You’ve heard of hard and soft water, but what does that really mean? Is one healthier than the other? In this brief guide we cover the key differences and how to spot them.
The ‘hardness’ of your water is largely dependent on the amount of magnesium and calcium in it. The higher the presence of these two minerals, the ‘harder’ your water will be.
By contrast, ‘softer’ water tends to have higher concentrations of sodium, while having less magnesium and calcium.
How can you tell if water is hard or soft?
SIGNS OF HARD WATER:
- Feel: Especially evident after washing your hands, soap reacts with calcium in hard water to form soap scum, leaving a feeling like you have film on your hands despite adequate washing.
- Spotting: Calcium can result in spots on dishware or glasses, depositing calcium carbonate.
- Mineral Stains: Often evident on light-colored clothing, hard water can leave ‘mineral stains’ on clothing after being washed.
- Lower Water Pressure: Mineral build-up in pipes can result in decreased pipe diameter and reduced water flow.
SIGNS OF SOFT WATER:
- Healthy Lather: When washing hands, dishes and clothing
- Clean Clothes: Minimal wear and no staining
- Good Water Pressure: Due to clear pipes with no mineral deposits
- Slight Sodium Taste: Water will taste faintly salty