5 DIY Solutions for Your Home’s Hard Water
If you’re here, you know that hard water is something that can cause a variety of problems around the home. From dry skin to clogged appliances, hard water can quickly become an unwelcome guest. The good news is there are many ways to combat hard water symptoms. The methods vary, and depend on your budget, handiness and ultimately your desire to rid your house of hard water issues. Each one of these five ways to get rid of hard water require a little research and elbow grease — perfect for the avid DIY-er.
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DIY hard water test
Maybe you’re aware of hard water, but are unsure if it’s in your home or not. Here’s a simple way to find out. All you need is a clean and clear water bottle (a reusable one works fine) and pure castile liquid soap. Then, follow these steps:
- Fill a third of your bottle with water from your tap.
- Pour a few drops of the liquid soap into the bottle and give it a good shake.
- Set the water bottle down. If you have soft water, the bottle will be filled a third of the way with soapy bubbles. If there is only a thin layer of bubbles and the water looks cloudy, you have hard water.
If your water bottle lacked bubbles and you’re wondering how to get rid of hard water, it’s time to find a solution. Here are ways to fight hard water around your home.
Vinegar is one of the most powerful home remedies for hard water scale build up — it’s acidic, which makes it a powerful tool for dissolving calcium-based hard water stains. If you’re looking for ways to treat hard water, especially in the kitchen where calcium buildup appears on dishes and appliances, you’ll want to use vinegar to remedy these issues. Here are two ideas to get you started:
- Soak a cloth with warm vinegar. Then, place the cloth over your faucet to let it dissolve calcium buildup. You can also fill a Ziploc bag and fasten it over the faucet for the same effect.
- Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm vinegar, and place kitchen items that are spotted with calcium into it. Let it soak for a few hours. This removes calcium deposits and leftover scum your soap may have left behind.
Specialty shampoo & soap
Have you noticed your skin is itchy, or your hair is a little drier than it should be? Hard water could be to blame. If you’re worried about the effect of hard water on your hair and skin, you can fight back with shampoos and soaps made with ingredients that help dissolve calcium. Clarifying (or chelating) agents stop minerals in hard water from interfering with soap while you wash up. When you clean with hard water, your soap is less sudsy, which you discovered through the DIY hard water test. Using clarifying soap means you’ll be able to enjoy soap and shampoo the way it was meant to be. If you do opt for clarifying shampoo, be sure to use an extra-moisturizing conditioner, as chelating agents can be tough on treated hair.
If you don’t want to buy specialty beauty products, consider installing a showerhead filter, which will filter out hard water minerals and other contaminants that could be in your water. These specialized filters make a good choice for people who are sensitive to the minerals in hard water, which can make skin conditions like eczema worse. When picking a showerhead filter to install, be sure to find one that specifically filters out hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium, otherwise you’ll continue to experience issues caused by hard water.
A rinse aid is a product you can use in your dishwasher to help prevent spots of calcium buildup and soap scum. Rinse aids are surfactants, or something that helps reduce the surface tension of whatever liquid it’s dissolved in. Despite the name, rinse aids actually help your dishes dry faster, and doesn’t have much to do with rinsing itself. Using rinse aid is particularly useful with hard water, as it thins out the water, preventing it from forming droplets and leaving residue on your dishes and glasses. Not only does it prevent buildup, but without droplets on your dishes, it means they will dry faster when you open the washer.
How to use rinse aid
Typically, there are two compartments in a dishwasher’s dispenser: one for soap, one for rinse aid or other product. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a dispenser, there are pods that include both soap and rinse aid that release during a cycle. Rinse aid is an easy and cheap way to combat the pesky spots and stains caused by running a dishwasher with hard water.
All of the above products are great ways to treat hard water symptoms for individual needs, but the only way you can truly get rid of hard water throughout your home is with a water softener. The products above cost less up front, but none eliminate the problem entirely. Cleaning the buildup caused by hard water is a great way to keep a tidy home, but if you fail to address the root issue, your water-using appliances will break down sooner and more often — a costly and preventable expense. Yes, you’ll have to spend a little more upfront with a water softener system, but it will pay for itself by keeping your appliances and pipes working in prime condition for much longer and allowing you to cut back on soap and detergent costs.
How to choose the right water softener
Selecting the right water softener will depend on your household size, budget and whether you’re looking for a filtration solution as well. EcoPureHome offers a variety of water softeners for households of all sizes. Find the system that’s right for your home, and experience all the benefits that softer water has to offer.