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Got Laundry Problems With Hard Water? Learn Why And How To Fix It

Many homes have problems with hard water from time to time. If you find yourself buying new clothes more often than you would like, you may have a hard water problem as well. This guide explains what hard water is, how it can affect your laundry and what to do to rectify the problem.

What Causes Hard Water

Hard water can occur anywhere from time to time. When there is a lot of calcium and magnesium in the ground water, they flow through the ground to the water supply. The minerals' next destination is through your water pipes, and then through your faucets and washing machine.

What Hard Water Does to Your Laundry

Hard water creates problems in the laundry that manifest themselves in various ways. If you notice any of these problems with your laundry, you may have a problem:

  • soil buildup
  • graying, yellowing or overall dinginess
  • dull colors
  • stiff fabric
  • tearing
  • streaks on colors

How to Fix Hard Water Laundry Problems

Help your washing machine keep your clothes looking their best in the future by softening hard water. First, test the water to see if it is actually hard. To do this, purchase a hard water test kit. Fill a glass with water and hold one of the strips from the kit into the water, according to the instructions on the package. Then compare the color of the strip to the chart that comes with the kit.

If the test strip's color indicates that you have hard water, you have a couple of options. Have a water softener hooked up to your main water supply line, or purchase a bottle of water conditioner. Add the water conditioner to your laundry according to the instructions on the bottle.

Removing Existing Hard Water Damage From Laundry

Gather the hard water-damaged clothing together and separate as you normally do, and then place it in the washing machine. Fill the machine with the hottest water possible, according to the laundry instructions for the clothing. As the washer is filling up, add about four times the amount of detergent that you normally would, along with about a cup of water conditioner. Hard water requires much more detergent to offset the minerals.

Allow the machine to agitate for just a couple of minutes and then leave the laundry in the machine overnight to soak.

Drain the machine the next morning, without allowing it to finish the cycle. Then wash the clothes with the regular amount of detergent and the water conditioner.

Use the conditioner instead of a water softener if you or family members have health issues that require salt limitations, because these machines use salt to soften the water throughout your system. Consult with a service like Appliance Service Co if the washing machine is still creating any of the problems listed above with your laundry.


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