Posted by Fountain Softeners on 6th Jul 2023

What is the difference between hard and soft water?

You may never have thought about it before but when you move into a new house and the taps and shower screen have white water marks - that's hard water!

So what is the difference between hard and soft water?

Imagine you're holding two glasses of water. 

One glass contains hard water, and the other contains soft water. When you look at them, they may seem the same, but there's a significant difference in what's happening at a microscopic level.

Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals are picked up as the water passes through the ground and rocks, dissolving the minerals along the way. So, when you drink hard water or use it for various purposes, you're also consuming these minerals.

On the other hand, soft water doesn't contain those extra minerals. It goes through a process called water softening, which removes the calcium and magnesium ions. This is typically done through a water softener, a device that exchanges the mineral ions for sodium ions, making the water "softer."

The effects of hard and soft water can be noticeable in various ways. For example, if you've ever noticed white deposits on your showerhead or taps, those are usually caused by hard water. The minerals in hard water can also create soap scum, making it harder to create a lather when you're washing your hands or doing laundry. Soft water, on the other hand, tends to produce more lather with soap and prevents the buildup of deposits.

Another difference lies in how it feels on your skin and hair. Hard water can leave a residue on your skin, making it feel dry or sticky. It can also make your hair feel rough and dull. Soft water, being free of those minerals, generally feels smoother and leaves your skin and hair feeling cleaner and more moisturized.

Additionally, the type of water you have can impact your household appliances and plumbing. Hard water can lead to the buildup of scale and mineral deposits in pipes, reducing water flow and potentially causing clogs. It can also decrease the efficiency and lifespan of appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines. Soft water, being mineral-free, reduces the chances of such buildup and prolongs the life of your appliances.

In summary, hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, while soft water has had those minerals removed through a process called water softening. Hard water can leave deposits, make it harder to lather soap, and have negative effects on your skin, hair, and household appliances. Soft water, on the other hand, doesn't leave deposits, creates more lather with soap, and is generally better for your skin, hair, and appliances.