Soft Water: How to Adapt to Life with a Water Softener
It’s Monday morning, and the alarm rings, and you get up and jump in the shower before heading off to work. You grab for the shampoo and it slips out of your hands onto your big toe. Ouch! As you hold your foot in pain, you remember you just installed a water softener over the weekend. This new and improved water quality must be making things too slippery! It’s true. Soft water is often described as “slippery,” but if you’ve lived with hard water most of your life, your new-found soft water may not be the reason you’re struggling to get a grip on your body wash.
Having a hard time handling soap in the shower/bath is a very common occurrence with people who have recently installed a water softener into their home for the first time. It can leave you with a slippery-when-wet feeling you are not accustomed to just yet. Soft water is an upgrade most of us would love to have but there are a few things you may need to adjust from your day-to-day life if you are only used to having hard water in your home.
Effects of Hard Water Bathing
Excessive amounts of dissolved minerals, like calcium and magnesium, in your water is commonly known as hard water. Bathing with hard water tends to have a “heavier” feel on your skin and is more abrasive than soft water. If you can’t tell whether or not you have hard water just by the feeling you get in the shower, another telltale sign is if the white residue is leftover on your drain and plumbing fixtures after the water dries up. These deposits are also sometimes called limescale buildup.
When you hop in the tub or shower, chemicals in soap react with the hard minerals in your water causing it to curdle, which leaves you with a soap scum that is not easy to scrub off. This leftover residue on your skin will clog your pores which aid in drying out your skin. You may also notice a “squeaky clean” feeling after a shower using hard water. The truth is, you are actually feeling the remnants of soap scum on your skin causing this feeling.
Because the first thing the soap does is latch on to the hard minerals to form the soap scum curd, you need to use more soap every time in order to have any leftovers to make any suds to wash your hair. Studies show that depending on how hard your water is, you could be using two to three times as much soap to get a decent lather.
How do Water Softeners Work Anyway?
To successfully counter those effects of hard water, you will need a water softener. A water softener uses a process known as ion exchange to make your water “soft.” To put it simply, this process allows for various ions to be removed and changed based on their natural charge (positive/negative). An example of this as it applies to hard water would be when positively charged hard water minerals, like calcium and magnesium, are put through the water softener, they interact with the negatively charged resin beads inside the tank. The resin media grabs those hard-water minerals out of the water like a magnet, leaving you with soft water. Once the resin can no longer hold onto calcium and magnesium, sodium chloride (salt) from the brine tank is added to the media tank through regeneration. By regenerating, the sodium chloride kicks off the calcium and magnesium minerals as it washes through the resin. Once this process is through and the remaining salt is washed away, the resin is ready to take on more hard water minerals. With those minerals removed, your soap no longer has to cling to their particles and can instead focus on building up a nice sudsy lather immediately.
Bathing with Soft Water
Use Less Soap: Hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium make us accustomed to using a certain amount of soap. You may have the “perfect amount” of soap needed to wash your hands or shower that you’ve gotten used to over the years. The truth is, if you have recently installed a new water softener, you will no longer have those hard water minerals affecting the effectiveness of your soap. Typically using, 1/3 to ½ of the amount of soap you usually use is adequate with soft water. Using the exact large amounts you’re used to is probably the cause of why everything is so slippery! Most detergents, shampoos, and soaps will put their coating on everything they touch, so if you’re using too much, it may be hard to handle objects while they’re wet.
Make DIY Soap at Home: Store-bought soaps and shampoos can contain synthetic materials, perfumes, and water-softening agents to counteract hard water problems. Water softening agents won’t be necessary with a new water softener. Making your soap or buying a natural product can be a great solution to counteract excessive suds and slipperiness. Plus, you will know precisely what you are putting on your body!
Understand the Benefits: The most significant benefit is realizing that when bathing with soft water, you will notice a difference in your hair and skin over time. The lack of hardness minerals will leave your skin moisturized and healthy, and you will also see your hair will rinse cleaner much easier than in the past. Even though it may take some getting used to, the benefits of soft water far outweigh the minor downsides.
If life with a water softener is new to you, don’t worry! Your local Evolve dealer is a water expert who will answer all your water treatment inquiries. If you still have questions about your home’s soft water or are still wondering, “How do water softeners work again?” after reading this blog, reach out to an Evolve dealer today!