Of course, hard water doesn’t really feel hard to the touch. The only way to really do that is to freeze water until it becomes ice. When you hear people refer to hard water, they are really talking about water that has picked up natural minerals from the ground. Some examples might be calcium or magnesium.
In small amounts, these minerals don’t make water unfit to drink. However, they might change the taste of the water and make it less suitable for some cleaning tasks. For example, these minerals might make it so soap does not clean as well or water causes a soapy scum to form on tubs and basins.
The problem probably does not lie with the soap but with the hard water. The way to purify water to help it become more useful and better tasting is to use a water softener. These devices work by filtering out everything but pure water.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
Most water softeners work on the same principal. They are appliances that are attached to the building’s plumbing system in order to allow users to get softened water right from the tap. Some smaller systems may work after the water comes out of the tap and provide their own second tap. Either way, they will work about the same way.
The point is to remove the minerals from the water. Water softeners work by first trading the minerals for another substance. In most cases, this is simple sodium, or salt. The exchange is called an ion exchange.
The minerals have a positive charge. Water softener systems have small beads in them with a negative charge. The idea is that the minerals will flow past these beads and cling to them. Once that happens, they are flushed out with sodium. What is left is pure water that flows into the tap.
In some cases, water softeners may leave a slightly salty taste to the water. There are other chemical solutions, but they cost more. If you’re looking for a cost comparison of top brands click here.
Are Water Softeners Very Expensive?
There are many different water softener systems within a variety of price ranges. Larger ones that will handle the water supply to a whole house may cost a few hundred dollars. Some people decide to buy a smaller unit that is actually portable and only works on one sink. This is also a good solution for renters who might want to carry their water softener with them when they move.
More reading: Water Softener Association
Video: How To Choose a Water Softener