When we consider the differences between “hard” and “soft” water, it’s important to remember that hard water has an elevated concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. During the water softening process, these are exchanged with sodium (salt) or potassium ions. This changes the makeup of the water that many people categorize as “slippery,” but what does that mean?
Bathing with Softened Water
Many people are well aware of the numerous benefits gained when they make a switch to using soft water. But, some people are turned off by making a switch because they’ve tried showering or bathing in soft water before, and they don’t like the sensation. In many ways, this is understandable; after all, if you’ve been bathing in hard water for most of your life, the immediate benefits may not be apparent. One of the first things that people notice is that they don’t need to use as much soap to get clean. When they rinse the soap away, it’s removed quickly, leaving skin that feels silky and smooth. At first, this can be disconcerting, but over time most people adjust to the feeling and then wondered how they ever washed with hard water.
Bathing with Hard Water
When we use hard water, it’s hard to achieve a lather because the calcium and magnesium ions affect the soap. Most people compensate for this shortcoming by adding more soap, shampoo, shower gel, and other products to feel clean. But, this has limited effectiveness, and it wastes a lot of soap over the course of an average year. Hard water also clogs our pores leading to acne and breakouts that we attempt to remove or cover with even more products. Finally, the hard water ions are also tangled in our hair after washing, leaving it feeling dull and lifeless. All of these problems cannot be solved by more rinsing, because you’re rinsing with hard water.
Hard Water Minerals
Have you ever heard the term “squeaky clean?” This is when the skin feels excessively dry after bathing, and it’s caused by a layer of hard water minerals left on your skin. If you have hard water in your home, you may have noticed water spots and scale deposits on your shower stall and other plumbing fixtures. This is caused when water makes contact with those surfaces and then dissolves later. What is left behind is the mineral content that actually causes your water to be hard. When you wash in hard water, this material is left as a residue on the surface of your skin, hair, and nails. This can make your skin feel dry, sore, and itchy and even affect the condition of your nails.
Getting Used to “Slippery” Water
When you bathe with soft water, your skin will not dry out because you use less soap and shampoo, and they rinse away easily. The water may feel slippery, but that is what it should feel like because the hard water minerals create friction in the water. If you find the water too slippery, you can switch to a pure soap and use less of it to compensate. Eventually, you will get used to the way soft water feels, and you will notice a dramatic difference in the conditions of your skin, hair, and nails.
If you want to learn more about water softeners, contact your local water treatment specialist.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.