90% of American homes have hard water running through the taps. Hard water is not dangerous, the hardness just refers to the number of harmless minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron in the water. The problem is that while these minerals are safe to eat, cook with, and bathe in – they also leave residue everywhere they go. The residue left by hard water is called “scale” and it is the source of all the common troubles associated with hard water problems in the home.
Scale builds up on everything. It is the chalky substance around your sink, it is the spots on your glass, it’s even what makes your hair and skin feel dry when you shower. When water dries or flows past something, it leaves some of those chalky minerals behind, and it’s surprising the trouble that hard water really can cause. Let’s dive into the top 5 hard water issues you may be having and how to solve them.
1) You Have Hard Water Problems If There Is Chalky Residue on Sinks and Bathtubs
When water flows out of a tap, it splashes onto the faucet, sink, and counter around it. When that water dries, it leaves scale. The same happens in your shower and bathtub. That chalky substance that makes your surfaces feel rough when dry instead of smooth and shiny is the result of hard water.
Solution: Spray Down with Vinegar.
The solution is vinegar. You’ll find this to be a theme in the fight against hard water and the negative effects of scale. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and use this instead of your usual surface cleaner. Use it daily or whenever you see the scale buildup. After a brief soak in vinegar, the scale will wipe right up.
2) White Spots on Your Dishes
When you run the dishwasher, white spots appear on the glassware when they dry. This is called water spots in dishwasher circles but once again, it’s scale. The white spots are just like on your tub, chalky minerals left behind by the water. It’s harmless but annoying.
Solution: Use Rinse Aid or Vinegar
The industry-standard solution is to use rinse aid, an additive with a special compartment in your dishwasher. It is specially formulated to melt scale and prevent water circles. If you don’t have rinse aid (or don’t care to budget for it) a small cup of vinegar in the upper rack can do a similar – if not quite as perfect – job of preventing water spots. It also keeps your dishwasher nicely scale-free internally.
3) Constantly Clogging Plumbing and Appliances
Scale isn’t just an appearance and texture problem, but also a performance problem. Scale builds up on the inside of pipes and appliances that use water. It eventually reduces drain flow, reduces water pressure, and can clog up both pipes and appliances. If you’ve been having trouble with your pipes, drains, washer, or dishwasher, then hard water is the most likely problem.
Solution: Install a Water Softener
When it comes to plumbing, you can flush your pipes and run vinegar through your appliances instead of soap. But to save the pipes between the water main and the taps, you’ll need a household water softener. This device removes the extra minerals from the water before the water flows through your pipes and taps.
4) Stiff or Sour Laundry
You may have also noticed that your laundry is slowly degrading in quality as one of your hard water problems. Just like fabric softener can build up on clothes and needs to be clarified, so does scale. The minerals cling to the fabric, they prevent soap from reaching the fabrics, and eventually, your clothes can get stiff and even sour because of it.
Solution: Wash With Vinegar and Borax
The solution for laundry damaged by hard water is, once again, vinegar. This time, add a cup or half-cup of vinegar to each load along with a scoop of Borax, a natural cleaning mineral. The vinegar will dissolve the minerals while borax helps to scrub the fabric and suds the soap.
5) Dry Skin, Acne, and Dull Hair
The final trouble with hard water is the effect it can have on your body’s external health. While these minerals are not harmful to ingest, they’re also not good for your hair and skin. You may have noticed that hard water makes your hands feel dry – the minerals are drying like salt and they stick to your body just like they stick to everything else. Scale can make your hair dull and brittle, and it can make your skin dry and prone to acne.
Solution: Water Softener and Clarifying Soaps
The best way to prevent hair and skin damage from hard water is a water softener, ensuring that only soft water comes out of your shower head, therefore preventing scale from doing it’s damage. Before you install a water softener, using clarifying soaps and rinsing your hair with vinegar and lemon juice are the best ways to keep clean of hard water scale.
Find More Solutions to Hard Water Problems
Does your home run hard water? It doesn’t have to. Contact us today to consult on hard water softening solutions for your home.