So you’ve moved into a new home in a hard water area and you’re trying to figure out whether you have hard or soft water. Hard and soft water are similar enough (in most cases) that you won’t be able to tell the difference, but how can you know which you have?
We’re here to talk about it. Keep reading to learn all about hard and soft water.
Hard Water and Soft Water: What’s The Difference?
The difference between hard water and soft water is the mineral content. Often, when we think of mineral water, we think of the beverage. When water from your faucets has a high mineral content, though, it’s a bit different.
All water has minerals, but if water has a high concentration of magnesium and calcium, it’s hard water. Soft water tends to have a higher concentration of sodium (though this isn’t usually identifiable through taste).
How Can You Identify Hard Water?
If you don’t already know what type of water you have, it’s easy enough to figure it out based on a few key factors.
First, are there mineral stains in your toilet bowl? These stains make many homeowners and renters self-conscious, but they’re not anything to worry about. They look almost like rust and they’re hard to get rid of with a standard scrubber.
You may find that your hands, hair, and clothes feel like they have a light film on them after you use soap or shampoo. This is because the minerals interact with the soap. You may also find that it’s hard to work up a good lather.
If you notice unusual spots on your dishes after washing them, you may have hard water.
Is Hard or Soft Water a Problem?
So will any of this water harm you? Can you drink hard water? Can you drink soft water?
Most of the time, as long as your water is clean, you have nothing to worry about. Hard and soft water won’t make you sick. Hard water, however, can be irritating if you don’t know how to work with it.
Because it can create a film on your hair, skin, and clothes, you may feel “dirty” even when you’re clean. People with curly hair often find that they lose definition when they use too much hard water.
In other words, hard water is a nuisance but not a threat.
Can You Change Your Water?
You can use water softeners to change your water from hard to soft if it’s bothering you. If you’re renting a home or apartment, however, you don’t have this option.
If you’re unable to make changes to the plumbing, there are still a few things that you can do to mitigate damage. There are some showerheads that claim to remove water hardness, but they aren’t very effective.
If hard water bothers your skin, buy soap or body wash with aloe. If it’s messing up your hair, use clarifying shampoo once per month.
Is Your Water Hard or Soft?
There’s nothing wrong with hard or soft water. Both hard and soft water are common around the country, and neither will harm you in most cases. If you’re concerned, consider investing in a water softener.
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