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If you struggle with hard water, you’re hardly alone. Water containing high levels of calcium and magnesium is everywhere, causing problems both large and small. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of hard water solutions, either. Of course, the best solution is to get a whole house water softener. But for those who can’t afford or just don’t want a whole house system, there are other options to address specific problems caused by hard water.
Hair and Skin
Soap does not lather well in hard water, which may leave you feeling less clean after a shower. The minerals in hard water can also build up in your hair, leaving it dull and lifeless – a condition often known as “hard water hair.” To reverse the effects of hard water on your hair and skin, there are a number of beauty products you can buy that will wash out mineral buildup. But a more permanent solution is a shower head water softener, which is a point-of-use system that softens water specifically for your shower.
Another noticeable hard water problem is spotting on dishes. As with hair and skin, there is a point-of-use solution to this problem. Some high-end dishwashers come with water softeners integrated. These mini-softeners typically use their own type of salt to fuel the ion exchange process that softens the water. However, unlike shower head water softeners, dishwashers with water softening capability are usually quite expensive.
Hard water can do a number on your clothes, as well. As mentioned, soap doesn’t lather as well in hard water, and laundry detergent is not immune to this issue. Using hard water can also make your clothes extra stiff and scratchy. Once again, there are products that address these issues – from fabric softeners to specialty detergents and other products designed to mitigate the effects of hard water.
Finally, hard water often causes unsightly limescale buildup on faucets and other fixtures. A simple solution for limescale buildup is to treat the area with white vinegar. However, there are also cleaning products you can buy that are specially designed to remove limescale.
Choosing Between Hard Water Solutions
Sadly, if you have hard water, you probably have more than one of these problems. But more importantly, you probably also have a problem that’s not so noticeable, which is scaling within your plumbing and appliances. Over time, the dissolved minerals in hard water precipitate out, especially when heated. This can clog your pipes and run up your utility bills. Ultimately, it can also shorten the service life of many appliances as well.
That’s why getting a whole house water softener trumps all other hard water solutions. Not only does it solve all of the minor issues you notice on a daily basis, but it addresses the one big issue that can cost you a lot of money in the long run.