Hard Water vs. Soft Water: Which One Is Healthier

Hard Water vs.

Soft Water: What’s the Difference?

The difference between hard and soft water is not just about taste or smell, but it has other important aspects like health effects. Hard water is a type of water with high mineral content which may cause some health problems if consumed regularly. A person who drinks too much hard water will experience headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are caused by excess minerals in the water.

Soft Water: Causes less Symptoms than Hard Water:

Soft water does not have any harmful effect on human body when consumed regularly. However, it may cause some unpleasant side effects such as headaches, stomach upset, diarrhea and even skin irritation due to excessive sweating.

When drinking soft water, one should avoid using mouthwash or brushing teeth immediately after drinking it. Drinking too much soft water can lead to dehydration.

How to Tell If Your Tap Water Has Hard or Soft Water:

There are various ways to distinguish between hard and soft water. There are many types of tests that can be used to determine whether your tap water contains hard or soft water.

Some of these methods include:

Water Testing Method #1 – Carbon Dioxide Test: This method involves testing the carbon dioxide level in the water before and after consumption. This process can be repeated several times to avoid any sort of error.

After the water is consumed, bubbles should begin to form on the sides of the glass.

Water Testing Method #2 – Clarity Test: This method involves testing the clarity of water before and after consumption. The color of the water should become lighter after being consumed.

This test should be carried out several times in order to ensure accurate results.

Water Testing Method #3 – Hot Plate Test: This test is carried out by heating water over a hot plate for a few minutes. If the water forms bubbles, your tap water is considered to be hard.

If the water does not form any bubbles, it means that your tap water is soft.

Hard Water vs Soft Water – Which One Is More Common?

Hard water is more common than soft water. The reason behind this is that soft water cannot be found naturally. It is essential to install a water softening system in your house if you want to get rid of the hard water effects.

Hard Water vs Soft Water: Which One Is Better For Your Hair?

Excess use of hard water can lead to problems such as itchy scalp and dandruff. However, there is no evidence that suggests that hard water can lead to damaged hair in the long term. Soft water can also lead to itchy scalp and dandruff.

Where Hard Water Is More Common:

Hard water is very common in industrial areas where chemicals are used for cleaning purposes. These areas include factories, plants, oil rigs, mines and even hospitals.

These places have high levels of calcium and magnesium in the water supply.

Where Soft Water Is Common:

Soft water is common in rural areas where there is no industry or factory nearby. Some islands and isolated places have soft water as well.

Home Purification Systems:

There are various techniques used for purifying hard water. Some of these techniques work better than the others depending on the region, level of hardness and the person’s taste.

Some methods used to purify hard water include:

Water Filters:

This is a common method used for making tap water more palatable. Commonly available filters reduce the amount of chlorine, rust and other suspended particles in water.

However, they cannot do anything about the calcium and magnesium salts in hard water.

Boiler Systems:

This is a common method used in households that have fireplaces. In this method, the tap water is first passed through a softening system.

Once this is done, it flows into a storage tank placed above the fireplace. The temperature of the water is then reduced using air vents that are placed at the bottom of the tank. As the water temperature reduces, it turns to vapor and gets released into the room. This technique is commonly used in old houses that do not have filters or water dispensers.


This is a method employed to purify both hard and soft water. This method involves heating up the water until it evaporates.

After this, the water vapors get condensed once again to get purified water.

Reverse Osmosis:

This method is commonly used in the medical industry. It involves putting water under high pressure to filter out dissolved minerals.

This method is not used at homes because of the cost involved and the large amount of water needed for the process.


This involves passing tap water through a series of ion exchangers to remove calcium and magnesium from it. However, this method cannot completely eliminate all the dissolved minerals from water.

Sources & references used in this article:

Clinical and biochemical indicators of cardiovascular disease among men living in hard and soft water areas by FW Stitt, DG Clayton, MD Crawford, JN Morris – The Lancet, 1973 – Elsevier

Sudden death and ischemic heart disease: correlation with hardness of local water supply by TW Anderson, WH Le Riche… – New England Journal of …, 1969 – Mass Medical Soc

Toxicity bioassay of heavy metals in water using Tetrahymena pyriformis by JW Carter, IL Cameron – Water Research, 1973 – Elsevier

Which Type of Water Is Recommended for Patients with Stone Disease (Hard or Soft Water, Tap or Bottled Water): Evidence from a Systematic Review over the Last 3 … by SK Sulaiman, J Enakshee, O Traxer… – Current Urology Reports, 2020 – Springer