How to Soften Water Without a Water Softener

How to Soften Water Without a Water Softener: 4 Effective Methods

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Since soft water can be hard to come by, different water companies supply hard water to various homes. But managing the hard water from your water supply can be quite hectic.

For starters, hard water has a funny and bizarre taste. You have to drink bottled water if you have hard water in your household. Hard water can also cause scale buildup on different appliances in your home. Not to mention, doing laundry with hard water can be pretty cumbersome.

While an ion exchange water softener (ion exchanger) can help you get rid of all the minerals present in hard water, high-quality water softeners are pretty expensive.

However, there are other water softener alternatives that you can use to remove salts from hard water.

In this article, we will show you how to soften water without a water softener.

Two Types of Hard Water

Before we dive deeper into the nitty-gritty part, let’s first go through the different types of water hardness. It will guide you as you are softening water.

Temporary hard water– Temporary hard water has bicarbonate elements that dissolve easily in water. Some of the minerals found in temporary hard water are calcium bicarbonate and magnesium bicarbonate. Getting rid of such components can be quite easy.

Permanent hard water– Permanent hard water might have sulfate, nitrate, and chloride minerals. Breaking down such minerals is quite hectic. However, with the right tools, you can get rid of those minerals. Both types of hard water have calcium and magnesium ions that form soluble salts.

How Do You Know if the Water From Your Mains System Is Hard or Not?

Change of Water Flow

If the water flow rate decreases drastically, you might be using hard water in your home. Hard water deposits limescale particles as it flows through different pipes. Limescale deposits might block some points, affecting the water flow rate.

A Spike in Your Household Energy Bills

Hard water has soluble minerals that might build up around the heating elements of different heating systems. Hard water also leaves salt sediments on the interior compartments of heating devices.

Scale-build up affects heating appliances and decreases the overall performance of such systems. For instance, a heating device cannot warm water effectively if mineral deposits around the heating element. Due to this, most heating systems use a lot of energy and power to warm water, increasing the overall energy bills.

Soap Doesn’t Lather

It is one of the easiest ways to know whether you are using hard water or not.

Laundry chores become harder because soap won’t lather quite quickly with water to form any bubbles that show you if the soap is effective or not.

Soap is made from sodium salts that cause a chemical reaction with hard water to generates soap scum. Moreover, hard water increases soap usage. To get effective results, you have to use large amounts of soap.

Skin Irritation

Bathing with water that contains minerals can cause skin irritation and affect your skin health. Some of the minerals might dry up on your skin, making your skin look dry. Not to mention, such minerals might block your pores and affect your skin health.

Besides that, some of the salts found in hard water might dry out on your scalp and cause hair irritation. Your hair might not get all the health nourishments if the pores are clogged up with minerals/salts.

Testing the Water Hardness Level That Is Present In Your House

You have to do a test that will show you whether your tap water is hard or not.

Pour some tap water into a clear bottle. You can fill it partially or fill it halfway based on your preferences. However, don’t fill it fully.

After that, pour some drops of liquid soap into the bottle. Close the bottle, then shake it for a certain period (2-4 minutes). If the water lathers easily with the liquid soap to form some bubbles, it is soft water or softened water.

On the other hand, if the water doesn’t form bubbles, then it is hard water. Apart from that, you might also notice some white spots on your boiling and cooking appliances.

Ways to Soften Water Without a Water Softener

Here are various water softening methods and softening systems that will get rid of minerals from different amounts of water:

Method 1: Boil Temporary Hard Water to Get Rid Of All the Mineral Present In That Water

Temporary hard water has minerals that can be broken down easily by heat. The bicarbonate ion found in temporary hard water can be decomposed into different compounds in the water softening process.

If you heat temporary hard water with magnesium bicarbonate, the mineral will be broken down into three different components. It will decompose and give you calcium carbonate, carbon dioxide, and water.

Since magnesium carbonate doesn’t dissolve in water, you get salt-free water after boiling the temporary hard water.

It is the most affordable way of getting rid of soluble calcium and magnesium salts present in temporary water.

Once you finish boiling temporary hard water, let the hot water sit for a certain period until it cools off completely.

After that, pour the top layer of salt-free water into another container, then get rid of the insoluble calcium and magnesium salts deposited on the bottom part of the boiling container.

Also, boiling hard water lets you know whether your water has temporary hardness or permanent hardness. If you don’t see any deposits after boiling water, the water might have permanent hardness.

You can run another test to test to see if you have soft water or hard water in your whole house.

Method 2: Use Washing Soda to Get Rid Of Water Hardness

Unlike the boiling method, washing soda can get rid of permanent and temporary hardness to give you salt-free water. You can use this softening method to soften washing water and save your laundry appliances from scale buildup. For instance, if you are using a washing machine, this might be a suitable solution for you.

Washing soda contains sodium carbonate and can react with the soluble salts to get rid of the hardness property of water.

The carbonate ion displaces other ions and reacts with magnesium and calcium ions to form an insoluble mineral. After the ion exchange process, hard water loses its hardness property and becomes soft. While this method effectively eliminates temporary and permanent hardness, it cannot be used to soften drinking water or cooking water from your water supply.

Method 3: White Vinegar Is Effective In Softening Hard Water

White vinegar contains different components that can be used to soften hard water. Not to mention, it makes it easier for you to clean different surfaces and clothes with softened water.

Unlike other types of vinegar, white vinegar doesn’t leave any stains on clothes. This property makes it ideal for cleaning different surfaces and devices. It can also help wash away the white spots that are brought by the hard water scale. Such spots can make a place look untidy and unkempt. However, white vinegar is quite effective in getting rid of such spots, making it easier to restore your home to its original state.

White vinegar has a specific acid that dissolves some of the scale particles formed by hard water.

Method 4: Water Conditioner

A water conditioner is a unique device that gets rid of some of the hard water components and reduces the effects of hard water on your pipes and appliances. For instance, it gets rid of the salt particles that might be deposited on pipes. There are also some water conditioners that are quite easy to maintain. Unlike water softeners, some water conditioners do not require different types of salts to function effectively. Not to mention, most conditioners are more affordable to purchase than water softeners.

While this hard water treatment device gets rid of minerals, it might retain some of the minerals that might benefit your health. Due to this, a conditioner has some properties that are not present in water softeners.

Soften Water With Simple Methods

Well, there are different methods on how to soften water without a water softener. While some methods might not be as effective in removing ions from hard water as a water softener, they will reduce the effects of hard water on heating systems and laundry equipment.

However, if you want to get rid of all the ions and minerals, a water softener might be suitable for doing that. It has superb ion-exchange functionality that will help you get a salt free system. If you want to enjoy healthy minerals without being affected by harsh effects, a conditioner might be suitable for you.

Water filters such as reverse osmosis filters might be confused with water softeners. However, most filters are used in the water purification process.

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