How to Tell If You Have Hard Water

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Do you have hard water?  Here is an easy test to find out if you have hard water.

How to tell if you have hard water - a quick and simple test

Hard water affects many homes across the U.S.  It  can cause problems with mineral build up in your pipes and appliances and affect your dishes, laundry, hair and skin.

What is hard water? As rainwater passes through the earth and into other means of water, it picks up certain “hardness” materials that will precipitate and clog pipes, and may also damage your appliances.

In our last home, which was a rental, we had very hard water.  We didn’t realize it was hard water causing the problems, at first.

How to tell if you have hard water - a quick and simple test

I started noticing that our dishes never really seemed clean.  There was gross film that never seemed to go away.  At first, I thought it was our dishwasher detergent so I switched brands but it didn’t help.

Another thing I noticed was our shower seemed to have weak pressure.  I removed the end of the shower head to clean it and was surprised by the excessive mineral build up that I found.  After scrubbing it clean, the pressure in our shower increased dramatically.

After doing some quick research, we determined it was hard water.  We did this quick this quick test and confirmed our suspicions.

An Easy Test for Hard Water

Here’s a simple test for hard water:

  • Fill a clean, empty 16 oz water bottle with 1/2 cup of tap water.
  • Add 10 drops of liquid dish soap to the water.
  • Cap the bottle and vigorously shake it for about 30 seconds.
  • If the bottle immediately fills up with soap suds you most likely don’t have a hard water problem.
  • If the solution does not foam up quickly but creates a milky or soapy film, you most likely do have hard water.

Some more  tell-tale signs of hard water include:

  • Foggy dishes and glassware.  The abrasive minerals in hard water can cause stains and spots that won’t go away.
  • Mineral build up in your faucet filter.  Unscrew the tip of your faucet and look for mineral deposits.
  • The color of your clothes fades or changes after washing.  Whites may start to get a grayish tint and colors look faded and washed out.
  • Your hair feels dry and brittle.  The minerals in hard water may also make your scalp feel dry and flaky.
  • Your skin feels dry or you notice breakouts.  Hard water makes it difficult for soap to do its job so you may not be getting as clean as you think.

A Hard Water Solution

When we built our new house, we made sure to have our water tested.  Sure enough, our well water was hard.  There was no question.  We installed a water softener.

How to tell if you have hard water - a quick and simple test

The water softener has made a world of difference.  Our dishes and glasses come out perfectly clean – with no spots or fogginess.  Our clothes don’t fade as quickly.  But the biggest difference I noticed is my hair and skin.  They are no longer dry.

I was buying all kinds of special shampoos and soaps before we had the water softener installed.  Nothing seemed to help.  As soon as we started using the system, the problems cleared right up.How to tell if you have hard water - a quick and simple test

Our water softener is extremely easy to use.  All we need to do is add Morton Water Softening Salt to the tank when it gets low.  For our household, based on our water usage, it’s about once a month.

How to tell if you have hard water - a quick and simple test

I really like how easy it is to use Morton Water Softening Salt.  There’s a convenient handle for carrying the bags, and an easy open top which makes  loading the salt into the softener really simple.  Even I can do it.

Check out this informative here by Morton Salt to learn more about how water softeners work!

If you’re wondering if you have hard water, you can get a free water test strip here.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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