8 Major Difference Between Hard Water And Soft Water

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone, chalk or gypsum which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates.

Generally, hard water contains essential minerals; it is sometimes the preferred drinking water, not only because of the health benefit, but also the flavor. Hard water is to blame for dingy looking clothes, dishes with spots and residue and bathtubs with lots of film and soap scum.

Soap in hard water is less effective due to its reaction with magnesium and calcium, even lather is not as rich and bubbly, so you need to use more. Even hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull.

Hard water makes your appliances work harder to accomplish the same tasks. As mineral deposits build up in your water heater, it takes more energy to heat up the water for everyday tasks.

What You Need To Know About Hard Water

  • It contains a significant amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
  • It is not suitable for washing, bathing etc.
  • It can have harmful effect on skin. Hard water leaches moisture from your skin, triggering eczema and other skin conditions.
  • It affects the efficiency of dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters etc.
  • Examples include groundwater like deep wells.
  • It is sometimes preferred for drinking.
  • Leaves spots on the washed dishes after they are dried.
  • It does not produce sediments at the bottom of water heater and other similar appliances.

What Is Soft Water?

Soft water is surface water that contains low concentrations of ions and in particular is low in ions of calcium and magnesium. Soft water naturally occurs where rainfall and the drainage basin of rivers are formed of hard, impervious and calcium-poor rocks.  Water can be naturally soft, like rain water or it can be chemically softened to remove calcium and magnesium.

Soft water tastes salty and is sometimes not suitable for drinking. Hard water can be softened by being flushed through a salt solution that exchanges the calcium and magnesium ions for salt ions. The result is softened water that contains salt ions. Naturally soft rain water or distilled water may contain no mineral at all.

What You Need To Know About Soft Water

  • It contains low amounts of dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium but contains sodium ions.
  • It is good for washing, bathing etc.
  • It does not harm the skin.
  • It does not affect the efficiency of dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters etc.
  • Examples include rainwater, distilled water etc.
  • Mostly not preferred for drinking as it may taste salty.
  • Does not leave any spots on dishes after they are dried.
  • It produces sediments at the bottom of water heaters and similar appliances.

Difference Between Hard water And Soft water In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON HARD WATER SOFT WATER
Content It contains a significant amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium.   It contains low amounts of dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium but contains sodium ions.  
Suitability It is not suitable for washing, bathing etc.   It is good for washing, bathing etc.  
Effect on Skin It can have harmful effect on skin. Hard water leaches moisture from your skin, triggering eczema and other skin conditions.   It does not harm the skin.  
Effect on Home Appliances It affects the efficiency of dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters etc.   It does not affect the efficiency of dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters etc.  
Examples Examples include groundwater like deep wells.   Examples include rainwater, distilled water etc.  
Drinking It is sometimes preferred for drinking.   Mostly not preferred for drinking as it may taste salty.  
Effect On Dishes Leaves spots on the washed dishes after they are dried.   Does not leave any spots on dishes after they are dried.  
Effect on water heater It does not produce sediments at the bottom of water heater and other similar appliances.   It produces sediments at the bottom of water heaters and similar appliances.