Using Soft Water Will Stretch Your Detergent Dollar

Many homeowners may already be aware of the numerous benefits that can be enjoyed by having soft water in their homes, such as cleaner dishes, smoother feeling skin and a reduction in scale buildup. One of the lesser known benefits is how soft water can improve your cleaning experience and lower your costs at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at how soft water can reduce your energy usage and the amount of detergent needed to perform thorough cleaning. Using Soft Water Will Stretch Your Detergent Dollar

What is Hard Water?

Groundwater collects minerals as it flows down through layers of sand and rock. These minerals may include calcium and magnesium which will make your water hard. Approximately 89.3% of America homes are supplied with hard water and using hard water can cost hundreds of dollars annually in wasted energy and superfluous cleaning products.

The Real Costs of Using Hard Water

An average family will spend around $500 each year on cleaning products and lowering this bill is easier than you may imagine. A recent study was carried out by The Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) to compare how the hardness of water affected differing doses of dishwasher and laundry detergent. They also looked at the water temperature and how it plays a key role in efficiently cleaning dishes and clothes.

Stain Free Laundry with Soft Water

Five leading laundry detergents were used for this study, and nine different tough stains were used to test the results, they included coffee, grass, blood, red wine, dust sebum, chocolate pudding and ice cream, barbecue sauce, and ground in clay. Testing was carried out to determine how much detergent was needed and what temperature was required to penetrate stained fabrics and clean them.

The experiments were carried out using both top loading and front loading machines. When the fabrics were washed in soft water, they only required 50% of the detergent compared to hard water washing. The study also discovered that all nine stains could be removed in water temperatures of 60°F compared to the 100°F needed to achieve those same cleaning results with hard water. This means that an average household spending $100 on detergent could save $50 by switching to soft water. The reduction in laundry temperature will also lower energy bills, and the cleaning effectiveness is not affected.

Washing in Softer Water is More Effective

The experiments looked at three determining factors to get the perfect wash; they included water softness, water temperature, and the detergent dose. It was found that water softness had the greatest impact on stain removal. In fact, soft water proved to be 100 times more effective in stain removal when compared to raising the laundry temperature or adding greater doses of detergent. This was replicated in front loading and top loading machine and on high efficiency models.

A local water treatment professional will be able to advise you on your local water conditions and viable treatment solutions. There are many different water softening treatments available to remove the hardness from your water supply.

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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