Positive and negative ions attract when NaCl, or salt crystal, is placed in water. However, negative chloride ions on the surface become attracted to positive sodium ions nearby and the positive sodium ions become attracted to the chloride ions and to the partially negative oxygen atom in the water. Soon a "tug-of-war" will occur between the other ions in the crystal and water molecules for the various positive and negative ions. This leads to the breakdown of the salt and to its ultimate dissolved self.
Once a salt has completely dissolved, the ions are fully released from the crystals and are now completely surrounded by water molecules.
NaCl is an ionic compound and as such is formed due to the electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions. Ionic compounds consist of two parts: a metal and a non-metal. The metal loses one or more electrons to become a positively charged ion known as a cation. The non-metal loses one or more electrons to become a negatively charged ion known as an anion.Learn more about Chemistry