soft water versus hard water

What is the deal with this? I just moved from a crappy neighborhood that had very hard water. I liked the hard water, had it all my life, everywhere I lived.

The house I live in now has a water softener, which confounds me. Why would anyone purposely soften their water? It is impossible to rinse the soap, and when you do, you still feel slimy.

Why do people think soft water is better? Granted, hard water leaves its infamous hard water stains, but at least you can rinse! Whats the deal? What kind of water do y’all prefer?

Help me understand these crazy soft-water-lovers (yeah, they probably drink 1% milk instead of skim, too. ~gag~)!

If you’re conducting a poll as to which type of water people prefer, which is how I read your OP, this should have been posted to IMHO (as far as I understand it as a relative newbie myself).

Or are you asking specific questions about the chemical difference, or the softening process, or why your skin feels slimy?

When I lived in Salt Lake City the water was incredibly hard. When I moved into my apartment there were huge stalactites hanging from the faucets. I’m no longer impressed by all of those tour guides in the caves telling you how slowly those things form. I had to chip them off with my scout knife. I bought a lot of “Lime Away” (scented hydrochloric acid, basically) that summer. I enclosed the shower head in a plastic bag and filled it with Lime-Away until it was cleared up enough to work. I used thre bottles to wash the lime off my TUB!

You don’t want to know what I had to do to keep the water we used for cooling from fouling our high power lasers.

I’ll vote for “soft” water, any day.

Is it a rental property, or do you own it? If it’s your own house, you don’t have to have the water softener connected. Pay a plumber to take it out of the loop.

It’s also possible that it’s been charged with the wrong kind of pellets for its type, or too many, or something. Or that the controls for “how soft” have been tinkered with, or that the water flow has been changed so there isn’t enough water coming through to deal with the amount of pellets it has in it.


Hard water isn’t just a matter of visible water stains and stalactites on the shower head. It also does real damage inside appliances like washing machines and water heaters and Mr. Coffees. Be grateful for soft water, kiddo, and just rinse a little more.

BTW, the reason you feel slimy is that for the first time in your life, you’re actually clean! You don’t have all the mineral residue on your body causing friction, hence the slimy feel.

Carry on.

Good point, Smeghead!

Smeghead wrote:

Was this supposed to be sarcastic? The reason that I can’t stand soft water is that it’s impossible to rinse all the soap off of me in the shower. At least I thought it was soap - to me clean skin is squeaky. I imagine it’s like a rubber wet suit, which when oily or soapy will feel slick, but when clean is squeaky.

Not at all. Well, OK, saying you’ve never been clean before is a bit oversimplistic, but I was telling the truth. I know the feeling you’re talking about - it does feel like there’s more soap there, but that’s your skin all right. Keep in mind there’s still a layer of water on top, which will affect how it feels somewhat, but you are far cleaner than you were using hard water. Scout’s honor.

Because my town’s water supply is heavily mineralised, I going to add my two cents worth…

If you have been used to hard water for much of your life, you would be accustomed to using a certain amount of soup to achieve a desired result. Hence, you are also accustomed to using a certain amount of water to for adequate rinsing.
But when you switch to softer water, you don’t need as much soap to achieve the same quantity of suds.

Could it be that you are still using the same quantity of soap, detergent etc that was necessary in hard water. If so, you are then making more suds, hence you will need more water to rinse them off.

I’d kill to get a water softener! Alas, we live in an apartment, and the best we can do is put water filters on all of our faucets. Hasn’t made much of a difference as far as I can tell. The thing I hate about hard water is it makes my skin itch and my hair frizzy. And I’ve got to seriously scrub my tub and sinks every week instead of just giving them a wipe-down. I also have to descale my coffe maker, electric kettle and steamer every week, too. It really can gunk up the works. Our dishwasher has a compartment for “special salt” (do they call it that in America?) and we were warned to keep it filled, lest the dishwasher die.

Oh, and hard water tastes funny, too.