How to Know if You Have Hard Water or Soft Water

Hard and Soft Water

The best way to tell whether water is hard or soft is the soapy factor. Soap and toothpaste do not lather up as quickly in hard water as in soft. Hard water contains all manner of insoluble minerals. A list of these minerals includes sulfates, chlorides, iron and bicardonates.

Another way to tell if you water is hard is the deposit test. If you see white deposits on water pipes that have been in use for a while, you have hard water. The white deposit is limescale.

Drawbacks to Hard Water

Hard water is not a health risk, for the most part. There is some data which suggests hard water leads to a slightly greater risk of heart and blood disease then soft water.

On the other hand, soft water tends to corrode the inside of water pipes more than hard water. This is because soft water doesn’t coat the pipes with limescale, which is a common minerals in hard water. This extra corrosion leads to higher levels of lead and cadmium in your drinking water, which carry their own health risks.

So the health concerns of hard or soft water tend to cancel one another out. Whatever risks are slight and fall on either side of the coin. If you determine you have hard water, there are few medical reasons to take steps. There are household reasons for the switching to soft water.

There are many differences in the household efficiency of hard and soft waters.

Pipes and Detergents

Also, hard water has minerals that eventually will clog pipes from one another. This means that pipes and septic systems will clog up and need more repairs when using hard water.

Hard water requires you to use more soap, laundry detergent and dish washer detergent. You might end up using twice as much of these for hard water.

Soap Scum

Combining hard water and soap creates a soap scum combined from magnesium and calcium. This scum is called “curd”. When used to wash the human body, curd causes the blockage of pores and coating the body hair with a thin layer. Curd is insoluble, so that washing will not remove it.

Curd leads to skin irritation, rashes and dry, scaly skin. Bacterial growth is aided by this soap scum. Hard water is therefore not good for your skin.

The Sad Fact

About 85% of the tap water used in America can be described as hard. This is due to the fact that most American streams contain hard water. England has even harder water than America, while Canada has the softest water of the three.

New England, the Gulf Coast and the Pacific Northwest are the regions with the softest water in the United States. The American Southwest and the Plains States have the hardest waters in America.


If you have hard water and want to change, you can purchase a water softener. A water softener is a filter which removes the magnesium and calcium sediment from the water in an “ionic process”. Basically, the filter removes ions of these minerals from the water.

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