10 Easy And Inexpensive Ways To Soften Water
Hard water is a common problem, especially in areas with high concentrations of calcium and magnesium. This water can clog pipes, damage appliances, and do laundry and cleaning more difficult. Luckily, there are several inexpensive DIY solutions available to help soften water and reduce its calcium levels.
You can use easy household things to soften water, such as vinegar rinse, and citrus rinse. Those can easily soften your hair and makes it perfect to use. Read on to learn all those more in detail.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is any water that has a significant amount of minerals like limestone, gypsum, or other chemical impurities of bicarbonate, sulfates, and different magnesium or carbon carbonates. Magnesium and calcium make up the majority of hard water components.
It is formed when a high percentage of these salts dissolved in the water either from the source(reservoirs) or from pipes during water transfer. But, there is no need to worry; there are ways to soften hard water.
What Are the Signs of Too Much or Too Little Hardness in Your Water?
Water that is hard has a high level of mineral content. Mineral buildup can cause problems such as clogged drains, scratches on dishes, and issues with scales. Many signs show that there is too much or too little hardness in your water. You can check your water for these signs by using a glass of tap water and following the instructions below:
The first sign is if your tap water forms a white layer on top of it or if it leaves behind any dry residue on the sides of the glass when you pour it out. This indicates that there is too much calcium in the water. If this happens, you will not be able to see through the glass, but you should remove the deposits with vinegar and baking soda.
How to Soften Hard Water – Step by step process
Having hard water in your home is not all bad. Thank goodness for the various means that have been put in place to rectify and change hard water to soft water. Here are some ways of softening hard water:
The ion exchange water softening process functions by exerting water through an ionic basin. The basin gis coated with resin beads that act as a medium for extracting the hardness minerals – calcium and magnesium ion – and replacing them with sodium and potassium ions.
However, the process sustenance is through recreating new softening ions that replace the ones that have been used and expelling the replaced hard water ions. This technique is also capable of expending other iron contents of water.
2. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC)
This type of water softener can be used both softening water at home and for commercial purposes. It is done by using little ceramic polymer beads as a medium or site for collecting calcium and magnesium. These microscopic beads act as anchors that trap these hard water ions.
However, when these clusters are collected, they are stored as nano-clusters and expelled from the bead when water flows. This system saves the hard water ions as soft scales that are stable and insoluble, which makes them more expendable from the water unit. However, this method involves lower maintenance and produces better water quality.
Vinegar is an amazing natural cleaner that eliminates gunk on silverware and in your hair. It has antibacterial properties, making it a great choice for those with sensitive scalps. Vinegar also helps neutralize hard water’s effects, which can cause calcium build-up on your hair follicles. This build-up can lead to fungus growth on the scalp, but vinegar rinses help to remove it.
Using a vinegar rinse is simple and easy. All you need is some white or apple cider vinegar mixed with water. Start by wetting your hair with warm water, pour the mixture over your scalp, and massage it gently.
Leave it for a few minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with cold water. Doing this once or twice a week will help keep your scalp healthy and free from buildup.
4. Magnetic or Electronic Water Softener
The magnetic water softener process functions by passing water through a magnetic field, which drags out the hard water ion. This system makes it difficult for calcium or magnesium to form scales before the water gets to the pipe of your home. However, they do not altogether remove the hard water ions.
5. Reverse Osmosis System
This form of softening hard water removes water impurities by forcing it under pressure through a series of excellent filters to a molecular structure.
6. Showerhead Filter
The shower head water softener is a shower system that takes out various minerals such as chlorine, fluorine, and other harmful chemical substances by adding vitamins A & C, reducing the concentration of unhealthy ions, etc.
7. Demand Initiated Regeneration System
This is one of the best ways to soften water. The demand-initiated regeneration system helps in the recreation of water when the water valve rates the volume of the remaining water. There is a meter control attached to the system which is sensitive to the degree of hard water that passes through it.
This valve starts regenerating water when the meter sends a signal to begin the process. The regeneration entails attracting brine, rinsing, and backwashing, which brings about the whole system of servicing and softening water stream.
However, the demand initiated regeneration system varies with the volume content of the tank and the length of regeneration periods. But, other methods have two softening tanks. So, one can be in use while the other regenerates. This type of water softening system helps to ensure every drop of water is treated.
8. Citrus Rinse
To make a citrus rinse, squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice (or both) into a bowl and dilute it with three parts water. Immediately after shampooing, pour the mixture onto the scalp and thoroughly mix it. There will be a noticeable difference in the feel and appearance of your hair.
In addition to restoring shine and softness, lemon rinses also have antiseptic properties that can help fight dandruff. The acidity in the lemon juice helps balance out the pH levels of your scalp, which can reduce flaking caused by dandruff.
To get the most out of your citrus rinse, use it once or twice a week for the best results. With regular use, you should notice an improvement in the overall health of your hair over time.
9. Boil Water
Boiling water is an effective and simple way to soften hard water. Salts that make hard water precipitate out when it is boiled, leaving behind clean and soft water. To get the best results, boil the water for five minutes. After this time has passed, turn off the heat and let the water cool. This allows enough time for mineral deposits to sink to the bottom of the pot.
The process of boiling hard water is not only easy but also cost-effective. It does not require any special equipment or chemicals, making it a great option for those on a budget. Boiled water can be used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other household tasks.
Additionally, boiling your water eliminates any potential contaminants that may be present in tap or bottled water. Boiling your water is a great way to ensure you get clean and safe drinking water without breaking the bank.
10. Washing Soda
Washing soda is an effective cleaning agent that can be used for various tasks. It is not the same as washing powder or baking soda, and it can be found in many stores across the country. Washing soda is great for removing tough stains and softening hard water. It can also be made from baking soda if you want to save money.
Vinegar is another great alternative to washing soda when it comes to cleaning. The natural properties of vinegar make it a great option for stain removal and water softening. Vinegar is also much cheaper than washing soda, so it’s worth considering if you’re on a budget.
How Hard Water Affects Your Health and Well-Being?
Hard water contains several dissolved minerals that can be dangerous to health. When these minerals are absorbed into the body, they can cause health problems such as:
Uric acid: it is a common symptom of hard water and can also lead to gout and kidney stones
Chlorine: chlorine is toxic and affects not only the surface of the skin but also the lungs, stomach, and intestines.
Fluoride: fluorosis is another health problem that comes with hard water. It causes discoloration on teeth, such as brown stains or white streaks. The condition will worsen over time as long as you drink contaminated water.
Iron: consumption of hard water may lead to anemia as iron is absorbed more quickly than calcium.
Calcium: high levels of calcium can cause bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency can result in muscle cramps and diarrhea.
Problems Caused by Hardness in Water
As hard water will not unhealthy, it may cause some costly problems. The main issue is scaling that precipitation of the minerals to create rock hard deposit called limescale. The scale can store inside the pipes and may decrease the life span of toilet units up to 70% and 40% for water taps.
This may store inside coffee or tea pot, clog and ruin the water heater. For home use, it will take more soap and synthetic detergent for washing and laundry. The conditioning water will take half of soap to clean something. Soap combine and hard water create Soap scum which can not be washed off, creating a bathtub ring on all surfaces and it will dry leaving unsightly spot over the dishes.
While using soap on the body with hard water cause the storage of scum that is known as curd. The curd or scum is the cause of magnesium and insoluble calcium salts available in the soap.
The curd remains on the skin though you wash it well, coating body or clogging pores. They can be used as a medium to grow bacteria and cause minor skin irritation, nappy rash, dry skin and continuous inches.
Though you use the shampoo regularly, there will remain some insoluble salts in hard water that are hard to untangle or remove. Hard water creates scaling on the cooling towers, boilers, and the other industrial equipment in the industry.
So Water hardness should be monitored to escape from the costly breakdowns. Hardness can be removed by adding chemicals or by great scale softening with zeolite resins. The presence of calcium means hard water.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. What are the sources of hard water?
Hard water results from the high concentration of mineral ions like calcium and magnesium; in some other cases, there may be the presence of iron( fe3+ or fe2+), manganese, etc.
2. Is hard water softened by boiling?
Yes, but this measure requires a daily effort. However, the hardness of the water reduces when it cools. Also, lime can help reduce the hardness of the water.
3. How can you change hard water?
The most effective way of changing hard water to soft water is with the use of water softener. In addition, you can also add washing soda, a non-precipitating water conditioner, and distilled white vinegar to the water.
4. Can hard water change the color of my hair?
According to hair experts, in the long run, hard water can cause a change in hair color. Additionally, it can cause dryness, dullness, and damage to the hair. Using a water softener is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening.
5. Can you filter hard water?
Yes, you can. But filtering your water will not make any difference if the whole idea is to reduce hardness. You should try using a water softener.
Although the relevance of hard water is less compared to its negative impact. However, by learning how to soften hard water, you will be able to choose the most suitable system that fits your water system facility. Happy water usage.
Sarah J. Gregory
352 Hershell Hollow Road
Anaheim, CA 92805