fluoride content.
☑️ Avoid Overheating Teflon pans, as the fluoride content from the pans gets released into the air.
☑️ Check for labels on packed food. Many preservatives have fluoride as one of their components.
☑️ Avoid tobacco chewing.
☑️ In case you need anesthesia, ask your doctor about fluoride-free drugs.
☑️ Some medications contain fluoride. Avoid using them and switch to fluoride-free options.

Q.4 What brands of water have no fluoride?

☑️ Smartwater.
☑️ Nestle Pure Life.
☑️ Evian.
☑️ Aquafina.
☑️ Dasani.
☑️ Poland Spring.
☑️ ESKA.
☑️ Icelandic Glacial.
☑️ Sam’s Choice.
☑️ Ozarka.
☑️ Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water.
☑️ Niagara Purified Water.

Q.5 Does bottled water have fluoride in it?

All bottled waters have an allowable amount of fluoride, which is safe to consume.


Natural water may contain fluoride in few or large quantities. Fluoride in a limited amount is helpful as it fights tooth decay and stops the cavity-formation by bacteria.

However, excess fluoride can be dangerous to your health. The excess Fluoride can get deposited in the bones and cause them to weaken. In senior adults, it can lead to bone fracture.

Water softeners are used to soften the water but don’t help to remove Fluoride and other impurities from the water. For that, you will need to install water filtration systems based on reverse osmosis, which blocks Fluoride and other contaminants in the water and makes the water safe for drinking.