When you take your clothes out of the washer, you expect them to come out smelling fresh and clean and feeling soft and comfy. Sometimes you may have those extra dirty clothes that need a pre-treatment before washing, but most of the time, a regular wash cycle is good enough. However, if your clothes aren’t coming out as expected, your water may be the culprit.
Your water can have a significant impact on your laundry. While it’s easy to blame your washing machine or that new detergent you used, often, the problem starts outside your home, with your water. In this article, we’re going to tell you what hard water is, how it can affect your laundry and what you can do about it.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water contains a high amount of dissolved magnesium and calcium. If you notice that your hand still feels slippery after you wash them, you have a buildup of soap scum on your tub or shower, or when your glasses come out of the dishwasher looking chalky, you may have hard water.
Hard Water and Your Laundry
Here are some ways that hard water may be affecting your laundry.
- Clothes aren’t getting clean – About 85% of the water in the United States is hard water, and just like hard water can cause issues building a lather in the shower, it can do the same with your laundry detergent. The minerals in hard water prevent the detergent and water from mixing to form a lather, and when that happens, soap scum is left behind. When this happens, your clothes can look dingy and not feel clean after they go through the laundry. And even worse, the residue left behind can attract and hold even more dirt as you continue to wear them.
- Dull and discolored clothes – Hard water can also ruin your clothes. Darks fade faster than they should, and you may notice yellow or brownish-red stains on your clothes. Iron in your water causes these types of stains.
- Hard, scratchy linens – As hard water minerals build up on your laundry, it can cause them to be stiff and scratchy. Not only that, but over time, it will make your towels less absorbent.
- Skin irritation – The residue left on clothes and linens washed in hard water can lead to skin irritation. This is especially true if you already have sensitive skin. So if you’ve been dealing with skin problems, and none of the lotions or moisturizers you’ve tried have worked, take a look at your water.
Washing your clothes in hard water can also dramatically impact your wallet. When washing your clothes in hard water, most of the detergent you use ends up softening the water, and you also have to use hotter water to clean your clothes. So not only are you spending more on detergent, you’re spending more on utility bills when increasing hot water usage.
The Solution – A Water Softener
While you could keep spending more on detergent, hot water and to replace the clothes lost to hard water, a more economical solution would be to install a water softener for your home. The water softening process removes or deactivates the excess minerals, leaving softer water, and soft water is perfect for cleaning.
There are more than just benefits for your laundry when you install a water softener. Some of the other benefits you can expect in your home with a water softener include:
- Less soap scum
- Cleaner, healthier hair
- Softer, more moisturized skin
- Extended life of appliances
- More efficient dishwasher cycles
How Water Softeners Work
A water softener works like a magnet. Magnesium and calcium both hold a positive charge. When hard water moves through the water softener system, there are resin beads that are negatively charged that attract the calcium and magnesium particles leaving only the softened water to flow to your home.
The same thing happens when the system cleans itself (regenerates). The salt (which has a positive charge) flows through the resin bed, causing the calcium and magnesium particles to detach from the resin beads and drain with the salt water.
Let Independent Water Services, Inc. Help Save Your Laundry
There are often signs of hard water, such as seeing deposits of minerals on faucets and shower heads. But there’s another simple way to determine if you have hard water. Take a container, fill it with water, and add about ten drops of soap. Put a lid on the container and shake it. If the water is cloudy and there aren’t a lot of suds on top, you likely have hard water.
Your next step is to call Independent Water Services, Inc. Our water system experts have serviced Central Washington since 1986. We can analyze your water and recommend the best water solution for your home.
Don’t spend another day in dingy, scratchy clothes. Instead, contact us for your free water analysis.