Hard water is simply water that has positively charged minerals in it, such as magnesium, calcium and others. These minerals tend to create deposits on other things that they have regular contact with, like clothing, metals, ceramic and porcelain. They also interact with the different components in cleaning products to often lessen their effectiveness.
Soft water is usually water that has been treated to remove the mineral deposits, so that the only positively charged component remaining is sodium. Soft water also occurs naturally in some regions. This makes for water that works well for laundry and cleaning and is easy on the plumbing in your home.
Hard water creates a variety of problems with your laundry.
• Mineral buildup means that colored clothes fade more quickly than they should.
• White clothing tends to get yellow with repeated washing in hard water.
• It requires more detergent to effectively be able to create enough suds to clean your clothes.
• Buildup of deposits and extra work being demanded from the washing machine’s parts often shorten the life of the machine.
• More water is used and wasted with the need to repeat washing and rinsing clothes more often.
• In order to get hard water to clean effectively, it is necessary to use hotter water than if using soft water. This leads to higher energy costs and unnecessary energy use.
• The extra washing and the buildup that results takes a toll on the fabric in your clothing, meaning that it doesn’t last as long.
Using soft water creates whiter, brighter clothing. There will be less soapy residue and build up on clothes from deposits than what is created by the interaction of hard water and detergent. Clothing can be washed in cold, soft water with less detergent, creating more savings for the consumer. Soft water is also easier on washing machines, meaning that they last longer, as do the clothes washed in it. Clothing looks better for much longer when cared for with soft water.
Soft water is naturally occurring in some places, although in reality hard water is much more common. Luckily it is relatively easy to soften hard water, although many of the machines to do so are relatively pricey. The savings you will make through the use of soft water will however, over the life of the unit, compensate for its cost.