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What Are the Effects of Hard Water?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Most of the effects of hard water are negative because they make peoples' cleaning efforts less effective. Clothes that are washed may not appear as clean. More cleaning products are generally required to complete tasks such as mopping or scrubbing bathrooms. Also, body cleansers are not as easily rinsed off the skin. A positive effect of hard water, however, is that it may help those who drink it to get a portion of the nutrients that they need.

Some of the effects of hard water can be witnessed when doing laundry. Despite washing, clothes may not seem to be getting clean enough because hard water often results in dinginess. It can also change the feel of apparel by making it seem rough, harsh, and scratchy. Changes to the fabric are not imaginary. It is believed that hard water significantly reduces the lifespan of garments.

Some detergents don't work as well in hard water.
Some detergents don't work as well in hard water.

Another of the effects of hard water is that it tends to leave a film on surfaces. This annoying result may be seen on showers and on dishes. Soaps and detergents do not perform as well in hard water as they normally would, and cleaning can therefore require extra and more strenuous effort. Hard water can also lead to a higher consumption of cleaning products, which will likely raise household and business expenses. As hard water damages fibers, these cost increases are aggravated by the need to replacement items such as mops and cleaning clothes more often.

A glass of hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium.
A glass of hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium.

Hard water can also take a toll on energy costs. This happens because hot waters heaters that are subjected to it do not heat as well as they would if the water was softer. It is believed that this is due to the scale buildup that occurs inside of the units. Buildup causes problems with other appliances too, such as washing machines and dishwashers. Clogged pipes not only reduce the flow of water, but they also generally require more rapid replacement.

The effects of hard water commonly include beauty issues. Just as this type of water affects other cleaning products, it also has an impact on body cleansers. These products are more difficult to rinse off of the skin, and this can result in irritation. With the hair, the results often include a lack of shine, and individuals tend to have more difficulty managing and styling their hair.

There may also be some positive effects of hard water. The problem of hard water is caused by a high concentration of minerals, often calcium and magnesium. When individuals drink this water, it may help them to meet their needs for these nutrients.

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Discussion Comments


We have hard water in our area too. We have a special shower head that softens water, so it's not much of a problem there. But I do use a water softening product in the dishwasher and washing machine to prevent build up. I think everyone who lives in a hard water area needs to take some preventative measures to avoid damage to appliances. I also have to use a laundry softener or our clothes feel like they're about to break!


My washing machine broke down last week because of mineral deposits. Fixing it is going to cost a lot and I might have to buy a new one.


Drinking hard water is great because it has the best pH level for our bodies. So we get more benefits from this water like the article said. But it's horrible for hair and skin.

Ever since I moved to an area with hard water, my skin and hair is dry. My hair is very hard, brittle and difficult to style. My skin is dry and itchy. I use a lot of hair conditioner in the shower and skin moisturizer when I get out of the shower.

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    • Some detergents don't work as well in hard water.
      By: Kitch Bain
      Some detergents don't work as well in hard water.
    • A glass of hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium.
      By: Elenathewise
      A glass of hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium.