Soft Water vs Hard Water – What’s the Difference Between the Two?

soft water vs hard water

You would be forgiven for thinking that the water that comes out of your tap in its natural form is the same, regardless of soft water vs hard water where you are. However, this is not the case. There are types of water: hard and soft. but what's right for you? this article is all about hard vs soft water.

Generally, soft water is more desirable. It is for this reason that many people feel it essential to invest in a water softener. As the name suggests, this system turns water from being hard to being soft.Water is used for everything and the most important use is probably that of being able to hydrate yourself.

There are both pros and cons of drinking hard and soft water.

Hard Water

Hard water is water that has been untouched by any chemical process. Hard water is the most natural type of water and the closest thing to drinking rainfall. Before it reaches your tap, the water seeps through the ground where it is filtered by stones and mineral deposits. These make the water hard.

The main benefit of drinking hard water is that this type of water still contains all of the natural minerals. These minerals include, but are not limited to, calcium; magnesium and iron. Research shows that the inclusion of these minerals within an individual’s water intake can be beneficial in fighting and preventing certain heart and cardiovascular diseases. Seeing as though these minerals are absent from soft water, this is definitely an advantage in drinking hard water.

It is claimed that if your hard water is rich in these minerals then an individual can receive all of their daily does of minerals from drinking the water.

As well as the potential health benefits of drinking hard water, these minerals are also said to add to the taste of the water. Of course this is subjective and there is no way of measuring personal preference. But many people opt to have a hard water supply separate from their water softener.

Any potential disadvantage with hard water comes in the form of scale build up inside the plumbing system. This scale reduces the efficiency of household appliances.

In terms of drinking hard water, some studies suggest a slight correlation with drinking hard water and children obtaining eczema. Although there is no concrete evidence to comprehensively conclude that there is a correlation.

The main reason that many people are put off by hard water is the smell that it produces. Due to the minerals it contains, hard water can often give off scents ranging from being earthy to a strong sulfur smell. This is the most common reason for people disliking drinking hard water.

Soft Water

Soft water is highly regarded, by experts, as being harmful if drank regularly. Soft water is hard water that has had its minerals removed through the process of ionization.

Individuals who consume soft water on a regular basis will increase sodium, (salt) levels. Although sodium is a necessary part of a balanced diet excess increases cardiovascular health problems. Such problems include high blood pressure. The body naturally reacts to excess sodium through water retention. If somebody retains a constant amount of water, this increases their blood pressure as the heart works harder to supply blood to the body. The average person already consumes too much sodium; so drinking soft water will only increase this issue.

Due to the chemicals added to hard water in order to make it soft, the water is more volatile. This leads to the water gaining unwanted elements as it flows through the pipes, before it exits through your tap. Elements such as lead easily seep into the water, making drinking soft water even more dangerous. Lead can potentially harm blood cells and harm the process in which oxygen is carried to organs, muscles and bone.

Soft water in excess can also affect a human’s water levels. This not only affects the human as a whole but also individual cells. When these cells become dehydrated it hinders the process of water movement through cellular walls.

The reason people install water softeners and require soft water is due to the fact that the treated water prevents scaling build up on taps and kitchen appliances.

Hard Water vs Soft Water - Which is Better?

Many experts suggest that in terms of consumption, hard water is far superior to soft water. However, the benefits of soft water can not be ignored. It is for this reason that many experts suggest that using a water softener with a water bypass valve system. This allows hard water to flow to certain areas so that it can be used for cooking and drinking purposes. If not, then other sources of water should be located, such as bottled water.

There are definitely benefits to both which is to be expected but if you're looking for a very specific thing, you might want to read this next one so you're informed about the difference in both of them.

Knowing the Difference

The easiest way to tell if you have hard or soft water is to look at the lather on your soap. This is a good tell if you are dealing with bad quality water, also you can also check your utensils, sink, and pretty anything that the water touches and you'll see what we are talking about. After the water dries up, you'll notice a different look to it. It is not clean nor it is safe to be drinking this kind of water, especially in the long term. You will want to put a stop to this because there are health concerns involved. And, if you have other people in your house, the risk increases with it.

Hard water causes:

  • Soap to create a white film instead of a foamy lather
  • Soap to remain on your skin and hair instead of rinsing off cleanly

You can also tell the difference between these two types by looking at your tub or shower surround. Hard water leaves a white mineral scale on your surfaces. These scales are made up of calcium and magnesium, and the minerals can build up in your pipes and clog them.

Hardness Can Be Temporary

It’s not unusual for people to be told that they have soft water, only to find that their soaps, shampoos and detergents don’t lather well. This occurs when you are experiencing a temporary hardening of your water. When your water becomes hard, it is typically because there are bicarbonate minerals present. Your water can be made soft by boiling or simply by waiting for the minerals to pass through your system.

Why Hard Water Is Not Preferred

Minerals in your water can cause many issues within your home. While hard water may be fine to drink, it is typically not healthy for your hair and skin. Some of these issues are of no real consequence, but some of these issues may require attention by professional plumbers.

Your hair:

  • Never feels clean
  • Loses its shine
  • Dries out and can cause dandruff

Your skin:

  • Dries out quickly
  • Feels sticky
  • Children may develop eczema

Washing clothes in hard water can ruin the fabric over time by breaking it down. Washing in soft water may leave a residue of detergent within the fibers. Again, it’s important to find a middle ground if you want to have clean clothes without damage.

Hard water can cause build up in your pipes that you don’t notice until they begin to back up. These mineral deposits must be flushed out by a plumber to prevent damage to your pipes. Unfortunately, many home owners do not realize that this build up is taking place until real problems occur. The simple installation of a water softening system will counteract this scale build up, and reduce (if not obliterate) the negative effects of hard water.

Treating Hard Water

Whether your water is too hard or too soft, a treatment system can regulate your water, making it perfect for your family. When you have a treatment system professionally installed in your home, your water is made safe for drinking and perfect for washing.

When you consider how much better your water is for your family and the cost-savings you will experience by having clear pipes, having a water treatment system installed (such as a softener or filter system) in your home is more affordable than you think.

Can't afford a whole house system, or are you renting? Why not try installing a simple shower head water softener/filter first!

Looking for more water softener information or advice? start by visiting the Water Softener Critic homepage - a water softener information hub.

Looking for more reviews? we've got you covered on our water softener review page.

How about some helpful articles about hard and soft water? These articles are what you're looking for!

Regardless of the decision on whether to buy a water softener or not, comprehensive research and a professional opinion should always be obtained beforehand - especially now that you now the difference between hard vs soft water!


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