Routinely, we humans wash our clothes, dishes, laundry, bodies, hair, and food with water that comes straight from our taps. Today we are much more fortunate to have water right at the touch of our fingers within an instant. How lucky are we, however? Have you ever taken out a clean load of laundry only to realize it feels like concrete? Or have you ever noticed spotty dishes after they have been scrubbed clean? Or, you might have noticed an unattractive buildup in your shower or sinks. If you can relate to any of this, you may have hard water coming through your tap.
What is hard water?
If you are like most people, you probably don’t know what hard water even is. You notice that the water is coming out of your tap and assume all is well. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While it’s not harmful to ingest, hard water is water that contains more minerals than necessary. Hard water occurs when water passes through deposits of limestone, chalk, or gypsum. These rocks contain generous amounts of calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates, and sulfates. This mineral collection happens as rainwater passes through the earth and makes its way into other sources of water as it picks up certain “hardness” substances. These substances can build up to clog pipes and may also damage your appliances.
The truth is, hard water is responsible for causing damage to many things. Two of those things being your skin and hair. As humans, whether its men or women, it’s natural to want to feel our best. When something is off about our bodies, we notice it, and it makes us feel insecure.
How hard water affects your skin and hair
When hard water is used during showers, it takes a toll on your body – especially when used so consistently. If you are showering daily, this would be the case. You could have the most expensive, highest recommended shampoo and conditioner available, but hard water would still impact your hair. What happens is calcium and magnesium are two minerals that build up in our hair and become mixed into shampoo residue, which explains why your hair might seem goopy sometimes. If you are washing your hair with hard water, you may find that your hair has developed a straw-like texture, or you now have dull, limp hair.
The presence of hard water makes it nearly impossible for substances such as soap or laundry detergents to dissolve entirely in the water. As you can imagine, when soap or detergent is undissolved, it can leave an undesired residue on your body or laundry, and it can also leave a surface residue on your appliances. If you have ever noticed a strange residue on your clothing, tub, shower, washing machine, or sink, you may have hard water in your home. Additionally, consistently bathing in hard water and dressing in clothes washed in hard water can lead to increased skin irritation.
Is it the products you are using or hard water?
Have you ever had to put extra effort into lathering yourself up in soaps or body cleansers? Most people would assume the cause of this was the product. If you try product after product and the products aren’t lathering up like you want them to, you might be surprised to find out this has absolutely nothing to do with the products you are using, but rather the use of hard water.
Not only will hard water present the issue of poor lathering, but when you combine hard water with primarily cleaning products, it results in an undesired residue left on the skin. This residue could require additional scrubbing.
So what does this all mean for your skin? The soap residue that isn’t washed off in the shower clogs your skin pores and irritates the skin, which results in itchy, flaky, and dry skin. Many people assume adding lotion will solve the problem, but it’s making the issue worse.
In addition to the residue that’s left behind on your skin, the minerals contained in the hard water can also clog your skin pores which are not suitable for sensitive areas of the skin or, it’s not good at all for those with sensitive skin all around.
Facial skin or other thin areas, become reddened, or aggravated from related dry skin conditions may become worse with flushing damage to the blood vessels.
Last but certainly not least, we have the effect hard water has on our laundry. Who doesn’t love fresh, clean clothes? There are quite a few reasons why you won’t want hard water to come in contact with your clothes, sheets, or linens. Most importantly, when there is this residue left on the fabrics you put against your body daily, your skin comes in consistent contact with this residue, which will ultimately subject you to chafing, rubbing, and further skin irritation. So, what is a homeowner to do?
The solution: Water Softeners
The solution is getting a water softener for your home. Water softeners get minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron out through a process called ion exchange.
Ions are atoms or molecules that carry either a positive or negative charge because there’s an imbalance between electrons and protons. Cations have a positive charge and anions have a negative charge. Mostly during this process, as hard water passes through your water softener tank, the stronger charged calcium or magnesium is pulled to the filtering media, which are like a huge magnet. The harmful minerals that are attracted to the magnet don’t make their way into your water, resulting in softer water!
The Science of Water: Keeping your water clean and safe
If you notice your hair or skin has oddly changed and don’t believe it’s from the products you are using, it might be because of the hard water in your house. Contact The Science of Water for a free water test to see if you could benefit from a water softener! To learn more about water softeners, contact our team at The Science of Water!