Hard water contains high dissolved minerals, especially calcium, and magnesium. When used for showering, hard water can cause dryness and irritation to your skin by stripping away natural oils, leading to issues like eczema. It can also cause buildup on your hair, making it dull, dry, and difficult to manage while accelerating color fading in dyed hair.
Around 85% of the USA has hard water. Hence, it is important to know how to save yourself from the drawbacks of using hard water for showering or bathing.
Many people ask if a shower filter can help remove hard water. Let’s find out.
Can a Shower Head Filter Remove Hard Water?
A shower filter can help mitigate some of the negative effects of hard water on your skin and hair. It can remove some of the chlorine and other contaminants and reduce the concentration of certain minerals, making the water less harsh. However, a whole-house water softening system would be more efficient to fully soften hard water by effectively removing or neutralizing the high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
What is the best way to Remove Water Hardness?
The most effective way to remove hardness from water is through ion exchange, which water softeners utilize. These devices replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions, which cause water hardness.
A water softening system typically comprises a mineral tank and a brine tank. As the hard water flows through the mineral tank, the hard ions are exchanged with soft ions, softening the water. Periodically, the system regenerates, using a solution of salt and water from the brine tank to recharge the mineral tank.
Types of Water Softeners
Salt-Based Ion Exchange Softeners
This softener uses sodium or potassium ions to replace hard water ions (calcium and magnesium). They have two tanks; one holds special resin beads and the other brine. It’s the most common type used for whole-house water softening.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
Rather than removing hard water minerals, these devices use Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) or Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC) to change these minerals into a crystal structure that does not adhere to surfaces. It is a good option for people concerned about sodium intake.
Benefits of Bathing with Soft Water
Healthier and Softer Skin: Soft water doesn’t strip your skin of natural oils like hard water, thus keeping it moisturized and reducing dryness and irritation.
Glossier Hair: Soft water helps maintain the natural oils of your hair, keeping it shiny, soft, and more manageable.
Better Soap Efficiency: Soap lathers better and is more effective in soft water, reducing the amount needed for bathing and cleaning.
Prevents Soap Scum: Soft water doesn’t leave behind mineral deposits on your skin, bathtub, or shower fixtures, seen as soap scum or scale in hard water areas.
Preserves Bathroom Fixtures: Soft water is less damaging to bathroom fixtures and fittings, prolonging their lifespan.
How to Choose the Best Shower Filter for Hard Water?
Type of Filter: Consider whether you need a shower head or an inline filter. A shower head filter replaces your shower head, while an inline filter attaches between the shower head and the water pipe, allowing you to keep your current shower head.
Filtering Technology: Look for a filter that uses multi-stage filtration, combining several filters such as activated carbon and KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion). This ensures a broad range of contaminants are removed.
Capacity: Consider the life of the filter before it needs replacing. Some filters may last 6 months or longer, depending on your water hardness and usage.
Certifications: Look for products certified by relevant organizations like NSF International or the Water Quality Association, which validate the filter’s performance.
Appearance: The look of the filter matters, too, especially for shower head filters. It should match your bathroom’s aesthetic. Ensure it’s a design and finish that complements your existing fixtures.
Price: Ensure the filter fits your budget, but consider the ongoing cost of replacement cartridges. Sometimes, a cheaper unit may have expensive cartridges, making it costlier in the long run.
Installation and Maintenance: The filter should be easy to install and maintain. Most shower filters can be installed without professional help. Replacement of cartridges should also be a straightforward process.