Why is my laundry difficult to get clean and why are there never any bubbles in the bath?

Water hardness is the likely cause. Hardness prevents soap from lathering by causing the development of an insoluble curdy precipitate in the water and typically causes the buildup of hardness scale (as seen in an electric kettle or coffee maker). Dissolved calcium and magnesium salts are primarily responsible for most scaling in pipes, water heaters and cause numerous problems with laundry as well as the kitchen and bath.

Photo of scale build up on kitchen tap

Scale build-up on a faucet

What is the root cause of hard water?

Water hardness is typically caused by water leaching over, or through, common calcium containing minerals such as limestone (a form of calcium carbonate), chalk (a form of calcium sulphate) or dolomite ( a common magnesium bearing mineral).

Treatment Options

The equipment chosen to remove hard water is typically dependent on whether or not you are looking for point-of-use (POU) reduction or a point-of-entry (POE) reduction. Hardness reduction for POU is dealt with by reverse osmosis technology, while whole home harness reduction is accomplished with ion exchange (water softener). Ion exchange water softeners will physically exchange the hardness ions (calcium and magnesium) with sodium ions. The resulting water will be devoid of any (or severely limited) hardness ions which cause hard water and the detrimental effects that hard water has in the home.

Photo of a typical household water softener

A typical household water softener

Benefits of soft water

There are many benefits of using softened water, here are just a few:

  • Saves you money (less soap in laundry & fewer cleaning products).
  • Your plumbing will last longer - no scale build-up in piping.
  • Your hot water heater will last longer - no scale build-up on heating elements.
  • Diminished razor burn: Soft water causes the razor to glide more easily across the face. This, in turn, causes your razor blades to last longer.
  • Most water-using appliances will last longer. Whether it's your coffee pot, your humidifier, or your hot tub, soft water inhibits a build-up of minerals and adds life to these products.
  • No more soap build-up on skin. Skin stays softer and healthier when its natural oils are allowed to remain and aren't covered by a mineral build-up.
  • Less soap is needed to cleanse the skin (especially important with younger children).
  • Hair is softer and easier to manage when there isn't a build-up of minerals coating it. This means it's easier to brush and de-tangle.
  • Your clothes last longer and remain brighter longer if they are washed in soft water.
  • Rings and stains won't darken your bathroom fixtures.
  • Glasses and dishes won't streak.