When water first falls as rain, it is soft. However, as it goes through the ground system and pipes, it becomes hard due to the minerals that it picks up along the process. In a decent water supply, hard water does not need to be softened and is safe for washing and drinking. However, some cities will often soften water to make it better for cleaning and cloth washing.
There are vital differences between hard and soft water. You may wonder which is safer, which is better for you and your family to drink. There are pros and cons to each kind of water. It typically will depend on where you live: Seattle has soft water, while much of Ohio has notoriously hard water. Regardless of your circumstances, you should know the difference between both.
The critical difference between hard and soft water is minerals that it contains. Hard water contains several minerals from the pathway that it takes to get to your home faucet. These minerals include calcium and magnesium, which can transfer into the water from contact with soil and rocks. When minerals are blended into the water, it can more easily wash soap from your body during a bath or shower. It is said to be one of the critical benefits of hard water; you often feel cleaner than if you had showered in soft water, which leaves the opposite feeling.
Soft water, of course, does not contain this amount of minerals. It is processed with potassium and sodium to get rid of the harsh minerals. Soft water is easy to use on pipes, appliances, and tea kettles. However, it does not look as right out of the tap as hard water (which can taste like mineral water) and often feels slightly salty from the mineral-erasing process. One benefit of soft water is that it is better to clean with than hard water because it lacks these minerals.
As far as which is safer to drink, the consensus is that hard water is the preferred drinking water, as it contains essential minerals such as calcium. However, some areas do have water supplies that carry more metal than others, and this can have a significant impact on whether the public can drink this water. Soft water, though, is sometimes not safe to drink.
Many times, the hard vs. soft water explanation is not taste versus cleaning ability. Most people have to use the water in their area, regardless of its mineral content. Some significant brands of soap work on making products that help better clean clothes that need to be washed in hard water.