What Is Hard & Soft Water?

Water isn’t just a universal solvent but the basis of pretty much all life on our planet. And while it is transparent, colorless, odorless, and tasteless, not all water is created equal.
It can be categorized in two ways based on the mineral content of each.

Let’s learn more about them.

The Distinction Between Hard Water And Soft Water

Water is often classified as being either hard or soft. This simply refers to the level of dissolved minerals present in the water. Hard water encapsulates high levels of calcium and magnesium ions, while soft water has low levels of dissolved minerals.

Hard Water Characteristics

The hardness of your water depends on its mineral content. But, it may also depend on the location where the well was drilled.

Hard water contains high mineral content, specifically calcium and magnesium, which give it its characteristic hardness.

Although hard water is not harmful to drink, it can negatively affect household appliances and cleaning products. For example, hard water can cause scale build-up on taps, pipes, and dishwashers. It can also make soap less effective, leading to scum and streaks.

Soft Water Characteristics

Conversely, soft water lacks minerals and is not harmful to drink. As a result, it’s often used by people who wish to eliminate or reduce build-up on their home appliances and fixtures caused by hard water.

Hard water can be softened by treating it with a chemical process called demineralization. The calcium and magnesium are removed by passing the water through a resin bed. The resins exchange sodium ions for calcium and magnesium, thus creating soft water.

The Main Differences

So, what’s the difference between hard and soft water? Hard water contains high levels of minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. These minerals give hard water its characteristic hardness. On the other hand, soft water lacks minerals and is not harmful to drink.

Also, hard water can cause problems when used in household appliances and cleaning products, while soft water does not.

If you are looking for water that isn’t tough on your appliances and doesn’t leave streaks and scum, then soft water is the way to go.

However, if you are not concerned about the build-up caused by hard water, there is no need to soften it.

Each person’s needs vary, so it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of both types of water before deciding. It is also critical to note that an abundance of hard or soft water can deteriorate appliances.

Therefore, it’s best to use your water sparingly if you want to prolong the life of your home appliances.


In summary, hard tap water can usually be identified by its higher mineral content, making it more difficult for soap to lather up in your dishwater or shower.

When washing dishes with soapy hands, you may notice that they seem dirtier than before because the minerals from the water will attach themselves to any food particles present in your body.

Conversely, soft tap water contains fewer minerals, making soap to foam easier, which means clean dishes are a breeze!

If you have more questions, call a plumber. A good plumber can help answer your questions about water hardness.

Related Articles

Back to top button