What is Hard Water & 5 Reasons Why it’s Harmful?

When the concentration of dissolved minerals in the water, mainly calcium and magnesium, becomes too high, it becomes hard. You may have noticed the effects of hard water on your households. After doing dishes when the water evaporates, a whitish layer may be seen clouding the glasses or the spoons. Water spots on showerheads, glass windows, tiles, and metal surfaces also occur due to the presence of calcium and magnesium in water.

Hard water can be found in ground wells, tap water, or hand pumps. As the water moves through the soil and under the ground, it can take up minerals and other substances. This results in the hard nature of water. The hardness of water is measured in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). 121 – 180 mg/L of calcium carbonate is classified as hard water. As opposed to soft water, which has a concentration of 0 – 60 mg/L. There may or may not be much difference in the taste of hard and soft water. However, people think that hard water, because of the high sodium, has a distinct taste from that of soft water.[source]

Harmful Effects

Hard water with soap

Hard water is not a severe threat to health but has many unwanted and harmful effects explained below

  1. Hard water can be an unpleasant obstacle to cleaning and laundry. It can damage household appliances such as washing machines, sinks, steam irons, coffee makers, metal pots, and kettles.
  2. Hard water shortens the fabric life of clothes and makes them look worn out and faded. You may have to use an extra amount of cleaners or detergents as their effectiveness can be compromised in hard water.
  3. Water pipes can become clogged due to the minerals in the water. This can disrupt the water pressure and may lead to pipes replacement.
  4. Hard water can disturb the natural pH level of the skin, leaving it vulnerable to be attacked by infectious bacteria.
  5. Hard water is drinkable; however, it may cause skin dryness or irritation. Repeated washing of hair with the hard water can result in an itchy scalp and dullness of hair.

Know more: 6 Negative Effects of Hard Water on Skin/hair with Solutions

Minimizing the Effects of Hard Water

As stated earlier, hard water is not extremely dangerous, but it can be quite a nuisance. Water Quality Association (WQA) states that the hardness level of water can be decreased through methods such as membrane separation softening, chemical softening, and ion-exchange softening. Besides these techniques, there are some home remedies available that can be used to remove hard water stains. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are some of the most widely used methods. For this, spray vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water, or apply a paste of baking soda and vinegar on the stained surface. After 10-15 minutes, rinse with water and wipe the area clean. This can considerably reduce the hard water spots.

Conclusion

Hard water can be annoying and problematic at times, but it can also be beneficial for looking for an extra dose of calcium and magnesium in their daily diet. Even though there is no concrete scientific proof, but it is claimed to benefit people with cardiovascular diseases. Overall, hard water is safe to drink, but it cannot be easy to deal with. With the help of water softeners and home remedies, its’ effect on household equipment can be significantly reduced.

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