The mineral content of water can have a significant impact on the way you wash your clothes. Washing with hard water can leave mineral deposits on clothes, which can cause dirt to accumulate and make white clothes look dingy. Hard water can also leave stains on clothes, sheets, and towels, making them look dirty and feel rough to the skin. You may even notice a dust residue on freshly washed clothes, which is also due to the hardness of the water. If you're dealing with hard water, it's important to understand how to treat hard water stains on clothes and get better, cleaner results.
Hard water prevents water from mixing with detergent to form an effective cleaning agent. Calcium minerals bind to soap to create a curd of detergent that adheres to fabric fibers and attracts more dirt than before washing clothes. Over time, detergent residues can cause white clothes to turn gray or yellow, and you may even discover white or gray stripes on colored clothing. Nearly 85% of homes have hard water, so unless you already have a whole-house water purification system installed, hard water is likely to ruin your cleaning regime. Hard water is full of additional minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
While it's technically safe to drink, clean and wash them, these extra minerals can cause costly problems. A Purdue University study found that fabrics washed with hard water wear out 15% faster than garments washed with softened water. Here are three reasons why hard water can cause additional wear and tear on clothing:
- It prevents detergent from mixing effectively. Hard water prevents detergent from mixing with the water to form an effective cleaning agent. Calcium minerals bind to soap to create a curd of detergent that adheres to fabric fibers and attracts more dirt than before washing clothes.
- It creates detergent residue.
Over time, detergent residues can cause white clothes to turn gray or yellow, and you may even discover white or gray stripes on colored clothing.
- It increases energy costs. As hard water heats up, calcium carbonate forms, which turns into solid encrustations that can increase water heating costs, clog pipes, and reduce equipment life.
However, anyone following a sodium-restricted diet should consult a doctor before adding a water softener system to the pipes that supply water for drinking and cooking, as the sodium content of the water will increase. A study conducted by Purdue University found that clothes washed in hard water wear out 15 percent faster than clothes washed in soft water. A study conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute and the Water Quality Association demonstrates the ineffectiveness of washing clothes with hard water and sheds light on the benefits of a water softener. Using more detergent is expensive, and higher water temperatures can damage clothes and cost more money on energy bills.