What do I need to add to my laundry detergent for hard water?
Credit: Glow Images, Inc Glow Getty Images
Q:

What do I need to add to my laundry detergent for hard water?

A:

Quick Answer

To soften hard water, a water conditioner should be added to laundry. A water softening system that attaches to the building's water lines is also helpful.

Know More

Full Answer

The term hard water is used to describe water that contains calcium and magnesium ions. These ions can lower the effectiveness of laundry detergent when washing clothing and linens. Water softeners and conditioners can change the chemical components of hard water, allowing laundry detergent to work more effectively.

Water conditioners can be purchased in retail outlets such as grocery stores or online. These conditioners are added to the washing machine along with the laundry detergent. Borax crystals, also known as sodium borate, can be added to a load of laundry to soften hard water as well. Some commercial laundry detergents developed specifically for hard water systems contain borax. The sodium contained in borax crystals counteracts the calcium and magnesium.

Another option is to install a water softening system and connect it to the water lines, thereby softening hard water throughout the building. These systems work by replacing calcium and magnesium with sodium. However, this will add sodium to the entire water supply to the building, which means that water coming from the sink that's used for drinking and cooking will contain sodium. For this reason, it's best to check with a doctor if someone in the home is on a low-sodium diet. Water softening systems are usually sold in home improvement stores.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does laundry detergent work?

    A:

    Laundry detergents work by lowering the surface tension of water, improving its ability to dissolve stains from clothing. Detergents emulsify dirt so it drains with the wash water instead of redepositing on the clothes in the machine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who makes laundry detergent tablets?

    A:

    Most brands of laundry detergent are available in packet, tablet or pod form, including Arm & Hammer, Seventh Generation (which is eco-friendly), Tide, Gain, Purex, Swift, Salvo and Dropps. Tablets are filled with enough soap for one load of laundry, and they disintegrate in either hot or cold water.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the best laundry detergent?

    A:

    The 2013 tests from Consumer Reports list Wisk Deep Clean as the best detergent, while Good Housekeeping's 2012 test names Ultra Tide as the best. The runner-ups in each test were Costco's Kirkland Signature and Gain Dazzle & Shine, respectively.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What can I use if I ran out of laundry detergent?

    A:

    Regular liquid dish soap can be used in place of laundry detergent. A much smaller amount of the liquid dish soap is needed for a load of laundry than the recommeneded volume for detergent.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore