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In a Nutshell, hard water is water that contains dissolved minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium. Soft water, is purer in the sense that it does not contain other elements. Water softeners and chemical processes are available to make hard water soft, but it is worth doing?
Hard Water is often the preferred drinking water. This is due to it containing useful minerals such as calcium which strengthens bones and magnesium which can relieve muscle aches among other benefits. It is said to be the most natural form of water. Soft water on the other hand is treated with chemicals to remove minerals which makes it more volatile. Therefore, it is likely to pick up other elements on the way to your tap. This can include lead in some households where lead pipes are still in use. Lead is poisonous.
The presence of minerals in hard water can make cleaning a tough job. Hard water is known to leave a dull colour and sometimes spots to clothes. it also does not react well with soap which is why soap does not lather too well when used with hard water. Soft water, on the other hand, can leave clothes and appliances squeaky clean
One problem with hard water, is that it often leaves behind a precipitate known as lime scale. This is dark solid which is often deposited on the inside of appliances. You may see this first-hand by opening your kettle and having a look inside. See the black stuff? Now lime scale can sometimes cause appliances to malfunction which is why various treatment methods are available. This can increase the cost of maintenance on household appliances.
You may wish to investigate what kind of water is coming out of your tap. This is because the two states of H20 can have different effects on your life as discussed above. Generally, in the UK, if you live in the south, you probably have hard water and vice-versa with some exceptions. See the water map at https://www.harpic.co.uk/interactive-map.
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