What is Hard Water? Its Advantages and Disadvantages

The scarcity of water has always been an issue in India. Without adequately treating the hard water, one cannot consume it. Though some advantages are linked with hard water, if it crosses the ideal limit, the hard water is also dangerous for health.

What is hard water?

When dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium are present in the water at high levels, then it is called hard water. The hard water is naturally formed as the water passes through limestone rocks in the river. These limestone rocks are rich in magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. Usually, the calcium and magnesium levels in hard water range from 120-180ppm. Anything above 180ppm is considered to be very hard water.

Types of hard water

Two types of hard water are classified currently, temporary and permanent. Lets under both of them in detail

Temporary hard water

When bicarbonate minerals like calcium bicarbonate and magnesium bicarbonate dissolve in water, it is called temporary hard water. They create a lot of cations of magnesium and calcium, along with bicarbonate and carbonate anions. Temporary hard water can be treated by either adding lime or boiling the water.

Permanent hard water

Due to the presence of magnesium chloride/sulfate or calcium chloride/sulfate, water becomes permanent hard water. Unlike temporary hard water, you cannot treat the hardness of permanent hard water with boiling. You can only treat the hardness of permanent hard water by using water softeners.

What are the signs of hard water?

Dry and itchy skin: When you take a shower with hard water, soap deposits are left on your skin. These soap particles suck out the moisture from your skin and make it drier. It creates symptoms like eczema.

Clogged pipe: Hard water creates scales in the pipelines. These scales pile up and later create clogs in the pipes and showerheads. These clogged pipes hinder water flow and make it tough to use the showers.

Faded laundry: The impact of detergent and soap is completely nullified because of the hard water. The hard water will not make the cleaning look finished. The residue of the soaps and detergent will fade out the colors of your clothes. If your clothes become stiff after multiple washes, it is a clear indication that you are washing them in hard water.

Earlier wear out of appliances: The life span of the appliances reduces when they use hard water for daily cleaning purposes. The scales will be deposited on the walls of the appliances, thereby reducing their performance.

Soap scum buildup: Have you ever noticed that scums are building up on soaps and detergents? It is due to the presence of hard water. The calcium deposits will leave these scums on the kitchen faucets, soaps, and detergents.

Advantages of hard water

Better Taste: Hard water has a good taste compared to soft water. When you drink soft water, you notice that it is tasteless.

Constipation and Digestion: Manganese and Calcium mixture can reduce the constipation problem. Excess fat and bile present in your system are removed through bowel movements when the calcium combines with them.

Better Bone Health: As hard water is rich in magnesium and calcium, it helps improve bone health and teeth health.

Disadvantages of hard water

Skin: Your skin becomes dry and itchy if you take a shower with hard water. The soap residues stick to the skin and suck out the moisture from your skin.

Bad Hair: When you take a shower under hard water, the hair’s health gets damaged. Your scalp becomes dry and rough. The excess minerals stick to your hair and make it more frizzy when you wash your hair.

Stains: Due to hard water, soaps and detergents will produce scum instead of lather. It, in turn, will fade the colors of the clothes. Even the tiles and fittings in your bathroom will have stains on them due to the calcium deposits.


Hard water poses a serious issue when used for daily residential and industrial needs. It damages the house appliances’ condition and severely impacts the health of hair and skin.

Faqs Related to Hard Water

Is hard water safe to drink?

If the ideal TDS water level at your home is less than 300 mg/l, it is considered safe to drink. Also, ensure that the minerals in the hard water are within the permissible limit.

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