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What is hard water? Do I have hard water?
“Hard water” may sound like a scary term, but it really just means your water has more “dissolved calcium and magnesium,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). To know if you have hard water, you may have to consult an expert in your area, but the USGS has a helpful map of water hardness in the US that you can check out here.
Some signs that you may have hard water
- Mineral build up in appliances that use water
- Clogged faucets or shower heads
- A slimy feeling after washing your hands
What does it mean if I have hard water?
Often referred to as “lime,” the minerals in hard water can build up and cause problems plumbing as well as appliances in your home. They can also cause problems with plumbing fixtures, such as shower heads and aerators.
What can I do about hard water?
You’ll have to consult the appropriate professional when it comes to protecting your appliances or plumbing from hard water, but we have some handy tips for your aerators and shower heads!
Faucet aerators and hard water
- Aerators behave a bit like filters in that minerals in your water can clog them over time. It’s smart to periodically remove aerators and clean them out. Soaking the aerator in vinegar can help remove stubborn sediment (just remember to wash out that vinegar before you put the aerator back!).I
- Just like with filters, it’s also smart to replace aerators occasionally. If you have hard water, you may want to consider a Smart Lime Care Aerator, easy to clean aerators designed for hard water. We offer many Neoperl Smart Lime Care aerators.
- Not sure how to replace and remove an aerator? Don’t worry, we have a handy faucet aerator guide. Videos included!
Shower heads and hard water
- Shower heads, like aerator, can get clogged by sediment over time. You can try to clean out shower heads, but depending on the shower head, it may be trickier than cleaning an aerator, as shower heads sometimes have more places for sediment to hide.
- Like with aerators, soaking a shower head in vinegar may help (again, make sure you wash out that vinegar before replacing the shower head!). Careful: because shower heads can be harder to clean out, you may not want to try the vinegar approach.
- You may want to check out our easy to clean out Spray Clean Shower Heads, available in many different styles and designed for hard water. If you have a Spray Clean Shower Head, you can clear out sediment by pressing the blue jets with your hand.
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