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Hard Water vs. Soft Water – Difference | Advantages & Disadvantages

Hard Water vs. Soft Water Difference

We are incredibly lucky to live in a place where water is available to us. But have you ever thought about the difference in the water that comes out of your tap?

No two water glasses are the same, but the main difference between what comes out of one tap and what comes out of another would be the hardness of the water.

The difference can be seen most notably in its effect on household appliances, and the dishwasher is no less critical.

To give you a better understanding of this, we have prepared this information to explain what exactly is meant by hard water and soft water, what it entails when washing dishes, and what can be done to avoid adverse effects.

How the chemical composition of water changed?

All water that falls as rain is naturally soft, which implies that the only ion (an electrically charged atom) is sodium.

As this water makes its way through the ground into the channels that sometimes lead to our taps, it turns into hard water.

It collects a large number of dissolved minerals such as chalk, lime, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals are preferable in many ways because many of them are essential to our health, making hard water better to drink – and it may even taste better.

Difficulty in using hard water

When hard water runs through the dishwasher, minerals in the water build-up on the heating elements, especially lime, make it much more difficult to clean the dishwasher dishes.

But also makes the dishes look worse as the minerals dissolve and re-adhere to the plates and glasses, causing unsightly stains with a dull effect.

By contrast, soft water is water in which minimal amounts of salts are dissolved. They usually correspond to well waters or those that come from surface waters. The softest water is distilled water, due to the fact that it does not have any mineral and is not suitable for human consumption.

What is Soft Water?

Soft water is water in which minimal amounts of salts are dissolved, less than 0.5 parts per thousand of dissolved salt and the concentration of sodium chloride are minimal, this encourages the action of detergents and chemicals, it can be used for different processes.

Calcium and Magnesium Ions:

It is the type of water that contains little or no minerals, such as calcium (Ca) or magnesium (Mg) ions.

In general, the term refers to soft water, which does contain significant amounts of these ions. Hard water can be better for your heart than soft water. Its calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) ions can be dietary supplements for some people.

The main drawback of hard water is the calcium carbonate deposits it causes in pipes, especially those with hot water. This is called “limescale formation. ” It can lead to blocked pipes and reduce the efficiency of boilers.

Also, soap and detergents work worse in hard water.  When these effects are greater than greater the hardness of the water.”

The soap does not make foam as much; the kettle calcifies and refuses to work, pipes clog, and the hair becomes brittle faster.

These effects can occur through hard water use—the advantages of soft water like our result mainly from the comparatively low proportion of calcium and magnesium.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is known as that which hinders foam development when in contact with soap because it has a high amount of magnesium and calcium bicarbonates and carbonates.

To calculate the hardness of water, the concentrations of magnesium and calcium present in each liter of water are usually added together.

Distilled Water:

The opposite of hard water is soft water: the liquid that has a very small amount of mineral salts. When there is no mineral in the water (that is, when it is made up only of hydrogen and oxygen), we speak of distilled water.

Other Minerals present in hard water:

In addition to magnesium and calcium, the water’s hardness is determined according to the amount of zinc, manganese, or iron, among other cations.

A cation is an ion whose electrical charge is positive. Therefore it is deduced that it has suffered a loss of electrons; their oxidation state is positive).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this value must be expressed in milligrams of substances equivalent to carbonate per liter of water; when it does not reach 60, we face soft water.

What happens when we boil hard water?

In the case of permanent hard water, no matter how much it is boiled, magnesium and calcium chlorides and sulfates are conserved since, after reaching a certain temperature, their solubility begins to decrease.

The hard water temporary, however, can lose their toughness when it is added calcium hydroxide or when boiled. This is because its carbonates can dissolve and therefore be removed.

Advantages of Soft Water

Protection:

Lime is one of the elements that most damage our facilities. Most breakdowns are caused by excess lime (scale). Using soft or softened water will help to extend the life of your appliances.

Skin health:

In the daily showers, we use shampoo, soaps, etc .; those that in the bad conjugation with the hardness of the water generates a pasty soap that gets into the skin and leaves the hair dull. To achieve a greater effect, we use more of these.

Soft water provides smoothness and softness to the skin, preventing it from drying out and presenting flaking or a feeling of tightness: no more dry skin and presence of dandruff. We obtain savings of soaps and shampoo of 50% approx.

Clothing care:

When we wash clothes, detergents do not deliver all their cleaning power, and for this purpose, we increase the amount to use.

Another problem with hard water when washing clothes is that strong colors become opaque, and whites fade.

Soft water does not bleach the garments; it helps maintain the intensity of the colors and protects the fabrics’ quality. Therefore, you save on detergents, and our garments will have a greater useful life.

Home clean:

Hard water stains and limescale the chrome of faucets, wall tiles, etc. Now with SOFT WATER, limescale disappears from toilets, taps, partitions, and showers, which stay shiny and like new for longer.

Fewer chemicals:

With softened water, you will avoid the excessive use of cleaning products. You will save on your economy and help improve the environment.

Now, we no longer have lime present in the water. Therefore, the cleaning products’ detergency action will be available at 100%, and therefore you will have to use fewer products; More than 50% Savings.

Sparkling glassware and crockery:

Eliminate those unpleasant whitish remains that are embedded in your glassware, and they can be sparkled with soft water.

SOFT or DESCALED WATER no longer contains calcium, magnesium, bicarbonates, etc., which, when combined with chemical products, deposit and become embedded in our utensils and glassware.

Enjoy a comfortable shower.

  • Smoother skin and hair.
  • Faucets and glass partitions without white stains.
  • Energy savings (less gas or electricity costs)

Advantages of Hard water

Positive Effect on Blood circulation:

This water is considered hard due to the concentration of calcium carbonate. However, hard water also has some advantages.

A natural and pleasant taste characterizes hard water. However, it can also affect the appearance and taste of foods.

Hard water has a healthy effect as it has a positive effect on blood circulation.

Better Rinsing of bath additives:

Bath additives can be rinsed off better with hard water, but it also leads to increased use of detergents and also to calcification in household appliances such as washing machines. 

Natural Contribution of minerals:

Significant nutritional contribution of the recommended daily needs for calcium and magnesium intake.

Less Danger of diseases:

Lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases and greater protection of the bone system, among other health benefits.

Disadvantages of Hard water

Lacking hardness binders:

Soft water lacks the so-called hardness binders, i.e., the alkaline earth metals. Hardness binders are, however, also responsible for the dissolution of silicates and phosphates.

It has a disadvantage effect in some cases. Silicates and phosphates can attack surface materials. For example, pipelines and concrete or glass surfaces can corrode more easily. 

Rinsing of soaps is difficult:

Lime-free water can also make the soap more difficult to dissolve. For these reasons, it is advisable to use soft water, but never completely softened water. The hardness of the water can be set manually in some water softening systems. 

If you have such a system, set it to 8.3 – 8.4 ° dH. So you can enjoy all the advantages of softened water without having to struggle with the disadvantages.

Lime deposits & scaling:

Lime deposits appear in the pipes of heating and water supply systems, which reduce the thermal efficiency and water pressure and lead to equipment breakdowns and complete failure.

Heating elements of washing machines and dishwashers, boilers, electric kettles, coffee makers are covered with limescale.

Hard water cannot be used in the industry.

Hard water cannot be used in several technological processes (production of drinks, beer, painting materials with water-soluble paints, etc.)

Adverse effects on the skin:

  • Unfortunately, the condition of the human skin suffers (dryness, redness, peeling, itching, etc.)
  • After shampooing, an indelible plaque remains on the hair, which spoils the hair, causing it to dry, fall out, brittle, flaky scalp.

Hard water can not be used for drinking purposes:

It is undesirable to use hard water for drinking and cooking, this can lead to the development of many diseases, including cardiovascular, urolithiasis (urolithiasis), kidney stones, etc.;

Overconsumption of detergents:

When washing in hard water, it is impossible to achieve the effect of whiteness and freshness of the linen; in addition, white fabrics acquire a dirty tint, and colored ones quickly fade.

Detrimental effect on boiler equipment:

Such water also has a detrimental effect on boiler equipment in connection when introducing strict requirements for calcium and magnesium salts’ concentration.

For CHP boilers, industrial water heaters, and similar equipment, preliminary water softening is mandatory. For this, compact water softeners are used.

Major Differences between Hard and Soft Water

Hard water
  • It contains a high level of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium.
  • They are usually underground in calcareous soils.
  • They leave more residue in drains and pipes, like lime.
Soft Water
  • Minimal amounts of salts are dissolved.
  • They are waters from wells or surface waters.
  • It is not suitable for human consumption.

Difference between hard water & soft water

First of all, if we go into the main difference between hard and soft water, we have to look for all the positives and negatives of both types of water.

It is very necessary to evaluate all the differences that we have already talked about, but let’s make a recap about all the differences between hard and soft water.

Drinking:

The main difference that everyone can judge the soft water and the hard water is drinking.

However, soft water does not contain all the minerals that the hard water has, but it is still not suitable for drinking. Also, you do not like the taste of hard water. Besides, hard water will also cause a feeling of bulkiness after drinking it. 

Mineral content:

As I also discussed earlier, there is a huge difference in mineral content in hard and soft water.

First of all, when the rainwater comes, then it is naturally soft. Still, many types of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chalk, and lime are added into it when it runs through various grounds, making it hard water.

However, on the other hand, soft water does not contain all types of these minerals.

For Skin:

Soft water is fantastic for the skin as you will see many benefits of soft water on your skin, such as healthy hairs, healthy skin, and a healthy scalp.

On the other hand, hard water has adverse effects on the skin, especially in sensitive skin. It will make your hand and body dry and patchy.

Also, you will feel itching after bathing with hard water. You will get more hair to fall when continually bathing with hard water. 

Household works:

According to many scientists, hard water is good for drinking, but it is the fact that people do not like to drink hard water.

However, if we talk about using hard water for other purposes, it is just a nightmare, especially when we are using it to clean the home.

When you wash your utensils with hard water, then you will get spots on your dishes. While washing clothes with hard water, the clothes become gloomy and rough.

Many other irritating things also happen with the use of hard water. So people always prefer to use soft water for many household work such as bathing, washing, etc.

Is Water Softening Safe?

Soft water contains natural minerals that we need. It does not contain calcium and magnesium; we add sodium in the softening process.

This is the main reason; soft water is perfectly safe to drink. It is recommended that as softened water, it contains only up to 300mg / L of sodium.

In areas with water of high hardness, and that is softened, it should not be used to prepare children’s milk, due to the high sodium content that is produced by the softening process carried out.

Check if Water is Soft or Hard?

Certain signs with the help of which you can judge the water are soft or hard.

  • There are whitish spots on the vessels. They are marks of lime.
  • They result from the spontaneous sedimentation of the calcium salts present in the water.
  • They indicate a significant hardness of the water. 
  • You have the impression that your clothes are rough.
  • When you get out of the shower, you have the impression that your skin is tight or itchy or that your hair is not soft.

FAQs

Q 1: Which is better: soft water or hard water?

Ans: Of course, soft water is better than hard water. This is because, in hard water, there is no accumulation of calcium and magnesium mines as well as it is good for health.

Obviously, all of our household works will be better performed with soft water like cleaning of utensils, bathing, and washing clothes. 

Q 2: Is hard water bad for your skin?

Ans: I will not say that hard water is bad for your skin because I also live in that area where I wash my face with hard water.

It does not have any bad impact on my skin. However, it also depends on the concentration of mineral content in the water. But many people complain about itching and dryness of the skin with hard water. 

Q 3: Is Hard water good for your skin?

Ans: A particularly hard type of water can be very harmful to skin and hair. Especially, if we have a delicate and very sensitive skin that will tend to breathe badly in this case, feeling almost suffocated. The hair, on the other hand, may appear rough and dull.

Q 4: How do you wash your face with hard water?

Ans: To neutralize hardness, because hard water is highly mineralized, it contains magnesium and potassium salts. They irritate and tighten the face.

These problems are especially pronounced during the heating season when the skin becomes more sensitive. Of course, the water’s softness is a good reason to boil it, but this is perhaps the only advantage.

An important point: Let the water cool to room temperature as it is optimal for our skin. It is better not to wash your face with hot water. And cold – do not use in winter, it is more an option for summer.

Q 5: How do you treat hard water naturally?

Ans: Several methods allow you to eliminate or, at least, reduce the hardness of the water. They can be physical methods, such as heating or reverse osmosis, or chemical methods, exchange or sequestration of calcium and magnesium.

The temporary hardness of water (which occurs when there is carbonate in solution) is eliminated by heating it.

Therefore, this salt precipitates when the water is heated, forming calcareous crusts. If there is no carbonate in the solution, it can be added (such as sodium or potassium carbonate) to be able to use this method.

Q 6: Is Hard water good for bathing?

Ans: Bathing in hard water puts your skin at risk of early aging and the development of skin diseases.

This is because hard water reacts with detergents – soap, shower gels, shampoos – and forms insoluble “soap slags” that are not washed off the skin and, after bathing, cover the entire surface of the body with a crust.

Toxins destroy the natural fatty film that protects hair and skin from the external environment’s harmful effects.

Q 7: Why is hard water bad for you?

Ans: The health effects of hard water are gradual. With its regular use, the absorption of valuable substances may decrease, the digestion of food may slow down, and salt stagnation in the body may occur, which eventually leads to the development of urolithiasis.

Excessive rigidity negatively affects the skin, causing it to dry out and accelerating the aging process.

Q 8: Is Hard Water Bad for You?

Ans: Yes, hard water is bad for us in many aspects, such as it is harmful to our bodies regarding drinking purposes. We must go for soft water.

Q 9: What causes hard water?

Ans: Water acquires calcium and magnesium, which determine its hardness, in its contact with the different land types through which the river or aquifer flows.

Therefore, the degree of hardness of the water depends on the soil’s geological character that it passes through from its origin. Thus, limestone soil generates higher lime content than granite soil.

Q 10: What are the signs of hard water?

Ans: The most accurate water hardness can be determined by passing water samples for analysis to a specialized laboratory.

However, the following signs of stiffness are easy to recognize, even with the naked eye:

  • The scale on household appliances;
  • White marks on clothes after washing;
  • The bitter taste of water;
  • Diseases of the urinary system;
  • Dry skin.

Final Verdict

High-quality water with a low degree of hardness is preferred not only at home but also in industry.

Hard industrial water can indeed be converted into soft water. Water that is neither too hard nor too soft is ideal.

The optimal water hardness is 8.3 to 8.4 ° dH. Hard water tends to deposit limescale. If you regularly add suitable substances, such as water softeners or regeneration salt, you can prevent these deposits or contain them. 

A good alternative is a diluted vinegar essence or citric acid. Then you should rinse with clean water.

A water filter reduces the content of lime, chlorine, and other substances. It ensures that you have to descale less often.

There is also the option of buying a water softening system that can be installed on the house water connection with little effort. Water hardness is of little importance for health and drinking water quality.

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