Though all water looks the same, they can be widely classified into two types – hard water and soft water. Water is naturally soft, but it gets mixed with minerals such as iron, magnesium and calcium deposits along the way. These could be picked up from the soil, lakes, rivers or at times even corroded plumbing. This results in hard water.  But do these minerals make hard water better than its softer counterpart? Is it necessary to soften the water before using it? Continue reading to get a clear understanding of what hard and soft water actually are. 

Differences between hard and soft water 

The mixture of minerals such as calcium and magnesium makes water hard. Higher the mineral content, harder the water. Whereas, soft water is rainwater in its natural form, containing a higher concentration of salts. This gives soft water a saltier taste in contrast with hard water. However, there are various ways in which hard water can be turned soft. Even though the differences are not easily visible, there are a few signs that can help you distinguish between the two. 

  1. Reaction with soap – Soft water creates a healthy lather while combined with soaps and detergents, resulting in better cleaning of your body, clothes, dishes, clothes and everything else. On the other hand, hard water creates a film due to the reaction of soap with calcium. 
  2. Stains – Clothes washed in soft water seem much cleaner and stain-free, but hard water causes mineral stains. This leads to clothes getting worn off easily. 
  3. Water pressure – Hard water leads to mineral deposits on the pipes, causing the diameter to shrink. This reduces water flow to a huge extent. Unlike hard water, soft water gives you great water pressure. 
  4. Water taste – Soft water has a salty taste, due to its high sodium content. However, hard water tastes better and is comparatively healthier. 
  5. Mineral deposits – Hard water leads to mineral deposits on appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, coffee makers etc. this keeps you needing frequent repairs and early wearing out of these equipments.

Health effects 

When it comes to consumption, hard water has more health benefits compared to soft water. This is due to the mineral contents in it. Rich in calcium and magnesium, hard water makes up for your dietary needs. However, its effect on your skin and hair makes it a bad alternative to soft water. Hard water removes the necessary moisture from your skin and hair, causing it to become rough and hard. This could lead to dandruff, dry skin and other skin allergies. Softer water does not cause any difference in your health and body, as long as it is clean. Therefore, it is safe to say that soft water is a better, safer and convenient alternative. 

Benefits of softening water 

  • Cleaner and shinier silverware, glassware, mirrors, tiles, cars, and plumbing fixtures.
  • Softer and healthier skin and hair.  
  • Reduced soap and film make cleaning easier and more effective. 
  • Uses less soap and shampoo because of the rich lather produced by softened water. 
  • Softer clothes without hard minerals trapped in the fabric. Fabrics last longer and whites stay whiter without the dingy grey caused by hard water. 
  • Preserves appliances that use water such as coffee machines, ice makers, dishwashers, water heaters and laundry equipment for a longer time. 
  • Save money on monthly energy costs and repairing of appliances. 

Best water purifier for hard water 

Hard water contains TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of more than 500 mg/l. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, a TDS of up to 500 mg/l is accepted. RO water purifier is the best water purifier to lower the TDS levels in the water. RO purifiers contain RO membrane through which the water is passed. These pores are so minute that only water molecules can pass through them. The unwanted mineral molecules are filtered out. Thus converting hard water into soft water. To get rid of hard water check out SKF Elixer RO water purifiers.