Hard or soft water relates to water that has already been absorbed into the ground, rather than the water that rains down from the clouds. When water hits the ground it begins to absorb the minerals present in the ground. The more minerals the water absorbs the harder the water gets.
For many people, the harder the water is, the better it tastes. However, hard water is more problematic when it is used for washing dishes or doing laundry. This is because the minerals in the water are deposited on the clothes or dishes that are washed leaving behind a reside that most people do not want. This is because the residue can leave clothes looking dull, make you feel unclean after showering, and it can also make hair lake shine and body due to the minerals holding it down.
If hard water causes problems such as these, people often add a softener to their water. The only issue with softening water is that it can leave drinking water tasting salty due to the sodium ions used in the process.
Hard water is water that has a high concentration of minerals. It is not considered harmful, but there are debates about its use in industry for it causes deposits. An indication of hard water is lack of formation of suds when compines with soap, and formation of soap scum. Soap scum along with other depsits caused by minerals and ions in the water may clog plumbing.
Hard water contain ions like Calcium (in forms like calcite and gypsum), magnesium (in forms like dolomite, sulphates and chlorides. Temporary hardness means presense of Ca and Mg. By adding carbonate and bicarbonate ions and increasing temperature to boiling, the Ca and Mg will precipitate with the carbonate ions, leaving soft water. Permanent hardness implies presense of sulphates and chlorides, which only become more soluble with increasing temperatures. This requires ion exchange column or water softners to soften the water.
Rainwater is considered soft, because it does not contain many ions. Distilled water also.
Did you know that 85% of american homes have hard water?
Ice is also very hard water.
Ok, ok, ok.
An interesting historical fact on this, related to the above comment that many people like hard water, is that in the Puritan days of America, when people used to associate things that hurt with being good for the soul, they sought out hard water that didn’t taste all that good. Problem was, their understanding of septic systems wasn’t great 400 years ago, so some of that bad taste … really was bad.
Although that problem isn’t common today, there are plenty of people who buy ZeroWater water purifers, which reduce the ionic particles in water to nothing. Makes for lousy tasting tea, but on the other hand one isn’t sipping traces of copper, iron, nickle, cadmium …
This is making me thirsty.
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