These days, many of the foods and drinks we get at the grocery come fortified with vitamins and minerals. From breakfast cereal to eggs, these staples come packed with things like iron, calcium, and iodine, which help with common nutrient deficiencies.

However, there’s one beverage you don’t want to be fortified: your home’s water! Around 85% of the country has this mineral-rich “hard water,” and it’s especially common in California.

Extra minerals in your water can cause lime buildups around faucets, excess soap scum in your shower, and irritated skin. It may even force you to call a plumbing contractor for appliance issues, repiping services, limescale in your water heater, and more.

If you have hard water in your Hanford home, finding ways to address it can save your household a lot of headaches. Here’s what you should know about dealing with this common complaint.

Identify Hard Water

First, are you sure you have hard water?

You can buy a test kit, or you can do a quick DIY test at home with a clear glass or plastic water bottle with a cap. Fill a third of the bottle with water from the tap. Add a few drops of dish detergent, shake the bottle, and let it rest.

With soft water, soapy bubbles will fill much of the bottle. With hard water, you may only have a thin layer of foam. The water may also look hazy or pale.

Lower Your Water Temperature

Warmer water is more likely to cause mineral buildup and hard water stains.

Minerals separate more easily at higher temperatures, allowing them to clump together and create dense calcium buildups. This is why manufacturers often recommend setting your water heater’s temperature to no higher than 120 degrees. If you don’t mind using an even lower setting for your home’s water, this may be even better for your tank.

If your household has hard water, it’s even more important to perform basic plumbing maintenance on your water heater. Experts recommend flushing a water heater at least once every six months, but you should do this more often if you have harder water. Skipping this task can lead to plumbing leaks and even a premature tank failure.

If you don’t feel comfortable flushing your tank alone, find a local plumber who can help.

Use Vinegar for Cleaning

Most hard water is heavy with calcium. This mineral reacts with the chemical content of soap and shampoo to create a solid residue on drains, tiles, or showers. It may also build up on your hair or skin.

To deal with soap scum, grab some distilled vinegar from your pantry. The acidic makeup of vinegar helps to dissolve calcium deposits, and it also helps address bacteria, germs, and even mold.

Soak a cloth with warm vinegar and use it in your daily cleaning. To remove any lingering calcium scale on faucets, pour vinegar into a Ziploc bag and tie it over the faucet to let it sit for a while. You can also pour vinegar into a container and let any items with built-up soap scum soak.

You can also use vinegar to treat hard water issues in your appliances.

Running vinegar through your coffee maker, for example, can clean areas out of reach while keeping minerals out of your morning coffee. Adding some to the laundry in your washing machine can help remove any set-in deposits within.

Placing a bowl of white vinegar onto the top rack of your dishwasher can help as well, though you’ll also want to scrub the sprayer nozzles with vinegar by hand. Supplementing this with rinse aid in the dishwasher dispenser can also help combat hard water stains.

Buy Specialty Soap and Shampoo

Vinegar may be great at breaking down the residue of hard water, but you likely won’t want to use vinegar on yourself!

Instead, consider grabbing specialty soaps and shampoos that are formulated for hard water. Often called “clarifying” products, these products tackle your mineral buildups and revive lifeless hair and dry skin. You’ll also notice that they create more suds, unlike the soap you used in the DIY hard water test above.

Add Washing Soda to Your Laundry

Washing soda, not to be confused with baking soda, can help you tackle hard water in your laundry. This powder contains carbonic acid salt, or sodium carbonate, which can help remove calcium and magnesium in hard water.

This makes it easier for your laundry soaps to create a good lather, resulting in cleaner clothes without the mineral deposits.

Consider a Water Softener

The techniques above can help you deal with hard water, but you’ll have to put in a lot of regular effort. Cleaning soap scum, monitoring your plumbing and appliances, and buying special skincare products requires you to invest ongoing time and money!

Instead, consider getting a comprehensive water purification via a softener.

You can get water softeners for a single sink or faucet, or you can choose a whole-house device that tackles your hard water the second it reaches your main water supply line. While these solutions will cost more than the tips above, they’re permanent fixes that get rid of the problem throughout your home.

Getting a water softener is also the only way to prevent early appliance failures or the need for repiping services due to mineral buildups.

In addition to addressing water hardness, water purification can help remove impurities, contaminants, and harmful substances from your home’s water. Our team of expert plumbing contractors can help you find a system tailored to your household’s needs.

Call a Plumbing Contractor Today

Hard water can wreak havoc on the plumbing and appliances throughout your home, and dealing with it can be a nightmare. Though the steps above can help you stay afloat, you don’t have to address this issue alone!

A plumbing contractor from Comfort Now can help you get rid of hard water for good while addressing any issues this nuisance has caused. From new plumbing installation to water heater repair to drain cleaning, we tackle it all! To learn about our hard water solutions, contact us today at (559) 205-7928.