hard water buildup on shower head



Hard water in your shower or bath isn’t getting you as clean as you should. Here’s why…


The dissolved minerals calcium and magnesium are what make the water in your home hard. Those minerals also create an undesirable chemical reaction with your soap, shampoo, and body wash as well as shaving cream. What happens is the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water react with fatty acids in soap to form insoluble lime soaps (incapable of dissolving), which are ineffective at cleaning. If you were paying attention during Chemistry class (& you have a photographic, elephant-like memory), here’s the chemical equation:

2 C17H35COONa+ + Ca2+ → (C17H35COO)2Ca + 2 Na+

In this chemical reaction, positively-charged calcium ions replace sodium ions in your shampoo or soap leaving scum and lime scale deposits on your skin and in your hair. If you have hard water, the same disgusting soap scum you’re scrubbing in the tub is on your body too.  The best way to know if you’re dealing with hard water problems in the shower is to look at how well you’re lathering up. Hard water prevents you from getting a nice soapy lather in the shower. When you have soft water, it’s much easier to produce a foamy lather from your soap and shampoo.

Water Softener for hard water in


After installing a water softener in their home, some people notice their skin feels slick and even slippery after bathing. Part of this may be due to people not being accustomed to how truly-clean skin feels and may also be in the habit of using too much soap. Soft water cuts down quite a bit on the amount of soap, laundry detergent and other cleaners needed to effectively clean. We have stories from people that put in the same amount of laundry detergent as in the past prior to their newly softened water and ended up with soap suds all over the place. You will actually save some money as you can definitely use quite a bit less per activity.


hard water on your hair

Have you ever noticed how your hair can look and feel different when you shower in different places? Your hair behaves one way after showering at the gym, turns out another way when you’re vacationing or staying in a hotel, and looks completely different when you wash your hair at home. That’s most likely because the hardness of the water varies from location to location. If you have hard water at home, your hair may feel dry all the time and become frizzy making it tangled and difficult to manage. It may also have a dull, lifeless appearance. That’s because those minerals and deposits build up in your hair.

With a water softener in your home, those hard water issues are eliminated. You will find that your hair has a more-attractive shine when you shower in softened water. And soft water will make your hair more manageable, so it’s easier for you to style it the way you want. Sometimes people with finer hair complain that soft water can make their hair feel flat or even greasy. This is probably because you’re using too much soap and not rinsing it out of the hair completely. Rinsing your hair in the shower for a little longer may solve that problem.


hard water on skin

Hard water can give you skin troubles too. The calcium salts that build up in your scalp can cause dryness and flaking, AKA dandruff. You might assume it’s the shampoo you buy causing dandruff or something else, but hard water may be the real culprit. Hard water can make the rest of your skin feel dry and itchy as well due to the soapy residue left on your body, which clogs pores. Plus, the minerals in hard water can suck moisture right out of your skin leaving it even more dry and irritated. Other studies have indicated hard water may cause additional aggravation in people with skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. See the link at dermatology site DermaHarmony.com. Even washing clothes in hard water can be problematic to those with sensitive skin. Hard water can leave soap residue on your laundry too, and that residue is in contact with your skin all day long. If you have sensitive skin, the soft water a softener provides could be very beneficial to you.


Hard water in Essex

Damaging hard water scale build-up-in pipes

Hard water can cause other problems in your home other than difficulty in cleaning.  Mineral build-up inside a hot water heater can shorten its life by insulating the temperature sensor, thereby making the equipment work harder to bring temperature up.  Scale build up can also reduce the pipe opening diameter through which the water heater pulls water from.  This makes the water heater worker much harder also and reduces its useful life.  Mineral build up can also negatively affect other water appliances in your home like your dishwasher and washing machine as well.


To determine the level of hardness in your home’s water, either a site visit water test can be conducted at your home or a sample can be brought to a laboratory.  Once the hardness level is determined and an estimate of water usage is projected, the right size and type of water softener can be recommended to provide your home with consistently soft, conditioned water.

Water Softeners

H2O Care, Inc. is an established, regional water testing and filtration service organization, started in 1989.  Offices are located in Middleton and Hudson, Massachusetts with a service depot in Plymouth, MA.  Our published articles can be seen by linking into our publications section of our website at the link: Publications.  We can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling us at 800-539-1100.