Hard Water Myths: Busted

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Hard water comes through the pipes in more than 60% of homes in the country. And yet, many of us are unaware of what hard water actually is, how it works, what it contains and how it affects you. Here we’ve taken a look at some of the myths about hard water, and debunked them with real facts.

Myth 1 – Hard Water is Harmful to your Health

You may have heard before that hard water can have damaging health effects, but scientific evidence says otherwise. In fact, hard water may actually be somewhat beneficial to health. The World Health Organization says that "there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans"[1]. In the United States the National Research Council has proved that the appearance of calcium and magnesium in hard water could actually mean that it can be used in lieu of a small dietary supplement[2].

Myth 2 - Minerals in Water Are Contaminants

There are some myths that say hard water is full of unhealthy contaminants, but this is just a myth with hardly any credence. Hard water contains a few compounds, specifically calcium and magnesium. These aren’t the same as water contaminants, which come via disinfectants, micro-organisms and inorganic chemicals.

Myth 3 – Water Softeners Purify Water

Somewhat related to myth #2 outlined above, it is important to know that while minerals themselves are not contaminants, water softeners also do not purify water. Water softeners are designed to remove, or reduce, the compounds that create hard water conditions or water that has a high calcium content. Their sole purpose is to collect minerals from the water. This means they will not take care of chemicals, sediment or even micro-organisms, so the question of purification does not arise. The contaminants can be removed through proper filtration, or even a carbon filter system.

Myth 4 – Hard Water will Cause Cloudiness in Glasses

While it’s true that hard water can affect your glasses, it doesn’t cause cloudiness (which is irreversible damage to the glass). What it does is cause the accumulation of deposits on the surface of the glass, which can make it look streaky or dull. These marks are easy to avoid however, if you use Finish Rinse Aid which stops these minerals from settling on the glass, to make sure it comes out sparkling.

Myth 5 – Hard Water ruins Kettles

Although hard water does contain a few elements that produce calcium carbonate scale (or fur), it does not mean that hard water will increase the time it takes to boil water. If you are worried about the effects of scaling on your kettle, then fill half the kettle with water and add two tablespoons of white vinegar to it. Once added, set aside for four hours. Once this time is over, you can empty the kettle and clear off loosened scale. Rinse, and repeat (if necessary).

[1] http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/en/hardness.pdf

[2] http://www.water-research.net/hardness.htm