Water softeners, sometimes called ion exchange units, reduce the mineral content of hard water to prevent damage to appliances and fixtures and eliminate bad tastes or odors. Water softener salts neutralize acid and remove minerals including iron. Softener salts come in pellet, cube, and crystal forms. They can include iron-fighting additives designed to reduce iron in the system. Water softeners condition water used for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing in commercial and residential applications. Water softener chemicals aid in the operation or maintenance of a water softening system.