85% of people in the U.S. have hard water, with Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas having the hardest water in the country. Clearly, not all tap water is created equal, but what exactly are the differences between hard water vs soft water?
Water quality is a big deal, no matter where you live. It’s important to understand what you and your family may be drinking. Here are the basics of hard and soft water and what water quality means for your household.
When we talk about hard water vs soft water, we’re discussing the amount of minerals and elements dissolved in the water itself.
The difference between the two is a spectrum. The more minerals in the water, the harder it is – and vice versa.
Hard water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals, including calcium and magnesium. These minerals are picked up as soft water passes through or over soils and rocks, such as limestone. Tap water, unless treated, is generally hard water.
Soft water contains no extra minerals or elements. Rainwater is naturally soft water that becomes hard as it picks up minerals from rocks and soil.
Soft water can also be produced with water treatment devices that work to remove the extra minerals and elements from the water.
The Benefits of Hard Water vs Soft Water
Both types of water have their benefits. Hard water often tastes better due to the minerals in it, while soft water is flatter and sometimes salty. According to the National Research Council, hard water contributes to the total amount of magnesium and calcium needed in our diets.
Soft water sees the most benefit in our household chores. Soaps and detergents react better with soft water, saving on overall cleaning costs and resulting in cleaner clothes and surfaces. It’s also better for the longevity of household appliances, as there are no minerals to contribute to scale and blockages.
The negatives of hard and soft water can be a bit confusing. This is because they’re different depending on the uses of the water.
While hard water isn’t bad for your health, it can be bad for your cleanliness.
Soap often combines with the minerals in hard water, resulting in a sticky soap curd. As a result, hair washed in hard water can look dull or feel sticky.
When bathing with soap, the resulting curd can also leave a film on your skin, interfering with your skin’s pH balance. This can cause irritation and may prevent bacteria removal.
Hard water can also impact the cleanliness of your clothes, dishes, and surfaces. Dishes washed in hard water often have spots or blemishes. Hard water can interact with laundry detergents during the laundry cycle and cause fabrics to become stiff and rough.
Soft water’s negatives are fewer but significant.
Ingesting soft water is not recommended for those with circulatory or heart problems. This is because during the softening process, the sodium content of the water increases.
Soft water has a resistance to chlorine, which makes it problematic for swimming pools. It can also damage the surfacing or tile grout of your pool. This is due to the soft water seeking to balance itself by leeching calcium directly from the pool walls.
Have the Best of Both Worlds
Both soft water and hard water have their pluses and their negatives. At the end of the day, it comes down to a balance of mineral content. And that balance is achievable.
Clear Water Treatment offers water softeners and conditioners for both residential and commercial water systems. Get in touch today, and ask what we can do to improve your water quality.
Clear Water Treatment
4008 Wholesale Ct.,
North Fort Myers, FL 33903