The Face-Off: Hard Water vs Soft Water


The gloves are off and the much anticipated battle is about to begin.

Proudly promoted by with your host Chris Strano.

The fight will be contested over 6 grueling rounds.

In the Red corner, hailing predominately from the corridor of North Dakota, down to Texas and right across to California, weighing in with severely increased levels of calcium, magnesium and other minerals…….


and in the Blue corner, covering almost the complete East Side of the USA, as well as much of the North West Coast, largely uncontaminated and straight from the heavens (or at least artificially softened)……


Hard Water vs Soft Water

Round 1 – Drinking

Hard water arguably contains a good source of minerals, which have been replaced in the water softening process or were not present (rain water). Many people will also say that Hard Water has a more desirable taste than Soft Water because of the minerals and being less salty.

Artificially softened water (using the ion-exchange technique) can be detrimental to the health of those on a low-salt diet.

Not much for fans of soft water to cheer about in the drinking category.

Judges score the round Hard Water – 2 Soft Water – 0

Round 2 – Plumbing

Th impact that Hard Water on plumbing is one of the main reasons people will purchase a water softener. Hard Water causes a build up of scale and calcification. This results in clogged or fouled plumbing, which ultimately reduces it’s lifespan.

Furthermore, this build up  of deposits causes consequent insulation of piping – reducing heating efficiency and potential overheating.

A below the belt shot on plumbing by Hard Water.

Judges score the round Soft Water – 2 Hard Water – 0

Round 3 – Showering

People who have grown up with Hard Water will tell you that they prefer the after-shower feel of Hard Water of Soft Water. This is because Soft Water tends to leave the skin feeling slimy, due to the natural oils produced by your body. So, despite actually being cleaner, Hard Water can make some people feel dirtier.

Apart from that Soft Water reacts better with soaps and allows the soap to easily lather.

There are a number of issues with Hard Water. One is that there is evidence it encourages eczema in children due to the drying out of the skin. In fact, Hard Water affects the body in a number of ways:

  • Leaves skin and hair dry, rough and itchy
  • Knotting is hair is much more probable
  • Causes hair dyes and perms to fade faster

No clean punches from Hard Water in the Shower

A flurry of jabs from Soft Water has seen the judges score the round Soft Water – 3 Hard Water 1

Round 4 – Cost

This is an interesting one. The reason I say this is because a whole house water softener system will range in price anywhere from $500 -$1,200. Here is a guide to the best water softener’s on the market. My point is that it can cost a decent chunk of money to convert Hard Water to Soft Water. The cost of Hard Water? Well, assuming you live in a region that consists of hard water (which is probably why you’re reading this)… then there is no cost!

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. While there may not be an intial cost to install a water converter or conditioner, the impact that Hard Water has on your plumbing and household appliances is more than likely going to cost you significanlty more than a water softening system. Not to mention the heating inefficiencies caused by Hard Water – increasing your power bill.

There are costs associated regardless of which way you go. So, why not have the benefits of Soft Water for the same (if not lower) long term cost of Hard Water?

This round again goes to Soft Water – 2 Hard Water – 1

Round 5 – Washing

Alright, we’ve discussed washing the body, but what about clothes?

The simple fact is that Soft Water gives fabrics a much softer feel. In fact, many detergents include softeners to reduce the Hard Water feel. Hard Water will also cause clothes and linen to wear out faster due to the high mineral content.

Easy one for the judges Soft Water – 1 Hard Water – 0

Round 6 – Residue

I would like to say that Hard Water was going to make a comeback in the final round to make this bout interesting. Unfortunately things are just getting uglier.

The dissolved minerals in Hard Water causes a production of Calcium Stearate via its interation with the Sodium and Potassium compounds in soaps (Sodium Stearate). Unlike Sodium Stearate, Calcium Stearate does not dissolve in water. This causes residue to be left behind, such as soap scum in the shower.

You will even notice thin films or spots on your cutlery and glassware after doing the dishes.

Hard Water stains are also one of the main reasons people purchase water softeners. It can mean the difference between cleaning the soap scum from your shower once every two weeks to once every six months.

Round 6 goes to Soft Water – 3 Hard Water – 0

It looks like the judges have voted unanimously



How did you see the bout? Did the judges score fairly? Would you have scored differently?