So, let me start by saying I’m an idiot. As implied by the title, I spilled pvc primer in my water softener tank. I was installing a whole house filter overhead and doing the piping and knocked it down. In addition, the tank was partially filled with water (rather than just salt...that’s a whole different story).

So now the tank is filled with a combination of salt, water, and pvc cement. At this point, do I get rid of the softener entirely? Empty the water/salt, clean, then reuse? Do nothing and trust the primer won’t kill me?

  • 3
    You want us to tell you if it is safe to consume pvc primer? Read the container, what does it say to do if ingested? When did you last refill the stock? Are we talking ~$30-50 of material? and peace of mind? I don't think it is an opinion to say clean it out and not make a bad situation even a wee bit worse.
    – noybman
    Jan 5, 2019 at 22:45
  • Was it primer or cement that yiu spilled?
    – Kris
    Jan 5, 2019 at 23:11
  • @noybman-I was kidding about the third option. My real question is whether I need to trash the whole thing or if it can be cleaned. @Kris—the primer
    – dfife
    Jan 6, 2019 at 10:10
  • I asked because the title says primer but in the last paragraph you say cement. Primer with its 30-40% acetone content would quickly mix with the water and necessitate trashing all the content of the tank.
    – Kris
    Jan 6, 2019 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


If, you are speaking of the salt tank and not the water softner, since the water softner should be a sealed unit, just remove the salt and flush out the tank and install new salt. By the way, how did the primer get into a tank that is sealed or a salt tank that has a top on it?

  • It leaked into the brine tank from the sides. I spilled a LOT!
    – dfife
    Jan 7, 2019 at 21:03

If it leaked in from the sides, that means there are holes in the brine tank and it is trash but I suspect that is not what you truly mean and just that the lid was off and it is letting the PVC item leak down the sides??? I suggest removing as much as practical, dispose of the salt and wipe it down before letting it all dry well before reusing. Whether cleaner, primer, or solvent, they are all okay for potable water use once fully dried and being in free air, this will dry quickly. This water/brine is not what we should be drinking directly but used only for the ion exchange before rinsed and flushed down the drain, so I consider the hazard to be quite small. There are few standards for the purity of this salt and common stock salt is often used as a cheap alternate, even though it is full of debris and not the best thing for the softener.

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