You Need to Wash Differently If You Have Hard Water
During a recent bathroom renovation, my boyfriend had to turn off his water softener and it did us more damage than we expected. In particular, showering and washing clothes were much more difficult, as hard water produces “suds” that are difficult to wash off . We opted for a quick shower with poor foaming, but what can be done to keep clothes soft and free of marks?
There are several tricks for washing clothes if you don’t have a water softener, from fighting crunch to preventing stains and marks on clothes.
Add Vinegar to Hard Water Wash
Hard water is simply water that contains more minerals, especially dissolved calcium and magnesium. To keep your clothes soft, you must do your best to neutralize these minerals, and this is where vinegar comes in.
Add half a cup to a cup of white distilled vinegar on your last rinse, Well + Good suggests . To get rid of hard water deposits between washes, run an empty load with hot water and one to three cups of vinegar every few weeks, says washing machine manufacturer Speed Queen . Our period without a water softener wasn’t long enough to cause lasting damage to clothes, but after adding half a cup of vinegar to our loads at the time, we noticed that things were as soft and no residue as usual. do when the softener is on and running.
While researching how to wash our clothes in hard water, we also came across suggestions to soak fabrics in vinegar for a few hours before washing. In fact, no one does this; just add a little product to the rinse cycle. However, if you have washed clothes in hard water for a long time, you may notice that some of the items have faded or faded. If so, Well + Good says that an overnight soak in a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar can help restore their former brightness.
(According to Speed Queen, if you don’t have vinegar, a half-cup of laundry borax added to your load will do the same.)
Add laundry soda
As an alternative to vinegar, try washing soda, a powder you can order online or make your own. Preheat the oven to 425-450 degrees Fahrenheit, sprinkle two or three cups of baking soda on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour, stirring after 30 minutes. When the hour is up, your powder should look “flatter” or grainier than it was when it came in. Pour it into an airtight container. Add half a cup the next time you load laundry to fight minerals in the water.
Choose your detergent wisely
Some laundry detergents are designed for use with hard water. As Better Homes and Gardens points out, you should look for one with a low pH. Bonus points if you find a vinegar cleanser in the formula, like 9 Elements Liquid Laundry Detergent . In general, try to use liquid detergents instead of powder detergents, as they are more resistant to hard water.