What is hard water and what can I do about it?

By Martin Driver 20 Apr 2018

This guide explains everything you need to know about hard water.

We cover what it is, how to find out if you’re affected, and explains what you can do about it.

What is hard water?


Hard water has a higher mineral content than usual. It occurs in areas where the water filters through limestone and chalk before reaching the reservoir.

What is hard water?: IMG 1

The minerals found in hard water are usually calcium and magnesium.

Is hard water safe?


Hard water is entirely safe to drink and bathe in. The only thing you might notice is your skin gets drier than normal if you’re not used to it.

If you live in a hard water area, your body will be used to it. If you’ve just moved to one, your body will adapt to it in no time.

What are the effects?


While it’s safe, hard water can cause a few problems around the house. Typically, it leaves calcium or chalk deposits behind in kettles, appliances, pipes, and on clothes.

Gross shower head

However, it’s easy to stop the deposits from building up.

What can I do about hard water?


While you can’t do anything about getting hard water through your pipes, there are a few things you can do to make it easier to live with:

Water filter

  • Use a water filter for drinking & cooking. The filter will remove any deposits and give you perfectly clear water that won’t ruin your kettle or pots. Some fridges have filtered water dispensers too, which are worth considering if you’re redoing the kitchen.
  • If you drink a lot of tea or coffee, try a kettle with a built-in filter. One of these will improve the taste of your drinks and stop bits of calcified mineral from appearing at the bottom of your cup.
  • A coffee or hot drinks machine will filter out the minerals too.
  • Use water softener in your laundry loads and dishwasher. It’s widely available from supermarkets in hard water areas.
  • Clean your bathroom and kitchen with special hard water cleaners. Like water softeners, hard water cleaning products are easy to get hold of and specifically target the deposits left behind. Make sure you clean your showerhead, taps, and inside of your washing machine.
  • Move to the Scottish Highlands - they have the softest water in the whole of the UK.

How do I tell if I’m in a hard water area?


If you’re getting hard white residue in your kettle, cups, or sink, then you’re most likely in a hard water area. You’ll probably find more limescale around the showerhead and taps too.

However, if you’re unsure, these water companies deal with hard water. Click the links to find out the water quality in your area:

Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know about hard water.

If there’s anything you want to find out, ask us on Facebook or Twitter. If you want to speak to someone over the phone, you can find all of our numbers on our contact page.  

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