Are you experiencing white spots on your washed clothes? Or is your skin getting dry and hair brittle? In that case, it is quite a possibility that the water supply to your house is hard in nature. And, hard water has its own set of cons that can be a nuisance for your skin, hair, and expensive home appliances.
Therefore, the experts recommend using water softening methods to reduce the ill effects of hard water. In our article, we have discussed the ways in which you can convert the hard water into a soft one. But, before that, it is worthwhile to know if your water is even hard or not. So, without much ado, let’s get started.
How to Know if You Have Hard Water?
Groundwater usually runs through soil rich in minerals and rock particles, which allow minerals like magnesium and calcium carbonate to enter water. This results in hardness of water. This water, when passes through the household pipes can create limescale build-up inside the water pipes.
Let’s discuss some of the indications that will let you know if you have hard water supply in your house.
Reduction in the Flow of Water
Due to the limescale and mineral build-up inside the water pipes, you will find that the flow of water in your house is immensely reduced. This is the first sign that your water is hard.
Your Hair and Skin Get Dry
How many times have you seen that when you change places, your hair becomes dry or brittle. The same goes for the skin as it gets irritated. These are significant indications that you have hard water supply in your house.
Electricity Bills are Higher
The limescale deposits in the water make the appliances in your house work harder than usual, which results in higher electricity bills. This is one of the most prominent indications of hard water supply.
Your Soap Becomes Less Effective
One of the most significant indications of hard water is that it makes the soap less effective. It affects the formation of lather, which is essential while washing or bathing. You will see a typical type of soap scum on your skin or clothes that is difficult to wash off. Even the clothes tend to lose their shine and colour as the minerals in water reduce the efficacy of the detergent.
Tests Reveal Water Hardness
One of the best DIY methods to check for hardness of water is to take a water bottle and fill water to half of its capacity. Then, put about three tablespoons of any dish soap and shake the mixture well. Now, if you see the foam dissolving quickly, it is certain that you have a hard water supply in your home.
Water Hardness Levels
|Grains Per Gallon||Mg/L or PPM||Water Hardness|
Why Should You Convert Your Hard Water to Soft Water?
Hard water has its own set of disadvantages, which make it necessary that you treat it and convert it to soft water. Let’s discuss how treating hard water will benefit you.
- The lifespan of your household appliances will increase.
- The limescale build-up in the pipes and fixtures will reduce.
- You skin and hair will be smoother and softer.
- The efficiency of hot water and other heating systems will also improve.
- If you have dry skin, treating hard water will make your skin condition better.
- The quantity of soap, shampoo, detergent, or other cleaning substances will also reduce as now the soap will lather well.
Ways to Soften the Hard Water
Now that we know the advantages of water softening, let’s discuss some of the most common ways to soften hard water.
Simple boiling is the method that can be used to remove temporary hardness of water. All you need is to boil the hard water for a while and then let it cool for a few hours. This allows the minerals imbedded in water to settle down at the bottom of the vessel.
Since the minerals stay at the bottom, you can easily pour the treated water into a clean vessel. This will leave you with soft water. However, this method is only for temporary hardness of water and not for permanent hard water. Also, if you want to soften large quantities of hard water, this method might not be the most appropriate choice.
Using Baking Soda or Vinegar
Both baking soda and vinegar can be used to treat hard water because of their alkaline and acidic properties, respectively. Both are efficient in removing limescale build-up caused because of the minerals in water. We recommend opting for distilled white vinegar by adding three tablespoons of vinegar in three cups of water to get rid of temporary hardness in water.
Using Ion Exchange Water Softening Method
If you are looking for a sure shot method to convert hard water into a soft one, in that case, ion exchange water softening is the best pick. In this method, the magnesium and calcium minerals, responsible for hardness in water are exchanged or replaced with the sodium minerals. Since calcium and magnesium minerals are ionic, the machine allows them to pass over the man-made resin beads.
The resin beads are negatively charged which are attracted to the positively charged calcium and magnesium minerals. It is then that these minerals are exchanged with sodium ions, thereby removing the hardness from the water.
Ways to Soften Hard Water, Depending Upon the Purpose of Usage
The water softening ways mentioned above are some of the most common methods used for treating hard water. However, whatever method you choose also depends upon the quantity of water. For instance, the boiling method is useless if you want to use the water for washing machines as you can’t boil such a large quantity of water at your home. Therefore, you must always select the method based on the purpose of usage.
Depending on the purpose, you can follow the respective processes mentioned below.
Softening Hard Water in the Kitchen
Hard water in your kitchen will not only affect the kitchen appliances and the vessels but can also harm your body when food is cooked in hard water. Since the quantity of water used in the kitchen is quite less, you can also use the boiling method. If boiling seems like a hassle, you can opt for a water softening machine in your kitchen.
Equip the Kitchen Tap with a Water Softening Machine
If hard water is an issue in your kitchen, installing a water softening machine in the kitchen tap is one of the best solutions to the problem. It will make the water soft by removing the minerals from water even before you could use it. However, it will only soften the water and not filter it. For filtering purposes, you will have to install a secondary filter into the tap as well.
Softening Hard Water For Washing Clothes
As we have discussed above, hard water is a nuisance for clothes as well. Often the clothes become stiff or have mineral deposit on them due to hard water. Even the detergent efficiency is reduced as more of it is required to wash the clothes in hard water. To tackle this issue, you can opt for any of the methods mentioned below.
Use a Water Conditioning Liquid
A water conditioning liquid is one of the most useful methods of converting hard water into soft water. This conditioning liquid acts like a catalyst and absorbs the minerals from water, thereby converting it into a soft one. However, you must always opt for a non-precipitating water conditioning liquid as this will not leave any white precipitates on the laundry unlike the precipitating one. Just a few drops of this liquid into the water will leave your clothes soft and shiny like before.
Use a Hard Water Softener
You can also install a hard water softener into the water inlet of your washing machine. This method will do away with the need of using a water conditioning liquid every time you wash your clothes. It will automatically convert the hard water into soft water even before it enters the washing machine. Also, the additional costs of a water conditioning liquid will be reduced or eliminated altogether.
If you find scale build-up or white spots on your washed clothes, you can opt for diluted vinegar to get rid of those stains. For this purpose, use a little amount of diluted vinegar on the white spots and scrub it off with a help of a cloth. It will remove those hard water stains from your clothes. However, the amount of vinegar used will depend on the level of mineral build-up on the clothes.
Use Baking Soda
Another DIY method to reduce the hardness of water is to treat it with some amount of baking soda. You can add half a cup of baking soda into a bucket full of hard water to reduce the hard water levels temporarily. Again, the amount of baking soda used will depend on the quantity of water and should be taken care of accordingly.
Softening Hard Water in the Bathroom
As we have discussed above, using hard water for bathing purposes leaves your hair and skin dry and irritated. In certain cases, it can even result in dandruff, which is not a very desirable condition. Hence, you can boil your water before taking a bath to reduce the hardness in water. However, boiling is not always a feasible option, and therefore, we recommend opting for installing a hard water softening machine in the faucet of your bathroom.
Equip the Faucet of the Bathroom with a Hard Water Softener
Using a hard water softening machine in your bathroom will automatically convert the hard water into soft water before the water comes out of the tap and is used for bathing purposes. Most of these machines use an ion exchange water softening method for the conversion. This permanent solution will keep your skin and hair healthy while preventing the need of boiling water everytime you take a bath.
Softening Hard Water For Drinking Purposes
While for other purposes, a water softening machine or a conditioning liquid can be useful. But, for drinking purposes, one cannot rely upon these treatments for hard water. One has to take an additional step for filtering the impurities as well and make it fit for drinking.
Use an RO Water Purifier
You will have to opt for an RO water purifier that will not only reduce the hardness in water but will also remove several other impurities like dissolved metals (arsenic, lead, etc.), and other disease-causing pathogens like bacteria and viruses from water. It will leave you with a softer and drinkable version of water.
Now that you know how bad the hard water can be for your skin, hair, health, and other household appliances, it’s essential that you convert it into soft water. You can choose any of the methods mentioned above, depending upon the purpose of your usage. But, before you select any method, it is crucial that you check whether your water is even hard or not.
For temporary hardness in water, boiling it can be beneficial. Whereas, for average hardness, you can opt for an RO water purifier. In case of very hard water, you should opt for advance water softening methods like ion exchange water softener.
Which method did you opt for? Did the hard water levels reduce? Please share your experience with us in the comments section below. If there are any queries regarding the same, write to us. We will get back to you as soon as possible.