All water is hard to some degree because it carries dissolved minerals. These minerals are typically calcium and magnesium. Although experts don’t see hard water as a health risk, it may cause nuisances such as mineral build-up on fixtures or soap scum that is difficult to remove. Minimizing these effects with regular cleaning and preventative measures like installing a water softener is possible.
Test the Water
When it comes to removing hard water build-ups, homeowners have many alternatives. Some prefer to remove the excess minerals entirely by installing a water-softening system in their homes. In contrast, others want to prevent the formation of stains and scale on appliances and fixtures. Preventing these problems involves forming effective cleaning habits and regularly scrubbing and wiping surfaces to keep them looking their best.
A simple soap test can be an inexpensive and effective indicator of water hardness levels. Grab a clear, clean bottle and fill it one-third of the way with a sample of tap water and a few drops of pure liquid soap. Shake the bottle ferociously for a few seconds and note the presence of bubbles.
You have hard water if the bubbles are sparse and the water appears hazy or milky. A water testing kit with strips is also available for more accurate hardness determination. Most of these tests display reading in milligrams per liter or parts per million, which can be converted to grains per gallon by multiplying by 17.1.
If you’re noticing spots on your dishes and bathtub, have difficulty getting soap to lather, have dry skin or hair and see that colored fabrics fade faster than they should, hard water may be to blame. These problems are also costly for your water heater, washing machines and plumbing systems. The most important step in hard water treatment Tampa is taking action to prevent the build-up of mineral deposits that cause them.
You can do this by using a home water softener. These devices use ion exchange to remove the magnesium and calcium from the water. They have two tanks: a salt tank and a resin tank. As the water passes through the resin, the hardness minerals are replaced by sodium ions from the salt. Other preventative measures include regularly wiping down surfaces with vinegar, which acts as an acidic solvent and makes it easier to wipe away hard water spots. It will minimize the number of areas that occur, and it may also be effective at preventing some types of stains from forming.
A build-up of hard water spots and soap scum can make washing dishes harder, taking longer for hair and skin to rinse and even leaving a sticky film on surfaces. It also restricts water flow in pipes and can exacerbate rusting in water heaters. Over time, the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water can also cause damage to appliances that rely on boiling water like boilers, as well as strip dyes and colors from clothing and linens at a much faster rate than soft water does.
It can mean that brightly colored clothes and bedsheets fade and feel rougher after washing. Regular cleaning with the right tools can prevent this damaging build-up from occurring. Microfiber cloths, vinegar and a squeegee, are effective for removing hard water spots, as is a commercial product called CLR (Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover). Water softening systems can also reduce the amount of minerals in the home’s water supply, which can help prevent scale build-up, corroded pipes and shortened lifespans for household appliances.
Clean the Surfaces
Clean surfaces with cleaning or disinfecting products appropriate for the cover to prevent germs from spreading. Regularly clean high-touch surfaces (such as pens, counters, door handles, shopping carts and restroom fixtures). If disinfecting, follow label instructions and rinse the surface after the disinfectant dries. For mild accumulations of hard water spots, stains or residue, vinegar can be a useful tool to help break up deposits and make them easier to wipe away.
Vinegar can also effectively remove black or brown rust stains when too much iron or manganese is in the water supply. If pink colors are present, they may require a heavier cure, such as using a paste of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar. These stains indicate the presence of a type of bacteria resistant to chlorine in the water supply.