When high mineral content leaves you with hard water, your home will be the first to know about it. Soap scum, calcium deposits, spotty dishes, reduced efficiency and lifetime for your water-using appliances — the list of problems goes on and on.
There are plenty of DIY hard water treatment solutions, particularly vinegar and baking soda. However, most of these approaches involve a lot of time, money and effort. That’s why they’re only temporary. For a permanent fix, you’ll need a water softener system.
Here’s your guide to hard water solutions and why softening is your best bet.
Hard Water Problems and Solutions
Calcium and magnesium are the main “hardness minerals,” and while they’re generally safe to drink, they can cause problems throughout your home. Fortunately, there are a few solutions right at your fingertips:
Hard Water Stains on Fixtures and Faucets
Hard water stains come in many forms. Some are like a white, chalky film over your sink faucet, leaving patches that refuse to come clean. Others appear as mineral deposits or limescale that build up around your shower head and even inside plumbing fixtures like your toilet.
Solution: Vinegar is perhaps the best DIY approach to hard water stains in these areas. You’ll need to find a way to soak the fixtures, whether by draping a vinegar-dampened cloth over your faucet or securing your shower head in a plastic bag. You can also add
Hard Water Stains on Bathroom Glass
If you notice a layer of scum-like white spots on your shower door or mirror, you’re seeing another kind of hard water problem. The challenge here is to remove the dissolved mineral content without leaving scratches or scuffs.
Solution: You’ll want something gentle but acidic — a tricky combination. Vinegar with a bit of lemon juice can get the job done as long as you warm the solution in the microwave, spray it on the glass and let it sit for about three minutes. Remember to use a non-abrasive cloth to wipe it clean.
If your dishes come out of the dishwasher looking speckled or hazy, you’ve found yet another type of hard water deposit.
Solution: Soak your dishes in warm water and vinegar, then give them a quick rinse and let them dry.
Stiff, Smelly Laundry
Too much mineral content in your water supply can make your laundry feel stiff when it comes out of the washing machine. Those same hardness minerals can also make your fabrics hold onto odors and may even fade your bright colors.
Solution: Add a bit of vinegar — up to half a cup — to your washing machine instead of fabric softener. This can help break down the mineral buildup and counteract the effects of the hard water.
Mineral Buildup in Your Plumbing
The same limescale that clings to your faucets can also get inside your plumbing. This can restrict water flow, limit the lifetime of your water-using appliances and potentially cause corrosion over time.
Solution: You can use drain cleaning supplies or make your own with vinegar and baking soda. However, you may need to call a plumber — especially if the mineral content has already started damaging your pipes.
The Best Hard Water Solution
Although DIY solutions may seem easy enough, the truth is that you’d have to repeat them indefinitely — because until you solve the root problem, which is the mineral content of your water, these issues will keep reappearing. That’s why a water softener is the best hard water solution.
Water softeners are typically installed where your water source enters your home. They use resin beads and salt to attract, trap and flush away hardness minerals. Softened water then flows out to all your home’s taps, where it won’t create stains, buildup or spots. In this way, softeners do two things:
- Address existing problems by removing the mineral content that adds to limescale, buildup and spots every time you run the tap.
- Eliminate future problems by stopping minerals from building up in the first place.
Just keep in mind that most water softeners are designed to address hardness and nothing else. If you have other water quality problems, you’ll need a water filter system — or, depending on your needs, a specialized softener with built-in filtration.
Here are a few examples of the best water softener options:
This WiFi-connected water softener combines smart features with high-efficiency functionality, creating a system that puts you in control of your water quality. From convenient low-salt alerts and water conservation tracking to third-party certifications and an impressive lifespan, this softener makes it easy to manage your water supply.
Municipal water is often treated with chlorine for disinfection, and while it’s generally safe to drink, this additive can have a negative impact on your water’s taste and smell. That’s why this softener is designed to address mineral content and chlorine at the same time, providing water that smells, tastes and feels better than ever.
Iron occurs naturally in nature and can get into your water supply — and because it can be problematic to your health and home in large amounts, many people want it gone. This softener targets iron as well as hardness minerals to improve water quality at every tap. It’s a great fit for wells, because iron is particularly common in these water systems, but you can use the softener for municipal tap water, too.
Say Goodbye To Hard Water Problems
Water hardness causes all kinds of problems, from stiff laundry to stubborn limescale. While DIY solutions will help temporarily, they take time and money to implement. A water softener is a much easier — and far more permanent — solution to mineral content.
Before you choose the right system, you’ll need a water test to determine your water’s hardness level (and catch any contaminants or other issues). That will help you find out which softener is a good fit for your needs and whether you need a filtration solution too.
Schedule your free, in-home water test and consultation to get started.
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