Adjusting Your Household Routine for Soft Water
Living with hard water makes cleaning everything more difficult, but this extra effort becomes part of your household routine. In order to avoid stiff, sour clothes you’ve grown accustomed to larger quantities of strong detergents and cups of fabric softener. Washing dishes takes more dish liquid and constantly refilling your dishwasher with rinse aid to combat the filmy scale left on dishes after each run. Even showers require stronger shampoos to combat the mineral build up in your hair. This is just the way your household has needed to function when facing hard water. However, if you’ve recently installed a water softener or have moved to a home with softer tap water, those old methods need to change. Here’s a quick guide on how to adapt to your new soft water home experience.
Washing the Dishes
In a hard water system, a flaky off-white residue known as scale builds up on everything. The inside of your pipes, every sink, and the walls of your shower. However, no where is it more obvious than on your beautiful clear glasses when you open the dishwasher. Water deposits from hard, or even medium-hard, water are the number one cause of glass spots and that whitish film left on your dishes and most people use strong dish soap and copious amounts of rinse aid to combat this. When your sink and dishwasher are running with soft water, you can use half the rinse aid and replace your dish soap with a much gentler formula. If your family pre-washes dishes in the sink this change is especially beneficial, preventing dry, cracked skin with softer hand-wash friendly dish soap.
When switching from hard to soft water, perhaps the biggest change is how you do your laundry. In the washing machine, the extra particles in heavy water reduce production of suds and weigh down your clothes with mineral deposits which make the clothing stiff after it comes out. For this configuration, you get used to washing your clothes on ‘Hot’ whenever possible, using fabric softener, and stacking on the detergent to break up the minerals. For a soft water household, the water penetrates the clothing more effectively, doesn’t leave a residue, and suds much more easily. This means you want to cut both your detergent and fabric softener use, and can even start washing safely on cooler temperatures.
Bathing and Showering
As with dish and clothes washing, your baths are now also free of the dreaded mineral buildup and negative effects on hair and skin. However, washing with soft water after the switch can feel disconcerting. The feeling you’ve come to associate with ‘soap is gone’ is a particular roughness created when only the mineral buildup is left. With soft water, that mineral feeling is missing along with your usual tactile indication that soap is washed away. To adapt, decrease the amount of bodywash and shampoo you use and give yourself time to get used to the way rinsing feels with soft water. You will soon notice more lustrous hair and softer skin as your body adapts to the new, clearer water.
Gardening and Fish
Soft water is very different from hard water, and in more than just a lack of heavy minerals. The way the water softening system works adds some sodium into the water as it removes the extra calcium and magnesium. This is mostly an experiential difference for you, but makes a huge impact on your plants and fish. To help your fishy friends adapt, slowly blend more soft water into the aquarium over about two weeks. Plants, on the other hand, often object to salt more than minerals and might benefit from a non-softened outdoor tap.
Water is a huge part of our daily life and is easy to take for granted. The differences, however, between hard and soft water systems will be impossible to ignore. The look and feel of your clothes, body, dishes, and even your bathtub will improve noticeably and you will immediately begin saving money on soaps and detergents. When you switch your household from hard to soft water, you’ll be amazed at the total experiential difference in everything from washing your hair to tending your fish. For more information on water softening or adjusting to your new soft water lifestyle, contact us today!