Hard water contains minerals and other substances that can leave residue on your dishes and clothes, and on your skin and hair, drying it out and leaving your hair flat. Hard water can also interfere with proper water flow in your home, leading to low water pressure.
One of the easiest home testing methods is to take a sample of water from your sink in a bottle, add about ten drops of liquid dish soap, and then close the container and shake the solution. If it builds up suds very quickly, this usually indicates softer water, as hard water will have trouble building up suds.
If you believe you have hard water and want to confirm your suspicion, you can try a testing kit, but the best way to confirm it is by having a professional test your water, or by sending a water sample for laboratory testing.
Common Symptoms of Hard Water
The telltale sign of hard water in your home is mineral scaling. If your clothes feel stiff or appear dirty after washing, this is likely a sign of hard water as soft water usually leaves them feeling clean and soft. When it comes to washing dishes, mineral scaling can leave your clean glassware discolored with water spots and residue that looks like etching.
White scaling on your water fixtures is another common sign. If you notice white residue on your showerheads and faucets, this is likely due to hard water. Mineral scaling can also occur inside your bathtub, in sink bowls, and inside your toilet bowl.
Fixing Hard Water
It is important to remember that while hard water may leave unsightly residue on clothes or dishes, it is not necessarily unhealthy. In fact, some hard water minerals are actually good for you. However, if hard water in your home becomes bothersome, you will likely need some type of filtration system to remove excess minerals and prevent mineral scaling.