Everyone knows that water is an essential part of living on this planet. However, water is not always useable in its natural form. So what is the difference between hard and soft water?
Hard water has a substantial amount of dissolved minerals in it, such as calcium and magnesium. When water is in the ground, it trickles through limestone deposits, rocks, and soil, and gains minerals along the way. The longer water takes to get to you, the more minerals it will pick up.
In order to become soft water, the water must go through a process that eliminates the minerals from the water. Typically, hard water is softened with a machine called a water softener. Your water is softened when magnesium and calcium, which are hardness ions, get collected by tiny resin beads in the ion exchange process.
The resin beads are charged with potassium or sodium ions, and when the hard water hits the resin beads, it pulls the calcium and magnesium out of the water. So the calcium and magnesium are replaced by potassium and sodium, which leaves your water softened.
Why You Don't Want Hard Water
While hard water isn't a health risk, it affects your life in various ways. When hard water mixes with soap, it creates scum rather than lather, which means you have to use even more cleaning supplies. This soap scum also doesn't come off your skin well, so it will stick to you when you bathe and cause dry, itchy skin.
Hard water can also cause your clothes to wear out quickly because it gets stuck between the fibers of your clothes. Hard water also leaves spots on any surfaces you clean with water. Finally, hard water can cause mineral build-up in your appliances and pipes, leading to more frequent repairs.
Hard water is water in its natural form. You want to send hard water through the process to make it soft water to be more usable around your home. Unfortunately, while hard water won't make you sick, it will make your life more difficult. Thankfully, it is easy to make your water soft and usable.
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