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How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water?

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Hard water can have a major impact on your home, your family, and your health. It can make your appliances less efficient, contribute to dryness of the skin and hair, and the taste, depending on the mineral content, can be less than desirable. Luckily, there’s a few handy tricks for determining the hardness of your water:

1. The Water Bottle Method

This method is great if you don’t want to wait for a water hardness test kit to arrive at your home or make a trip to your local hardware store.

  1. Gather your materials: a clear bottle with a lid and liquid hand soap. You want the bottle to hold at least 16 oz of liquid.
  2. Fill the bottle with 12 oz of tap water, unfiltered, and 10 drops of your liquid hand soap.
  3. Cap the bottle and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. The goal is to coax suds and bubbles to appear in the bottle.
  4. Check your water. If there are tons of suds, it’s likely that you have soft water in your home. If the suds are seriously lacking, there’s a good chance that you have hard water. Hard water prevents many soaps from creating suds, which contributes to soap scum and poorly cleaned clothes.

2. Using a Test Strip

While this method works well when you’re in a pinch, nothing can determine hardness better than a professional test strip. While every test strip is a little different, the instructions are basically the same. It’s just like testing the pH in your swimming pool or aquarium:

  1. With dry hands, hold the small square on the test strip under unfiltered water for a few seconds.
  2. Wait the amount of time listed in your instructions, then compare the color of the square to the key provided.

Determining the Level of Hardness

Once you’ve determined whether or not you have hard water, you can use the same system to make a rough estimate of how hard your water is.

It’s simple enough: Add 10 drops of soap at a time, then repeat steps 3 and 4 above. You can estimate the hardness of your water by how many drops it takes to create suds:

  • 20 drops: slightly hard water
  • 30 drops: moderately hard water
  • 40 drops: hard water
  • 50 drops: very hard water

If you do have hard water, your best bet is installing a water softener. That’s where Speedy Salt comes in. We deliver Texas salt to your home every month. That means less headache for you and better water for your family.

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