Soft water and hard water are terms that refer to the mineral content of water. Water that contains high levels of minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium, is known as hard water. On the other hand, water that contains low levels of minerals is known as soft water.
While the mineral content of water may not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a significant impact on your daily life. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between soft and hard water, the effects of hard water on your home and appliances, and the benefits of using soft water.
What is hard water?
Hard water is water that contains high levels of minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. These minerals can enter the water supply through natural sources such as rock formations and soil, or they can be added to the water during the treatment process.
Hard water is not harmful to consume, but it can cause a variety of problems in your home. The most common issues associated with hard water are:
Soap scum build-up: When hard water mixes with soap, it can leave a film on your skin, hair, and surfaces. This film is called soap scum, and it can be difficult to remove, leaving your skin feeling dry and your surfaces looking dingy.
Clogged pipes: The minerals in hard water can accumulate in your pipes and form a hard, crusty substance called scale. Over time, this scale can build up and clog your pipes, leading to reduced water flow and potentially costly repairs.
Reduced appliance efficiency: Hard water can also have an impact on the efficiency of your appliances. The minerals in hard water can build up inside your appliances, reducing their performance and potentially shortening their lifespan.
Stained clothing: Hard water can also cause clothing to become discolored and faded over time, as the minerals can bind to the fibers of your clothing and leave behind a residue.
What is soft water?
Soft water, on the other hand, is water that contains low levels of minerals. Soft water is typically created through a process called water softening, which removes the minerals from the water using a substance called a “water softener.”
There are several benefits to using soft water in your home, including:
Easier cleaning: Soft water does not leave behind soap scum, so it is much easier to clean surfaces and clothing. This can save you time and effort when it comes to cleaning your home.
Improved appliance efficiency: Soft water does not contain the minerals that can build up inside your appliances, so they are able to perform more efficiently and last longer.
Better-looking clothing: Soft water can also help your clothing last longer and maintain its color, as it does not leave behind a residue that can bind to the fibers of your clothing.
Softer skin and hair: Because soft water does not leave behind a film of soap scum, it can leave your skin and hair feeling softer and healthier.
There are a few ways to test for hard water:
Use a home test kit: These kits are readily available at home improvement stores and online. They usually come with a test strip that you can use to determine the hardness of your water.
Use soap and water: Fill a jar with equal parts water and liquid soap. Shake the jar and if the water is hard, you will see a lot of suds. If the water is soft, there will be very few suds.
Look for signs of hard water: Some common signs of hard water include spots on dishes and glassware, soap scum on bathtubs and showers, and a build-up of scale on pipes and water heaters.
Have your water tested: You can also have your water tested by a professional laboratory to determine the exact hardness of your water.