So you’ve moved into a new home. Amongst all of the other things that you have to worry about, people keep asking you about whether your water is hard or soft. It’s not frozen into ice, so it must be soft, right? We kid, but many people don’t know the difference between hard and soft water until they encounter hard water. What is water softness anyway, and why does it matter?
Keep reading to learn all about it.
Water Softness and Hardness: What Is It?
When your water is “hard,” that doesn’t mean that it’s solid. Hard water is water with a high concentration of calcium and magnesium in it. In other words, it’s mineral water.
Soft water, in contrast, has a higher concentration of sodium (though this is usually unnoticeable).
Sure, stores sell mineral water in bottles for a premium, but this is different. The minerals in hard water, if they’re in high enough concentrations, can be problematic for renters and homeowners.
Problems with Hard Water
So why is hard water so annoying? There are a few hard water problems that show up if your water has a high enough mineral concentration.
First, hard water can make cleaning a pain. When it comes to your dishes, hard water will leave spots on glass dishes and any glass surfaces. Your shiny and clean glass will look dirty no matter what you do.
When you have hard water, you might find that strange stains show up in your toilet bowl. This isn’t dirt; it’s from the minerals!
Your clean clothes will come out of the washing machine feeling a bit filmy. The soap interacts with the calcium in the water to create a strange covering on the fabric.
You can also get that “filmy” feeling on your skin and hair. People with sensitive skin may find that hard water makes it feel dry or itchy. People with curly hair may have trouble maintaining their curl definition.
Handling Hard Water
Alright, so your water is hard. Now what?
Dealing with hard water problems can be frustrating. If you own your own home, you can compare water filters and find a solid filtration system that will soften your water in your entire home.
If you rent, you might have a problem. You can’t get a water softener if you don’t own the building (at least not without talking to your landlord), so what should you do?
Most at-home water filters won’t do the trick. Try to buy clarifying hair products to get rid of the film after you shower, and get thick lotions to protect your skin.
You may have to double-clean your dishes and take extra time during each deep cleaning session to empty your toilet bowl and clean the mineral stains.
It’s frustrating, but hard water isn’t dangerous.
Do You Have Hard Water?
If the water softness (or lack thereof) in your home is a problem, consider investing in a good full-home water filter. You’ll have clean and soft water that will be great for your glass, your skin, your hair, and your clothes.
If you rent, consider talking to your landlord about buying a water softener or start stocking up on hard water-friendly items today.
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