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Tuesday, June 1st
Are you occasionally dropping shampoo bottles in the shower now that you have a water softener? Are dishes slipping out of your hands while washing them in the sink? Does your skin feel silky or slippery after a bath? These are all very common occurrences with people who have recently installed a water softener after many years of living with hard water.
The word “slippery” is often used to describe soft water, which is actually the way water is supposed to feel. The way your water feels when it hits your skin has everything to do with the type of minerals present in the water. Believe it or not, your skin can tell the difference between hard and soft water.
We all know there are numerous benefits to ridding your hard water for soft water, like increased longevity of your water appliances and keeping your plumbing running smoothly, but one thing often overlooked is soft water allows us to cut back on soap and detergent usage while ultimately allowing us to feel clean.
Hard water is a term used to describe water that contains excessive amounts of dissolved minerals (typically magnesium or calcium). You will notice these minerals in your water by the white residue they leave behind on your plumbing and fixtures after the water dries. These minerals are also the reason hard water may feel heavier and more abrasive on your skin.
When you take a shower or a bath, chemicals in soap react with the hardness minerals in your water causing it to curdle, leaving a soap scum that is difficult to rinse off. This leftover residue can clog your pores and even dry out your skin. If you have ever dried off after taking a shower and noticed your skin felt “squeaky clean”, you are actually feeling leftover soap scum on your body.
You also need to use a lot more soap when cleaning in hard water. So, if the one squirt of dish soap into a sink full of dishes that you normally see on all of the commercials doesn’t seem to be enough at your house, you may be dealing with one of the issues that comes with hard water. This is where the importance of soft water comes into play.
To remove hard water minerals from your water that are causing this film and causing you to use way more soap than the commercials, you will need to install a water softener. Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove the hardness from your water. Positively charged calcium and magnesium minerals are removed by the negatively charged resin beads (ions) inside of the media tank. As soon as the resin beads inside of the tank have collected all hard water minerals they can hold, the water softener will “regenerate” by rinsing the media tank with a saltwater solution called brine. This process restores the resin beads back to normal so more hard water can be treated through the water softener.
The absence of these tiny grains of minerals makes the water feel smoother and helps soaps rinse away cleaner, so you no longer have that soap scum buildup on your skin.
Believe it or not, “slippery” is actually the way water is supposed to feel. If you are used to hard water, then your first encounter with soft water while showering may have you feeling slippery or slimy. What often happens is after your water is free of calcium and magnesium, you no longer feel that heavy abrasiveness from the minerals when the water touches your skin.
When bathing or showering in soft water your skin won’t dry out because the soap scum can be rinsed off more thoroughly. You will also notice you need a lot less soap than you did with hard water to work up a good lather. Pouring three or four times as much shampoo as you really need for your type of water is going to make all of your bottles a lot harder to hang on to. Feeling too slippery is often the result of using the same amount of soap or cleaning products you were accustomed to using when you were using hard water.
Less is More: Hard water inhibits shampoos, body wash, dish soap, detergents, etc. from working as they should, which means we have to use more for it to work the way we want. If you have had a water softener installed and you’re still using large amounts of soap to compensate for the effects of hard water, you’re using too much, making things slippery and difficult to hang on to as well. We typically recommend people cut back to using only 1/3-1/2 of what they’re used to because that’s all you need with soft water.
Use Pure Soap or Make Your Own: Making soap at home can be a great way to counter that silky slippery feeling. Un-natural soap can contain chemicals, perfumes, and water softening agents to counteract the hard water it is expecting the user to have. If you already have soft water, this can double the effects of your soap making it harder to rinse off. The other benefit of DIY soap is you know exactly what natural additives you are applying to your skin.
Adapting to soft water can be challenging for some at first, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial concerns you may have. Contact your authorized WaterCare dealer today to learn more about what to expect after making the switch to soft water.