Differences between hard water and soft water

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
Differences between hard water and soft water

Surely you have heard of hard water and soft water more than once...Is that right? The difference between both comes from the lime levels it contains: hard water contains a greater amount of lime, while soft water contains less lime. This stems mainly from the geological nature of the soil and the geographical area where the water comes from. The hardest waters can cause problems because the lime from the water affects our homes and can cause problems. If you want to know more about it, don't miss this OneHowTo article on the differences between hard water and soft water.

You may also be interested in: How to Prevent Hard Water Scale

Hard water

Water that contains a high level of minerals, namely magnesium and calcium salts, is known as hard water. This type of water often comes from underground in limestone soils, which raise the levels of lime and magnesium, among others.

These minerals are the ones which make it difficult for other substances to dissolve properly in water, as may occur in the case of soap when washing clothes. Also, hard water leaves more residue, for example, lime in pipes and drains, thereby causing problems at home. This is why we recommend using products that prevent the formation of lime scale in geographic areas with hard water.

Differences between hard water and soft water - Hard water

Soft water

On the contrary, soft water is water in which minimal amounts of salts are dissolved. Soft water usually corresponds to well water or water that comes from surface water.

The softest water is distilled water, because it doesn't have any minerals and is unfit for human consumption.

Differences between hard water and soft water - Soft water

Medium water

Although hard water and soft water are the most well-known, we can also find water which is of medium hardness. It is the one which is found at intermediate levels, between that considered to be hard water and soft water, based on the amount of minerals it has.

The effects of lime

Although at first glance it may seem that the lime from water is not affecting any aspect of our home, it is not true. Its effects are "invisible" but very damaging, both materially and economically. Some of the adverse effects of hard water are:

  • Blocking and rusting of pipes.
  • Marks and white trails in toilets, bathtubs, taps...
  • Lime changes the taste of water.
  • It damages electrical appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers.

If you want to read similar articles to Differences between hard water and soft water, we recommend you visit our Maintenance and home security category.

  • You can do a test to check the water hardness in your home.

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