Ever looked up at your shower head and seen all that gross build-up around the nozzle? Nearly every home in America – except those homes that are exceptionally clean – have it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you may be acquainted with the chalky white residue that hangs around the sides of your favorite pan. This is because the water is hard water – and it might pose a risk to your health.
The majority of water in America is hard water. This stuff is formed when water passes through limestone and chalk deposits before it reaches your household faucet. Hardwater picks up magnesium and calcium deposits along the way.
In contrast, soft water contains a low concentration of calcium and magnesium because it does not pass through any rocks before it becomes part of the water supply chain. In general, this makes it much more enjoyable to drink – it literally tastes more refreshing, and you feel better with each mouthful.
How Harmful is Hard Water?
There is no distinct consensus on just how harmful hard water is. In fact, studies seem to lean both ways; some scientists believe that magnesium and calcium deposits do have benefits in people with mineral deficiencies. However, other studies have warned of health risks as great as the increased risk of Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and even cancers.
In truth, the jury’s still out on whether or not hard water is harmful, but the World Health Organisation has stated that they certainly don’t feel it be the case. It’s worth remembering that 82% of naturally occurring fresh water is hard water, although if you’ve ever been acquainted with stinging nettle, you’ll know that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean that it’s good.
However, one thing most people who know a lot about hard water can agree on is that it’s annoying. It’s just downright annoying.
Hard water can affect your home & family in a myriad of ways, which include:
- An increased risk of dry skin, because of mineral deposits
- Increased skin irritation of those with sensitive skin
- An excess of minerals left on hair, making it look lackluster, limp, and even greasy
- A build-up of minerals on shower nozzles and faucets, that obstruct water flow
- Film and scale which accumulates on tiles in the kitchen and bathroom
- A less-effective water heater – mineral deposits inhibit a heater’s ability to function and shorten its lifespan
- Increases the costs of utilities – because the scale is a poor conductor, your home and water heats less effective when there’s a build-up of mineral deposits in the pipes
- Glasses and dishes never seem clean, because hard water leaves them looking speckled
- Clothes lose their softness and brightness because of excess calcification
- Tea, coffee, and the humble glass of water all taste much worse than their soft water equivalents
What’s the Solution?
Even if there is no distinct health risk, you’re still right to look for a solution to this problem. As I’ve shown, hard water, if not harmful, is at least downright annoying.
Luckily, if you’re one of the many homes in America that live with hard water, there are many solutions to this problem.
- Install a Water Softener. A water softener system will take rid of the hard water problem completely. No more will you have to deal with sketchy stains in your toilet, starchy clothes and bad tasting tea. Instead, all the excess minerals will be removed from your water supply, meaning you’ll no longer have to concern yourself with any of hard water’s annoyances.
- Use a Rinsing Agent. Add a rinsing agent or even a little-distilled vinegar to your washing machine if you’re worried about starchy clothes – they should come out looking better.
- Buy Beauty Products Made for Hard Water. Let your shampoo and body wash combat your hard water problem for you. Many brands have specially formulated products to combat hard water issues, leaving your skin glowing and your hair silky soft.
Author: Ellie Wiseman