What is Hard and Soft Water?

You’ve probably heard someone mention water in a home as either hard or soft. Or maybe you read it on an article. Either way, you probably wonder what exactly those terms mean.


What is hard water? What is soft water?


How can you tell which type of water you have in your home? And how does it affect your day-today living? Keep reading to find out:


Hard water:

This type of water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals including calcium and magnesium. Water is naturally soft, but as it passes through different materials, it picks up and dissolves the minerals within them. Hard water is the preferred drinking water because of the minerals and because of the taste, as well.


While it is preferred for drinking and is completely safe for your health, there are some downsides. For cleaning purposes, hard water doesn’t work well with soap. You’ll find that you’ll have to use more soap and that it won’t lather up as nicely. You’ll also find that it leaves behind a film or spots on dishes and surfaces after cleaning, making it look dirty.


Hard water deposits something called scale (limescale) which, over time can cause pipes to clog, reduce water flow and damage household appliances.


Soft water:

This type of water is free from all the minerals found in hard water. The only mineral it contains is sodium. It can be naturally occurring or can be produced through water treatment on hard water, where hardness elements are removed. This is generally not preferred for drinking because it tastes saltier.


Soft water works better for cleaning. Soap lathers up better, allowing you to use less soap. Dishes will be sparkling clean and you won’t have scum on your surfaces. It can even make your clothes and hair softer and cleaner.


However, soft water does have a downside: if it is too soft, it can result in staining and a resistance to chlorine.