Previously, we discussed how soft water reduces how much laundry soap is needed to do a single load of laundry. This post will be of a similar topic: Hard water can cause your clothing to become worn out more quickly. Its not actually the hardness of the water itself that wears out the clothing though – its the laundry detergent. The detergent slowly wears down the clothing fibers. First lets review how hard water leads to increased soap usage, and how more soap means faster clothing wear.
When we describe the ‘hardness’ of water, what we are referring to is the amount of calcium that is dissolved into the water. It is usually invisible to the naked eye, so you wont be able to tell your water is ‘hard’ just by looking at it. Calcium is a contaminant to the water, and we know that soap is used to clean contaminants. Whenever you put soap in hard water, it attaches itself to the contaminant (in this case, the calcium) and it becomes sticky in the process. If you have hard water, the reason you tend to see chalky residue on glassware is because the soap and attached contaminant (calcium) has stuck onto the glass.
Hard water isn’t able to effectively wash all the laundry detergent off of your clothing during the rinse cycle. Since detergent residue remains, these chemicals set into the clothing even once they are clean and dry. With soft water, there is dramatically less laundry detergent residue left behind in the clothing fibers. Remember, this residue will eventually break down the clothing fibers.
If you know you have hard water, you can perform a simple experiment using some household items. Take a small kitchen bowl and fill it with about a pint of tap water. Next, take a clean dishrag and set it in the bowl for at least 15 minutes. After the time is up, you’ll probably see some soap suds in the water. If not, agitate the water briefly.
If there is soap residue in the dishrag, the same thing is happening to your laundry. Many of us have delicate clothes, and laundry detergent residue will wear them out over time. Frequent wear and washing with hard water will make this happen way sooner than necessary. This is why it is so important to consider a water treatment system if you want to extend the life of your clothes.
The reality is, soft water is simply able to rinse your clothes much more effectively than hard water. Additionally, detergent can do its job of attaching to the dirt itself instead of having to attach to the contaminants in hard water. This speaks for the importance of having good quality soft water, free of contaminants like calcium. Installing a water treatment system in your home will have tangible benefits—if you care about the longevity of your favorite clothes, treat them right by washing them in soft water.
If you have any questions about whether a water treatment system is right for your home, or what kind of system would be best for your home’s needs, give us a call today at (540) 352-4262.