Living with hard water is difficult, it’s almost impossible to keep your home clean and the dissolved mineral content can damage your plumbing pipes, fixtures, and appliances. Hard water contains elevated levels of naturally occurring minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. These minerals are added to the makeup of the water as it passes through layers of rock, soil, and sand after falling as rain on the ground. Let’s take a look at five hard water cleaning problems that may be affecting your home and how to fix them.
1. Using Too Much Soap, Detergent and Energy
One of the more annoying characteristics of hard water is that the mineral ions prevent the formation of soap suds. This can lower the efficacy of soaps, detergents, and other cleaning products. Most people attempt to compensate for this lack of cleaning power by adding more soap, but this is not effective and it wastes money. This may seem trivial, but if you add up the costs of wasted soap and cleaning products over an entire year, it really adds up. To put this into some perspective, a dishwasher filled with soft water requires 30% less detergent. Washing fabrics in soft water requires 50% less detergent and lower temperatures can be used with no loss in performance.
2. The Formation of Soap Scum
Keeping a bathroom clean when you reside in a hard water area is a struggle every day. We’ve already mentioned the reaction that occurs when soap is mixed with hard water minerals. This inhibits the formation of soap suds, but it also forms soap scum. This is the hard waxy material that you can see on the tiles, faucets, fixtures, sinks, tubs, and shower curtains. This material is hard to remove and it always returns until the underlying problem of hard water is addressed. Another lesser known fact about soap scum is that it’s a breeding ground for bacteria, which is undesirable in a location where you want to get clean.
3. Unsightly Iron Stains
Iron may be present in hard water depending on the groundwater and local conditions where you live. This can lead to the formation of unsightly iron stains, which are reddish/brown in color. These stains tend to form around the shower and sink drains and in the toilet bowl. If you have a high concentration of iron in your water, it doesn’t represent a threat to your health. But the stains are hard to clean and they always return until the hard water problem is fixed.
4. Dirty and Spotted Dishes
If your dishwasher results are less than stellar, the root cause may be hard water. The mineral content of the water can even cause glassware to turn cloudy. Dishes may have spots and streaks that may need to be washed away by hand.
5. Damaged Fabrics and Stained Laundry
The mineral content of hard water can tangle in fabric fibers causing them to be dull, lifeless and they tend to wear faster. The detergent will be less effective and higher washing temperatures will not improve the results. In extreme cases, hard water can even stain laundry, which can ruin your clothes, towels, and other items.
What is the Solution?
Installing an ion-exchange water softener will remove the mineral ions that cause hard water and exchange them with benign sodium or potassium ions. This will make the water softer, it will be easier to use, and kinder to your home. If you want to install a water softener, contact your local water treatment specialist today.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.