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Not all of us have the luxury of soft water. Hard water is something no one really likes, but approximately 85% of homes in the United States have it. If you currently have hard water, there are a few ways to fix the problem. Here is your guide to solving hard water issues:

What is hard water?

Hard water is water with a high mineral content; particularly magnesium and calcium. This mineral content can cause deposits that clog plumbing, corrosion and cloudy looking water. Hard water isn’t bad for your health, but it can be a nuisance. Not only does it leave deposits but it can also become a headache when trying to clean things.

Hard Water Problem, Deposit on a Tap

What are some of the problems caused by hard water?

DishwashingThe calcium and magnesium deposits are left on your dishes even after they are washed. While these deposits are technically fine on your dishes and utensils, they can be annoying and leave dishes looking cloudy and dirty.

ShoweringThe mineral deposits are left on your skin and in your hair. This buildup can cause hair breakage, dullness and weigh down hair. The film that is also left on your skin can cause irritation.

LaundryClothes washed in hard water look dingy and often feel scratchy. The hardness can even shorten the life of clothes. There are laundry detergents available for all levels of water hardness. They can aide in the damage caused from hard water.

Pipe ProblemsHard water can cause problems when it comes to appliances using hard water. The pipes can get lime scale deposits from the magnesium and calcium. The lime scale can clog pipes, reduce water flow and ultimately result in pipes needing replacement.

How to Test for Hard Water?

The first way to check for hard water can be done with a water bottle and a little dish soap. Here are the steps to complete this test:

  1. 1.       Fill up an empty water bottle half way with tap water. Screw on the lid and shake it. Pour the water out.
  2. 2.       Refill the water bottle half way with a few drops of dish soap. Put the lid on and shake.
  3. 3.       Remove the lid. If your bottle is full of suds that overflow, you do not have hard water.
  4. 4.       If you don’t have suds, you have hard water. The harder you have to shake to get suds, the harder your water.

If shaking up soapy water seems a little more than you want to do, you can purchase an at-home kit to test your water. You simply run it under the water and it will give you an immediate result.

How can I make my hard water soft?

If you live in an area with hard water, there are solutions. Some can be more expensive than others; however, the investment can be worth it in the long run. The most effective way to fix your hard water issue is to purchase a water softener. Installing a water softener may be a pricey investment, but should solve your hard water problem.

There are other small solutions to hard water. You can install special heads on your shower to absorb the minerals from the water. While this isn’t as effective as a water softener, it can slow the damage hard water causes. You can also use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda in your dishwasher and/or when cleaning your bathtub and shower to get rid of any hard water stains and spots.

When she isn’t showing off her DIY knowledge to help friends out,Amanda Peters is working on projects around her house and writing on topics ranging from home style and décor to do-it-yourself repairs and plumbing advice.