Water is an essential part of the laundry process, and the quality of your water can significantly impact the effectiveness of the process. Hard water not only affects your detergent’s ability to clean your clothes, but the condition of your clothes over time.
Hard water is everywhere, unfortunately, which means that homes in both rural and urban areas are dealing with hard water laundry problems caused by mineral buildup. Learn more about how hard water affects laundry and find out what you can do about it.
What is Hard Water?
As water travels through soil and rock, it collects and dissolves the minerals it comes in contact with, and they remain suspended. These minerals can include bicarbonates, silicates, sulfates and metal salts, though the most common minerals are calcium and magnesium salts, which are responsible for hard water problems.
Water hardness is measured in parts-per-million. Soft water is generally less than 20 parts-per-million, while areas that have excessively high hard water can exceed values of 300 parts-per-million.
Here are some of the common problems caused by hard water.
Your Clothes Aren’t Coming Out Clean
The dissolved minerals in hard water have a detrimental effect on soap and detergent. They prevent these detergents from mixing with the water and lathering up as they should, which is a vital part of the cleaning process. This also causes soap scum to be left behind, causing a dingy, gray look to clothing and a feeling that your clothes aren’t completely clean. As if that’s not bad enough, the soap scum residue also causes clothing to attract and hold more dirt than usual.
Your Clothes are Dull and Discolored
When you wash your clothes in hard water, the mineral residue gets left behind each time. As you wash your clothes more frequently, this residue just builds up, instead of being washed away, leaving a dull look to your dark or bright clothing.
If you’re noticing red or yellow stains on your clothing, that’s also because of hard water. This is caused by iron deposits in your water, which stay behind on your clothing. If you use chlorine bleach in your laundry, this effect can be even worse, since it reacts with the iron and creates rust.
Your Clothes Feel Scratchy or Hard
Hard water has an effect not just on your clothing’s appearance, but also the way it feels. The mineral deposits in hard water build up on your clothes, causing them to feel stiff, hard or scratchy. It also causes your towels to become less absorbent over time as the buildup gets worse.
You’re Using Too Much Detergent
When you have hard water, your detergent’s main task becomes to soften the water, not to clean your clothes, and it can’t do both jobs at once. As a result, you need to use more laundry detergent and hotter water to get your clothes properly cleaned, which also leads to more residue. This not only affects the cost of your detergent, but also your utility bills from all that hot water you need to use.
Learn More About Water Softeners at EcoWater Systems
Detergents designed for hard water, along with fabric softeners, can help with your laundry, but hard water affects more than just your clothing. Your hair, skin, pipes and appliances are all negatively impacted by hard water, so the best answer to your problem is installing a water softener in your home. These systems remove the minerals in hard water and replace them with soft minerals, which helps you and your clothing stay clean.
At EcoWater Systems, we carry a variety of home water softener systems, all tailored to your home’s water hardness level and your family’s specific water usage. Contact us today to learn more about our water softeners and get rid of your hard water problems for good!