Water is called the universal solvent that is essential for all organisms to survive. It keeps the living organism hydrated. Water is colorless, odorless, transparent, tasteless exist gaseous, liquid, and solid states. It is used for household purposes, cooking, sanitation, industrial purposes, food preservation, and for many other purposes. Water contains different minerals such as magnesium calcium, sodium, etc.

It looks to be the same when you see water with the naked eye, but there are many differences in hard water and soft water if you check their effects of health and their chemical properties. Both hard and soft water has their own advantages and disadvantages depending upon their utilization.

2 Types of Water (Hard Water & Soft Water)

When it comes to underground reservoirs. It provides different minerals to the body that is not produced by the body it’s own. Based on the mineral contents in water it has two types.

  • Hard water
  • Soft water

Hard Water and Soft Water Differences

Hard water  Soft water
Contains high mineral contentsIt contains low mineral contents
Having calcium and magnesiumContains sodium ion
It has better taste than soft waterIt is taste less
It cause lime scale formation in pipesIt does not lime scale formation
It does not form lather with soapIt form lather with soap

Hard Water

Hard water contains a high concentration of dissolved polyvalent minerals more commonly calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+). Other mineral presents in hard water are aluminum, barium, iron, manganese, strontium, and zinc.

Sometime bicarbonates and sulfates also present in the water. These dissolved metallic ions come in water from sedimentary rocks, seepage, and runoff from soils. It is resistant to soap and requires more soap to produce lather.

It produces a deposit of white precipitate (scum).  The hardness of hard water is measured as milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter. Calcium-based hardness usually predominates because it presents up to 100 mg/l while magnesium is present in low concentration up to 50 mg/l

Hardness of water can be removed

  • Boiling
  • Clarks Method
  • Gan’s Permutit Method
  • Calgon’s Process
  • Ion Exchange Resin Method

Levels of Water hardness

60–120 mg/l containing calcium carbonate water        Moderately hard water  
120–180 mg/l, containing calcium carbonate water        Hard Water  
More than 180 mg/l, containing calcium carbonate water         Very hard Water

Types of Hard Water

Hardness of water is caused by the presence of cation such as carbonate

  1. Temporary hardness (Carbonate)
  2. Permanent hardness (Non Carbonate)
 Temporary hardness (Carbonate)

It is also known as carbonate hardness that is due to the presence of calcium and magnesium carbonates such as calcium hydrogen carbonate Ca(HCO3)2 and magnesium hydrogen carbonate Mg(HCO3)2 and bicarbonates. It can be removed either by heating (boiling the water) or by the addition of lime in the water.

Permanent hardness

It is due to the presence of calcium and magnesium nitrates, sulphates, and chlorides, etc. in water and it cannot be removed by boiling the water. The type of hardness can be removed by treating the water with washing soda.

Advantages of hard water

  1. Calcium present in hard water is good for teeth and bones
  2. Hard water reduces the risk of heart diseases
  3. Its taste is better than soft water due to the presence of minerals in it, also said that hard water is required to fulfill the minerals needed in the body
  4. Calcium and magnesium content in water helpful in digestion (digestive health) and Constipation.
  5. The limescale formation in pipes due to hard water prevent poison metal salt to be dissolved in water

Disadvantages of hard water

  1. Calcium magnesium based water also formed precipitation with the soap instead of lather formation and increased soap consumption.
  2. The scum produces due to hard water with soap cause stains on the clothes and dishes, utensils, bath tiles, glass, and bath fittings.
  3. It has a bad effect on skin and hair. Bathing with the hard water cause dryness of skin and hair and make the skin itchy.
  4. Reduces the life of appliances is also the cause of hard water.
  5. It causes lime scale formation in pipes and clogs the water line.

Soft Water

The water that contains a low concentration of ions in it is called soft water. The only ion present in soft water is sodium ion.  There is little or low concertation of calcium and magnesium contents in soft water. It makes lather with soap. The rainwater is an example of soft water. It is mostly used for household purposes. Water containing calcium carbonate at concentrations below 60 mg/l is considered soft water.

Advantages of Soft Water

  1. It makes more lather with soap so it is good for the easier cleaning of dishes and clothes.
  2. Soft water saves pipes from the clogs, thus it is better for plumbing.
  3. It increased the longevity of water-using appliances.
  4. Skin, hair, and health also affected by water, soft water helps to maintain good health, soft skin, and also Hair.  

Disadvantages of Soft Water

  • It is harmful for individuals that are sensitive to heightened salinity
  • Serious heart ailments and coronary diseases are found due to the soft water.
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Sana has just completed her MPhil in Microbiology. She loves reading books and the latest discoveries in sciences.

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