2 Ways to How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water

The hard water residue

If your plumbing system and kitchen utensils are showing some strange signs that you can link to the tap water, it is time to look into this issue. This is likely due to the hard water your tap is giving you.

Hard water means water with an abnormally high count of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and iron. Well, this is not the issue with the tap, but it is the regional issue.

how do i know if i have hard waterThe geographical aspects such as thick limestone layers are usually responsible; while passing through them to reach the water treatment center, the groundwater carries the minerals on its way. According to water-rightgroup.com, 85% of the U.S. homes get hard water, with the average hardness being ‘tough’ (13 grains per gallon).

So, do you wish to know whether your home is getting hard water or not? If that is what is passing through your pipes and faucets, it could result in a myriad of problems.

Well, looking for these telltale signs, this is the simplest way to know whether you are getting hard water or not. Read on to know all such methods.

Way 1: Looking for Common Signs

The traces of different minerals can make water unpleasant for drinking as well as inapt for household plumbing. It leaves the following marks or signs:

  • Dishes with chalky spots in the form of left-behind traces of soap, as mineral-rich hard water is likely to make it tough to rinse away detergent and soap and detergent
  • Soap scums on the surfaces of tubs, shower curtains, and tiles, as soap sticks to them; especially look around these shower areas
  • Dull, rough, scratchy, or stiff laundry clothes, as hard water makes it tough to remove laundry detergent from your clothes
  • White scales on faucets and showers
  • White spots or etches on the surface of glassware
  • Difficulty in having lather with regular soap and even in rinsing it away when under the shower
  • Dry and itchy skin, as the soapy film is left behind by the hard water in the shower
  • Sour or metallic taste due to a few minerals present in hard water that otherwise have health benefits
  • Damage to appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, and ice makers in the refrigerators due to the accumulation of mineral deposits

The occurrence of one or more of these signs indicates that the tap water is hard. Hard water can clog plumbing mechanisms, leave soap scum to make cleaning tough, and cause appliances to wear out.

Although the water is treated before it reaches your taps, it does not mean that those minerals are removed. Thus, even if these signs are not present, it is sensible to find out whether the tap water is hard or not. For that, you need to perform the next method.

Way 2: Performing a Simple DIY Test

It is a fact that hard water makes soap less effective. Keeping this impact in mind, this simple test involves you to arrange for pure liquid detergent and a clear glass jug or bottle. Follow these steps to perform this test:

  1. Take an empty transparent container such as a plastic bottle or a clean glass that has an airtight cap to close. Ensure that the container is clean.
  2. Fill one-third of the container with water from your tap.
  3. Next, add ten drops of pure liquid soap to the water in the container. It is best to use pure liquid soap. Soaps labeled as detergents are not recommended, as they are made using additives. These additives are likely to distort the test results. Castile soap is fine to apply for this test, as it is free of perfumes and dyes and is made using a few ingredients.
  4. Now, close the container with the cap and shake it vigorously for a minimum of 10 seconds. This will mix the water and soap to make bubbles.
  5. Next, look for suds and water clarity. If the top of the container shows the right amount of suds and the water beneath is nice and clear, then the tap is giving soft water. On the contrary, if there are not many suds and the water appears to be cloudy, it indicates the presence of hard water.

The minerals in hard water prevent soap from forming suds as well as cleaning anything effectively. This is because the latter gets bound to the dissolved minerals, which then forms a cloudy liquid and leaves residue on your skin, hair, clothes, dishes, and shower.

The additives in a detergent deviate this result by forming good suds in hard water. This is why it was said not to use it.

You may continue to add more soap to proceed to know how hard the water is. The more soap you put into making bubbles, the harder the tap water is. It also means you are using more detergent than usual to clean your clothes and home.

If you put 30 drops to get the bubbles, it means the water is moderately hard. Putting 40+ drops indicates hard water while using 50+ drops means very hard water.

Another way to check for hard water is to look for soap scum. For this, focus on the water to see whether it is cloudy or not. Hard water will look cloudy and leaves little to no foam on the top of the water.

While this DIY test for hard water is easy to perform at home, it is not completely precise. There is no way to find a certain hardness level of your water. Further, you cannot deny that many other factors tend to affect the quality of water.


The ways, as mentioned above, to know whether you have hard water or not are worth a try if you do not want to call a professional plumber. However, calling a plumber is essential to resolve this issue by softening hard water. To know whether the tap water is hard or not, look for its signs on plumbing systems like what we wrote on a water softener systems review or mix water with pure liquid soap to see the bubbles.

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