The Differences of Hard and Soft Water

The most difficult objects to load in the dishwasher

We are all incredibly lucky that our lives are made so simple by the ample availability of water. We just need to turn the tap for water to come gushing out of it. But have you ever thought about the quality of water that comes out of your tap? No two glasses of water are exactly alike in composition and quality, but the main difference is seen in terms of water hardness or softness. This difference in hardness or softness shows itself by the effect that the water has on our household appliances, not least on the dishwasher. 

To help your understanding of this phenomenon, we have compiled together the following information that explains the phenomenon of hard water and how it affects your dishwashing technique and performance. We’ve also put together information on how you can prevent the negative effects of hard water. 

The Hard Facts

On the face of it, all water that is naturally procured via rain is soft in composition, since rainwater is naturally soft. This means that the only ion (an electrically charged atom) in the water is sodium. As the rainwater wends its way through the ground and into the various waterways that eventually lead the water to our taps, it becomes ‘hard’ in nature. The hardness occurs because the water picks up lots of dissolved minerals such as chalk, calcium, lime and magnesium along the way. It is a good thing that these minerals get added to the water, because they are beneficial for our health. But their presence certainly makes water harder – though hard water is better to taste and healthier for us, as well! 

Hard Times

Remember what we said earlier about hard water being comprised of many minerals. When this hard water passes through a dishwasher, the minerals in in accumulate and build up on the washer’s heating elements. This build-up is seen most commonly as lime scale. The lime scale lowers the washer’s cleaning abilities and also glom on to the dishes during the wash, thus making them look really bad with unsightly cloudy spots. This happens because the minerals get deposited and re-deposited on the dishes during the washing cycle.  

Softening the Blow

Finish has developed a number of different products to ensure that even if the area you live in has hard water, the water quality does not impact the dishwasher performance or ruin the look of your dishes, glassware and cutlery during the wash. This is what you should do with the following Finish products:

  • Start by ensuring that you keep your dishwasher topped up with Finish Dishwashing Salt. This salt softens the hard water without adding any impurities that could hamper the dishwasher or its washing performance.
  • Move on to using a Finish Rinse Aid to speed up the drying time of the washer. This ensures that no residues are left behind on the dishes, spoons and crockery when the water evaporates.
  • Last but never the least, make it a habit to use Finish Dishwasher Cleaner This product is a godsend for the dishwasher’s overall working ability. It disposes off the minerals that regularly build up on the machine’s vitals with regular hard water exposure. So the dishes come out cleaner and the washer does not suffer in any way.

Whatever the state of the water hardness, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t get perfectly clean dishes every time, if you follow the tips above.