How to Deal with Hard and Soft Water
Nearly everyone knows that hard water can wreak havoc on your plumbing and can leave nasty deposits on your laundry and bathroom fixtures. For many, the solution is a water softener system to remove the minerals. What you may not know is that extremely soft water can cause a host of problems, too. Understanding the difference between hard and soft water and how that affects your personal care routine will help you find the solution that works for you.
Hard vs. Soft Water
Hard water contains high amounts of naturally-occurring minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The minerals get into the water when rainwater percolates through the soil to enter the ground water. Soft water has few or no mineral deposits. Water hardness is rated on a scale from 0 to 180 or more milligrams per liter (mg/l), with 0 being very soft water and 180 or above being very hard water. According to a report by the American Water Works Association, about 85 percent of the homes in America have hard water.
Solving Problems with Hard Water
The minerals in hard water form lime scale, the crusty, white residue you find on faucets and inside coffee makers and tea kettles. This can occur on any surface that water touches. When water evaporates off these surfaces, a little bit of calcium carbonate is left behind, creating a buildup of lime scale. If left unchecked, you may find yourself calling in a plumber due to slow drains.
Although you might not see it, this residue builds up on laundry and on your hair, too. It can make it difficult to create a lather from laundry detergent, shampoo and body washes. There are several solutions to combating the effects of hard water, such as:
- Installing a water-softening system. This method can be costly and may not be practical if you rent your home or live in an apartment. It is a good solution for families with extremely hard water who are tired of fighting the effects of mineral deposits. If laundry is a concern, a water-softening system will likely solve the problem.
- Installing a shower filter. This solution works well if your primary concern with hard water is the effects on your skin and hair. The filter removes the hard water deposits, allowing your shampoo and body wash to perform as expected.
- Using special products for your hair. You can rinse your hair with lemon juice or white vinegar for a quick home remedy to remove mineral deposits and leave it soft and manageable. You can also use a clarifying shampoo or shampoo designed for hard water.
What to Do About Soft Water
If your water is naturally soft, or you are using a water softener system in your home, you may notice some problems with laundry and personal care. Because the soft water lathers easily, it may be difficult to remove the suds from laundry or the lather from your shampoo.
- Use shampoo designed for soft water. You can purchase liquid or bar shampoo that is designed to use in soft water. It creates less lather and is easier to rinse from your hair.
- Alter your shampoo routine. Instead of putting the shampoo on top of your head and lathering from the top, try parting your hair and applying the shampoo to the oiliest part of your hair, typically the center back of the head. Adjust the amount of shampoo you need to keep your hair clean, without leaving residue in your hair.
- Use a low-sudsing laundry detergent. You can find this with detergent for front-end washers. You can also reduce the amount of detergent.
If you are experiencing problems with the water in your home, contact us today. We provide 24-hour emergency service.