How Hard Water Can Affect Your Laundry
When you go to put your laundry into the washing machine, you might not be thinking about how hard water can affect the outcome. However, the truth is that hard water is rife in many parts of the UK and it not only causes limescale, but it can make your clothes feel scratchy and not as soft. Most people will blame the washing powder or detergent that they use. Sometimes even the appliance itself for ruining clothes, but it is often hard water that is the culprit.
But what is hard water?
Hard water contains minerals such as magnesium and calcium, which then cause limescale and scum to coat appliances such as taps and showers. It can often be unsightly and when the hard water is used for laundry, it can cause a number of problems. Read on to find out how hard water affects your laundry and what you can do to stop it.
Clothes Don’t Feel Clean
Due to the minerals in hard water, it is more difficult for soap and detergent to do their job. Bubbles aren’t formed as easily and the detergent itself can’t mix properly with the water. This often results in soap scum being left behind as it doesn’t dissolve. It can then cling to your clothes, which is noticeable by any marks such as grey residue that is sometimes called detergent curd.
When left over soap clings to fabric, it will make it look unclean and even attract more dirt as the clothes are worn.
Fabric Becomes Hard and Scratchy
There is nothing worse than getting a clean towel out of the cupboard, only to realise that it feels scratchy and hard against your skin. This is because the minerals and left over soap scum from the washing machine cling to the towel and make it feel harder once dry. It also means that the towel will be less absorbent over time, which isn’t what you want when trying to dry yourself after a shower.
Clothes Become Discoloured
Have you noticed that your favourite shirt or dress has become discoloured over time? That is because the minerals in hard water are affecting the dye in the fabric. The clothes can often become dull, but you might also notice that there are yellow or reddish brown stains on them too. These are the same kinds of stains that you will see around the edge of the sink or in toilets. The stains are caused by traces of iron in the hard water and it can ruin your clothes over time.
Your Skin Is Irritated
Hard water can often lead to irritated skin, especially when you wear clothes that have been washed in hard water. It can lead to skin conditions like eczema, which can be uncomfortable and result in you having to buy expensive creams to fix the problem.
The residue from washing laundry will stick to clothes and rub against your skin when you wear them. It can cause itching, redness, dryness and chafing depending on the clothes being worn. Even when people aren’t aware that it is hard water causing this issue, they will try all sorts of creams and lotions to help. However, these often won’t fix the problem as they are constantly wearing clothes washed in hard water.
How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water?
Apart from the points mentioned above, here are some other ways you can tell if you have hard water in your home:
- Soap and shampoo don’t lather well
- There’s a filmy layer on your dishes after washing
- Showerheads, drains and faucets have limescale that looks white
- There is a visible ring around the inside of the bathtub
- Orange, rust coloured marks are common on the sink’s draining board
Get Rid of Hard Water With A Water Softener
To make all these laundry problems a thing of the past, you can have a water softener installed in your home. A water softener sits neatly under the sink and is connected to the main water line. It then works to remove the minerals in the hard water when the water filters through the system, leaving you with softer water when you run the tap or use the washing machine.
If you are interested in finding out more about how a water softener works, simply call us on 01482 351769. Alternatively, you can request a free home survey where one of our technicians will visit your home to assess the water quality and tell you everything you need to know about water softeners.