How can you tell the difference between hard and soft water?


You may have heard people talking about hard water or soft water and wondered what the difference is and how you can tell which is which.

The good news is that it’s much easier to tell them apart than you may think.

How Water Becomes Hard

When it rains the water is soft. This isn’t a reference to how it feels but the fact that it is pure and doesn’t have a multitude of minerals in it. However, once this water hits the ground it will trickle down rocks and through them, on its way to the reservoirs.

As it passes through the rocks it picks up the minerals in the rocks, things like calcium, magnesium, lime, and even chalk. These minerals bind with the water molecules. The greater the mineral content the harder the water is said to be.

Many people prefer to remove these minerals before drinking their water, that’s why psi water filters have become so popular.

Telling The Difference Between Hard And Soft Water

There are several clues regarding the type of water coming out of your tap.

        ·        Lather

Potentially the easiest test of your water is to run your hands under the water and then put a little soap in your hand. Rub them together to make a lather.

Soft water lathers very easily, it will take very little soap to get plenty of bubbles. In contrast, hard water doesn’t lather well, no matter how much you rub your hands together. This can make soaps less effective especially when washing clothes.

        ·        Residual

Another sign of hard water is the residual line. Take a look at any appliance that holds water, such as your kettle, or even the toilet cistern. Where the water sits at a specific level you’ll notice a mineral line or mark. This is because the minerals in the hard water are reacting to the side of the tank and sticking to it.

The residual mark is a sign that you have hard water, it doesn’t happen with soft water.

It’s worth noting that these residual minerals can build up in appliances and affect their ability to perform properly. Mineral deposits inside washing machines, dishwashers, and even kettles actually shorten their lifespan.

        ·        Taste

Hard water has more minerals and will taste different from soft water. Unfortunately, you may not notice the difference, especially if you’ve drunk both types of water frequently.

Of course, if you’ve only ever drunk one type of water you won’t have a problem identifying the other type. It will be noticeably different.

Softening Your Water

Hard water is said to offer health benefits as it increases your intake of vital minerals. However, it can also dry out your skin and hair, as well as building up in appliances. For this reason, you need to know the difference between hard and soft water. If it’s too hard you can soften it with a water filter.

Compare listings