Depending on where you live you may or may not know that there are two different “types” of water. These two types, known simply as Hard Water and Soft Water, differ significantly in their chemical compositions.

Hard water, in particular, can be difficult to deal with and requires special consideration when it comes to your drinking, bathing, and cleaning habits. It is also fairly common, so soap and detergent manufacturers regularly formulate their products with hard water in mind. 

But what about those of us with soft water? Do we need special detergents? What is the best dishwasher detergent for soft water?

What Is The Best Dishwasher Detergent For Soft Water?

Since soap becomes more difficult to remove in soft water, you will want to use a dishwasher detergent that is as pure and additive-free as possible. These purer detergents will be better suited to water that is soft.

With that in mind, what dishwasher detergent should you get for soft water? Since soft water can be said to “enhance” the effectiveness of detergents and soaps, a little will go a long way and you can probably splurge on more expensive, higher-quality products.

Here are our top 3 soft water dishwasher detergents picks

Hard Water Vs. Soft Water

The relative hardness or softness of water is a measurement of the liquid’s concentration of various minerals and metals such as calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium sulfate.

Water that contains elevated concentrations is considered hard, while water that has low concentrations is considered soft water.

What Causes Water To Have Differing Hardness Levels?

The presence of these calcium and magnesium salts in water will fundamentally depend on the geological formations in which the water originated.

Hard Water Vs Soft Water

Groundwater that crosses rocky formations composed of calcium carbonates, such as limestone quarries, picks up large quantities of particulate matter that increases the water’s hardness.

On the other hand, groundwater that passes through aquifers with elevated silicate levels, such as granite quarries, produces soft water with very low concentrations of calcium and magnesium salts.

How Does The Hardness of Water Affect Our Day-to-Day life?

Both soft water and hard water are completely safe for human consumption. Hard water will sometimes have a distinct mineral taste, but it will not pose any significant health risks.

People who receive soft water will most likely not notice any difference. However, water hardness levels do affect us in ways that are not immediately apparent.

For example, places where the water supply has an elevated hardness level suffer from excessive formation of limescale. This hard, chalky deposit will gradually build up inside piping, boilers, tanks, and other surfaces that regularly come into contact with hard water, such as bath and kitchen fixtures, glasses, and dishes. Ultimately, hard water can shorten the lifespan of certain appliances like your dishwashing machine, water heater, and washer.

How Does Soap Work With Hard And Soft Water

One of the most characteristic and telling side effects of varying water hardness levels is the way they interact with soap.

How Does Soap Work With Hard And Soft Water?How Does Soap Work With Hard And Soft Water?

This happens because soap is made up of molecules with one water-repellent “tail” and one water-soluble “head”. Through complex chemical processes, when a soap molecule comes into contact with water, these branches shift alignment and form a special type of particle called a micelle.

These particles are characterized by having all water-soluble heads turned inward, and all the water-repellent tails facing outward; this specific shape is what allows soap molecules to so efficiently isolate and encapsulate dirt and grease.

When hard water comes into contact with soap, the various calcium and magnesium ions begin to associate with the heads and tails of the soapy molecules and the micelles break down or fail to form. As such, hard water mixed with soap forms significantly reduced quantities of foam and works less efficiently.

On the other hand, too-soft water can have the opposite effect. Since micelles are able to form freely, you may find that soap is much more difficult to wash out of Soft water.

This, of course, means that you should consider your water supply’s hardness level when choosing your household’s soap and detergents.

Last update on 2024-07-15 at 04:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API