A Simple DIY Test for Hard Water That You Can Do Today

Many of us have heard about hard water, and how it can cause all sorts of problems in our homes. Hard water can clog up plumbing, wear out appliances, cause soap scum and even make our hair dry and brittle. Almost 85% of U.S. homes have a hard water problem, and municipal water treatment cannot help. When public water is cleaned the minerals that cause hard water, such as calcium and magnesium, are not removed. Most homes have a hardness level of 13 grain per gallon, and that’s considered to be very hard. Professional testing is the best way to get an accurate picture of your water quality, but here we will show a simple four step DIY water hardness test that you can try. A Simple DIY Test for Hard Water That You Can Do Today

1. Fill a Clear Container

The first thing that you will need is a clean and clear container; an empty plastic water bottle will do just fine. Take the container to your faucet and fill it to roughly the one third mark with water. Then get some pure liquid soap to use in the next step.

2. Add the Pure Liquid Soap

Now you will need to add approximately ten drops of pure liquid soap into your water bottle. Avoid using soap that has been labeled as a detergent because it will contain additives that will skew your test results. Castile soap is ideal because it has very few ingredients and it has no perfumes or dyes added.

3. Get Shaking

Next, you will need to shake up your water bottle or container for at least ten seconds to thoroughly mix together the soap and water. The aim here is to make soapy bubbles that you can analyze in the next step.

4. Check the Water Clarity and Soap Suds

Now we can interpret the results of the test to determine if you have hard water. If the water bottle has a good amount of suds located near the tops of the bottle and the water under the bubbles is clear, congratulations you have soft water. If there are not many soap suds and the water looks cloudy, this is a good indicator that you have hard water. The test can be continued by adding more soap each time and the more soap needed to make bubbles the harder the water is. In practical terms, this can be equated to your home, and you can easily see how much soap and energy is required to make soap bubbles with hard water.

What Does This Mean?

Hard water contains minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which prevent the soap from creating suds and cleaning. The soap is binding with dissolved minerals in the water and forming a cloudy liquid that leaves behind a residue on your dishes, clothing, shower, faucet, hair, and skin. To compensate for this many detergents contain additives that allow the soap to make suds in hard water, but the harder the water, the more soap required. The best way to deal with hard water is to install a water softener to remove the unwanted minerals and provide a source of soft water that’s far easier to live with.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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