4 5 Ways To Tell That Your Water Needs Softening

Home maintenance isn't something I like. I would prefer stuff to just take care of itself. But that just is not possible with some aspects of home ownership, like the water softener. Anywhere I have ever lived, except maybe those 4 months I lived in New Jersey, I had hard water that needed salt to be added to soften it and if you don't top up the salt on a regular basis it will impact all aspects of your water usage. 

Why Does Water Need to be Softened?
In some areas, like ours, water is heavy in mineral content making it "hard". The water will not lather and instead leaves scum and mineral build up everywhere. It can cause equipment it passes through to become clogged and then breakdown. To mitigate hard water, salt is added to a tank that all water passes through to "soften" it. 

Does My Water Need Softening?
  1. Nothing will lather. Shampoo, dish soap, laundry soap. You just won't see suds...especially with the natural products, instead you just see soap scum. 
  2. Your hair won't feel or look clean even right after you have washed it.
  3. Dishes will come out of the dishwasher just slightly less dirty than when you put them in. There will probably even be food still on the inside of the dishwasher...like water wasn't even used to wash the dishes.
  4. There will be white residue left on things like your shower door, stainless steel, sinks etc.
  5. Your skin will feel extra dry and itchy.
If you aren't using natural products then you won't notice the effects of hard water as much as those of using who are using them. This is because the conventional products contain chemicals that counteract the effects hard water has on surfactants (what makes products produce suds).

From an environmental perspective forgetting to top up your water softener salt will mean that you are using 2 to 3 times the water than you normally would as you will be washing dishes over and over again in an attempt to get them clean. And if you are like me and only wash your hair every 4 days you will find that you are having to wash it every day.

Do you have hard water? How do you soften it? What is the biggest tell for you that you need to add more salt?

Related Posts - Check them Out
Capturing and Reusing Rain Water
Stripping Your Clothes Without Chemicals
Switching To A Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

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photo credit: admiller via photopin cc


  1. Waterloo resident here! We seem to be in the heart-of-darkness when it comes to water hardness. A softener was one of the first things we installed when we bought the house. I'd be curious to know if you knew of any greener solutions to removing hard-water build-up/film? I wipe things down with diluted CLR, but it seems like such a harsh chemical to use.

    1. We have some serious water problems here eh?! I use vinegar to get rid of hard water build up. I dilute it (50/50) and just spray it on and then wipe it off.

  2. The worst thing about Waterloo is the hard water. I hate it. Hate. It. I had never even knew what water softeners were before I moved here. Thankfully, I have one in my house. Buying the salt is a heavy task but totally makes a difference. For the better. Love that darn salt! I'm also a major CLR user but I also use vinegar-water to mop my floors. Maybe I'll just try using it for every cleaning job. Thanks.

    1. Hard water and a high water table that results in low water in the summer....so much for the WATER in Waterloo!