Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning
task from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming.
Clothes washed in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and
scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water
may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks,
faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look
dull. Water flow may be reduced by deposits in pipes.
Dealing with hard water problems in the home can be a nuisance.
The amount of hardness minerals in water affects the amount of soap
and detergent necessary for cleaning. Soap used in hard water combines
with the minerals to form a sticky soap curd. Some synthetic detergents
are less effective in hard water because the active ingredient is
partially inactivated by hardness, even though it stays dissolved.
Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd
on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap
curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid
condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make
it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage.
When doing laundry in hard water, soap curds lodge in fabric during
washing to make fabric stiff and rough. Incomplete soil removal from
laundry causes graying of white fabric and the loss of brightness
in colors. A sour odor can develop in clothes. Continuous laundering
in hard water can shorten the life of clothes. In addition, soap
curds can deposit on dishes, bathtubs and showers, and all water
Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation
of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium
and magnesium minerals that can contribute to the inefficient operation
or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with
scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement.