Hard Vs. Soft Water

When water falls as rain, it is naturally soft. It's only once it starts to get into the groundwater that it starts to harden up. Not everyone knows what the difference is between hard and soft water, or how to tell if they have one or the other. 

Hard vs. Soft Water

The biggest difference between hard and soft water is the mineral content. The thing that makes hard water hard is the fact that it has some mineral content in it, primarily calcium, magnesium, and lime. The molecules from these minerals suck on to the water molecules, which is what gives it its hard quality. The quantity of minerals in the water depends on a lot of things, including the geology of the area. For example, if you live in a limestone-heavy area, your groundwater is going to be filtered through a lot of limestone, which can leave high levels of both calcium and lime in your water. How can you tell if you have hard or soft water?


One way that you can tell that you have hard water is the fact that you are going to be left with scales or a white residue on dishes, faucets, shower heads, etc. The residue is caused by the minerals being deposited as the water evaporates. The scale may not build up overnight, but after regular use, you will start to see it happen. You can clean this residue or scale off with vinegar, because calcium and lime are dissolved by the acidic nature of vinegar. 

Lack of Bubbles

Hard water can also make it really difficult for you to get soap suds or bubbles when you are washing yourself, your clothes, or your dishes. It will feel like it takes up more soap then you might otherwise use in order to get the same amount of suds you might have gotten in other places. It's also going to be harder for you to rinse the soap off and you will be left with a residue that makes you feel like your skin is really dry or that you aren't as clean as you could be, because you still have that residue on your skin.

If you are worried about whether or not you have hard water, there are tests that you can do and you can get water softeners that will help you get softer water in your house to drink, cook, and wash with.