How to Remove Hard Water Buildup from Hair

Hard water buildup is a common problem for both men and women. If you've got hard water, you probably already know it causes problems with your skin and hair.

We don't actually speak of density or feel when we talk about hard or soft water. Mineral concentration in water is measured on a scale from hard to soft. Water consider "harder" if it contains more calcium and magnesium (or iron, copper, lime, sodium, and so on).

Your home likely has hard water, even though you can't see these minerals. According to a hard water map, 85% of Americans have hard water. This article will teach us how to fight back against hard water.

What is hard water?

Hard Water is the name given to water with high mineral content. Mountains, such as those in the Himalayas and the Alps, are usually home to minerals and rocks. Hard water contains more calcium than other types of water.

This means it will have a higher pH level (alkalinity). The most common problem caused by hard water is scale build-up on sinks, tubs, showers, etc. This causes the surfaces to become rough and dull. In addition, soap scum may also form on these surfaces.

Hard water is a result of the high mineral content in your water. It can lead to a variety of problems and damages, including:

  • Hair that's dull, dry, brittle, and/or damaged
  • Skin that's rough or flaky (especially after washing)
  • Teeth that are discolored or have spots on them
  • Clothes that need more frequent washing to remove stains slowly because of buildup on the fabric fibers or in the dye itself.

How hard does water affects hair?

It is water with a high mineral content, which causes your hair to take on certain undesirable characteristics. For example, the minerals present in hard water can make the hair feel dry, brittle, and unmanageable. It also causes the hair shafts to swell up, making them dull and lifeless; hair buildup is one of them.

In addition to these negative effects, hard water can also cause frizzy hair that's tough to tame. If you're concerned about how well your locks are holding up against this mineral-filled liquid, then several options are available for combating its ill effects.

What is hair buildup?

Hair buildup occurs when the natural oils in your scalp become too thick and block up the follicles. This causes a build-up of dead skin cells, which can lead to dandruff and other problems.

In addition, hair buildup is caused by an overactive sebaceous gland (oil glands) that produces more oil than the body needs. The excess oil clogs the pores and leads to a buildup of debris. Over time, this can leave your hair looking dull, limp, and lifeless.

How did hair buildup happen?

Hard water builds up over time because minerals such as calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) dissolve into the water. When these mineral deposits form on surfaces, they create a protective layer called scale.

Over time, this scale becomes harder and thicker, and eventually, it begins to flake off or fall away. This is why hard water makes our sinks, tubs, toilets, and showers look dull and dingy.

Symptoms of hard water buildup-

The symptoms of hard water buildup in your hair are pretty obvious: white residue on the hair, usually on the scalp or near where you part your hair.

It's possible to get hard water buildup after a shampoo or even after washing with regular water—the minerals in hard water are so sticky that they can get stuck to your strands even if they don't come into direct contact with it during a wash. 

If you notice white residue on your hands after washing them with soap, this could also indicate an issue with hard water buildup on your scalp.

Treatments for hard water buildup

If you're looking for a DIY solution, here are some treatments that may help. You can use them on their own or in combination with each other:

  • Clarifying shampoo: This type of shampoo works to remove product buildup, dirt, and oil from your hair. It's especially good for those trying to get out the effects of hard water buildup. In general, clarifying shampoos are stronger than normal ones. They shouldn't be used too often as they tend to dry out hair and strip it of its natural oils (which is exactly what we're trying not to do here). Try using one every two weeks until you feel like your hair is back in tip-top shape again. A few options include Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo Batiste Dry Shampoo or Lush Big Shampoo Bar
  • Deep conditioning treatment: These treatments contain proteins that help restore strength and elasticity while also moisturizing dry strands—two things we want when dealing with hard water issues. Make sure any deep conditioner you use has argan or coconut oil in it; both act as excellent hydration that will leave your locks feeling smooth once again after all this rinsing is over with. I recommend Morrocco Method Argan Oil Intensive Hydrating Conditioner for an easy fix without having to go through several steps simultaneously (it's also great if you want something lightweight).

Create a Vinegar Rinse

  • Hair can become dry and brittle if it is exposed to hard water. If you want to protect your locks from the effects of hard water, consider making a vinegar rinse. A vinegar rinse uses vinegar to clean out the mineral buildup in your hair. This helps prevent breakage and frizz.
  • To create a vinegar rinse, mix one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar into three cups of warm water. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before applying it to your scalp and letting it soak in for several minutes. Then wash off the mixture with lukewarm water. You can repeat the process once every week.

Rinse with Bottled or Filtered Water

  • Hard water is known to cause hair loss and breakage. If you don't want to invest in a whole bottle of distilled water, you can simply rinse out your hair with bottled or filtered water. This way, you won't waste money buying a whole distilled bottle.
  • You can add some essential oils like lavender or lemon oil to your shampoo or conditioner to help soften the water.

Here is how you can fight with hard water-

You obviously can't change your home just because of hard water. Hard water is a problem, but it's not big enough to go through the moving hassle. So apply those ticks to fight back against hard water-

Buy a Filter for Your Shower Head

Several options are available if you're looking to stop the buildup of soap scum and limescale around your faucet. One of the most cost-effective solutions is installing a high-output shower filter. "These filters don't just look pretty," says Adams.

"They also do a great job cleaning up your shower." She suggests buying one of the AquaBliss High-Output Revitalizing Shower Filters, which includes a pre-filter and a replaceable cartridge. After each use, simply rinse off the cartridge and toss it away.

Try a Pre-Shampoo Treatment

You wash your hair every day, but it doesn't mean you've got to wait till after shampoo to treat your scalp. A pre-shampoo treatment can create a barrier that helps minimize the build-up of minerals that penetrate the fibers of your hair, according to hairstylist and colorist Jennifer Hill.

"This Kérastase scrub is formulated with charcoal, hyaluronic acid, and Abyssin," she explains. She suggests applying it once a week to your scalp and working into the ends of your hair. You'll want to use a small amount that won't clog pores.

Invest in a Water Softener

Investing in a water softener is the ultimate answer if you want beautiful hair without worrying about it. A water softener removes calcium and magnesium found in your home's water supply. This leaves you with soft water and makes your hair smoother, softer, shinier, and easier to manage.

You'll find yourself using less shampoo and fewer rinses, too. And since soft water balances your hair's pH levels, you'll see smoother hair after each wash. Plus, soft water reduces the risk of developing conditions like eczema and dry skin.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

Living proof is a brand that makes it easy to look good every day. With a wide range of products designed to make you feel beautiful, the living proof is the go-to brand for women looking to achieve healthy, shiny hair.

They know how important it is to keep up appearances, even when you don't have much time to spend on yourself. 

Their triple detox shampoo gently removes buildup from your hair, including environmental pollution, mineral buildup due to hard water, and product buildup.

In addition, the triple detox shampoo deep cleanses your hair without drying out your scalp, making it perfect for use daily.

Activated Charcoal Absorbs Excess Oil From Scalp

Activated charcoal is known for absorbing toxins found in food, drinks, medications, and air. When used in shampoos, activated charcoal acts like a magnet, attracting oils and impurities from the skin and hair. In addition, the gentle cleansing formula helps prevent dryness and irritation caused by harsh ingredients.

Anionic Polymer Helps Remove Product Buildup

Anionic polymers are molecules that attract oppositely charged ions--such as those found in soap or detergent--and hold onto them. These polymers help remove product buildups, such as residue left behind by styling products or cosmetics.

For example, while some products contain sulfate, a common ingredient in many shampoos, Living Proof's triple detox shampoo contains no sulfates.

Chelating Agents Help Remove Mineral Buildup Due To Hard Water

Hard water minerals are naturally occurring elements that cause a buildup in the hair. Chelating agents work to bind to these minerals and pull them out of the hair, reducing the amount of buildup. Living Proof uses ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which is one of the most effective chelating agents.

Life Vest: Demineralizing Hair Treatments

Malibu C Hard Water Wellbeing Hair Remedy is a demineralizing treatment formulated specifically for people with hard water problems. It removes calcium and magnesium minerals that cause brassy hair. In addition, it restores the luster lost due to high levels of chlorine in the water supply.

After just two treatments, you’ll usually notice a noticeable reduction in the amount of brassiness. You might even see some color return if you have blond or gray hair. But, of course, you can use this shampoo daily for the best results.

Frequently asked questions

1 Is clarifying shampoo good for hard water?

You can counteract the negative effects of hard water by using a clarifying shampoo once or twice a week

2. What is a chelating shampoo?

Mineral buildup is effectively prevented and removed with chelating shampoos.

3. What is the best way to use vinegar on your hair?

You may want to alternate weeks with a vinegar rinse due to its acidic nature

4. Does baking soda remove hair build-up?

Hair care products often contain oil, soaps, and other ingredients that can be removed with baking soda dissolved in water. You can achieve squeaky-clean, shiny, and soft hair by stripping away this buildup with baking soda.

5. Does apple cider vinegar remove hair build-up?

Apple cider vinegar is a natural way to effectively remove buildup on the scalp without altering the hair's color. In addition, it's proven that apple cider vinegar is very effective at removing the buildup of products, making the hair really clean," says Blackwell-Preston.


We hope that we’ve been able to help you better understand hard water buildup, what it looks like, and how to remove it. Now you find against hard water like a pro, and hard water can be a problem for you now.


You may also like

How Often to Water Poinsettia

How Often To Water Poinsettia? Care Guide For Live Christmas Plant

The poinsettia is a popular holiday plant. Its bright red leaves and

​Read More
How to bath a dog without water waterev

How To Bath A Dog Without Water: 13 Steps (With Pictures)

A dog is a member of our family, and they deserve to

​Read More
How often do you water outdoor potted plants

How Often Do You Water Outdoor Potted Plants? – 12 Tips For Healthy Flowers

When determining if your plants need water, the finger-dip test remains the

​Read More
How often to water impatiens

How Often To Water Impatiens? New & Overwatered Impatiens Care & Tips

Impatiens (also known as busy Lizzy) are beautiful houseplants that are easy

​Read More
How often to water fruit trees

How Often To Water Fruit Trees? Young Fruit Trees Need Plenty Of Water

A fruit tree is a perennial plant that grows from a seed.

​Read More
How often to water an Orange Tree

How Often To Water An Orange Tree: Tips, Tricks, And Requirements

Orange trees are some of the oldest living things on earth. They

​Read More
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Check the articles below

December 9, 2023

The poinsettia is a popular holiday plant. Its

December 6, 2023

A dog is a member of our family,

December 1, 2023

When determining if your plants need water, the