People often describe their water as ‘hard water’ or ‘soft water’, but chances are they do not really understand what that means. Hard water is a type of water most prevalent in households and is treated in any number of ways, but the overall question is where does hard water come from in the first place, and more importantly, how do you treat it?
Water that is usually considered ‘hard’ is water that has a high concentration of dissolved minerals (usually calcium and/or magnesium). These minerals are good for your health, but they can be damaging to laundry and other household appliances and products.
Water, at its very essence, is a great carrier when it comes to picking up impurities. This is because of water’s innate properties that allows it to be a general solvent of anything it comes into continued contact with. For general purposes, most hard water that is utilized or shows up in homes comes from the water moving through soil and rock, dissolving small bits of minerals and carrying them along in the flow. This flow moves into the pipelines and eventually into the home water lines.
The problem with hard water is that it prevents many detergents and cleaning products from doing their best when cleaning dishes, washing laundry, or when a person takes a shower and uses shampoo or soap. This is because when hard water is heated, those minerals that are in it react to make the soap particles less effective.
If you have hard water you may have noticed that your attempt to lather up soap or shampoo results only in a small amount of grayish looking bubbles, but little else. This also makes the soap on one’s skin not to come off once applied, and can lead to slight skin irritation because of this.
Hard water can cause havoc in the home, because those minerals that make it hard water in the first place tend to produce a mineral build up on such things as shower heads, clog pipes for and washing machines, and can even wreak havoc on hot water tanks and boilers.
It should be stated, again, that hard water does not pose a health risk to people, and in fact the very thing that causes hard water, the minerals and elements, many experts state can be beneficial. The calcium and magnesium that are present in hard water can actually add to the overall dietary requirement. However, for the most part, having hard water is something that most people would rather do without, and rather get their vitamins and minerals from a good multi-vitamin pill.