Hard Water Myths: Busted

Finish Hard Water

Hard water serves more than 60% of homes in the UK[1], yet many are misinformed about how hard water works, what it contains and how you are affected by it. Here we’ve taken a look at some of the myths, 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 evidence has shown it can be somewhat beneficial[[2]]. The World Health Organization says that "there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans". In the United States the National Research Council has proved that the appearance of calcium and magnesium in hard water means that they could serve as small dietary supplements[[3]]

Myth 2 - Minerals in Water Are Contaminants

There are some myths to do with hard water being full of unhealthy contaminants, but this is purely a myth. Hard water contains compounds – calcium and magnesium specifically. These aren’t the same as water contaminants – disinfectants, micro-organisms and inorganic chemicals.

Myth 3 – Water Softeners Purify Water

Somewhat related to myth two, it’s important to know that while minerals themselves are not contaminants, equally water softeners do not purify water. Water softeners are designed to remove, or reduce, hard water conditions on water with 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. These can be taken care of 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 cause is the accumulation of deposits on the surface of the glass, which can make it look streaky. This marks are easy to avoid however, all you need to do is use Finish Rinse Aid which helps prevent minerals from settling on the glass, to help glasses come out sparkling.

Myth 5 – Hard Water ruins Kettles

Although hard water does contain the elements that produce calcium carbonate scale (or fur), it is not the case that this will increase the time it takes to boil water. If you are worried about the effects of scaling on your kettle then half fill the kettle with water and add two tablespoons of white vinegar. Once added, leave 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.cambridge-water.co.uk/customers/water-hardness

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

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