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How Hard Water Affects Your Wardrobe

Published by Passaic Bergen Water Softening on

Portrait of the actor Emilio Aragón during the presentation of the new episodes of 'Casi Perfectos', TV serie in Spain.


I never really understood how hard water could affect my wardrobe. After some research I came to understand what happens to each type and/or color wardrobe item I own. Here is a quick breakdown:


  • black tees are an off black color now versus when they were first purchased
  • black clothing has unidentifiable streaks in the fabric
  • there are small worn holes


  • just not white but yellow, gray or dingy
  • small worn holes


  • hard socks
  • hard towels
  • smelly towels
  • worn thru clothing

The Culprit

The culprit in each of these laundry scenarios is one simple thing. The hard water. Hard water leaves behind a sediment of calcium and magnesium. These fine ion particles eventually build up in your fabrics and leave them looking faded. Another telltale sign is an unidentifiable black streak across a dark colored item. This black streak would be a large hard water deposit that once dried in the drier has actually set. Throw this in the donation bag immediately.

When it comes to white clothes, the hard water sediment clinging to the white fabric will take away the brightness leaving your whites dull and dingy. Hard socks and towels after they’ve been washed simply contain inordinate amounts of sediment. Some DIY-ers recommend washing these through a vinegar rinse to help alleviate the stagnant odor associated with hard water towels.

Last, a lot of the clothing today is wrinkle resistant and/or ‘stretchy’. These fabrics are often worn down quickly by hard water deposits leaving them almost ‘see-thru’. Not a good look from anyone’s perspective, right?

More Soap Please

Your first reaction will be to use more soap because initially, soap mixes with the water to soften it. Then it proceeds to clean the clothing; however, because it’s primary job has been detoured you need to ask yourself are you clothes really getting as clean as they should?

Hard water is relentless on not only the machine (see our appliance blog for more information) but on the investment made in your closet.




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