Hard water is potable water that contains magnesium and calcium particles. These minerals enter the water in areas with large amounts of limestone, chalk or gypsum, which are predominantly made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates. Limescale is the deposit of these minerals on surfaces in regular contact with water, such as tiles, taps, and inside kettles. What
- A four-person family can create up to 70kgs of limescale per year
- 40% of the Cape Town lives in areas considered to have moderately soft to slightly hard water.
- The ‘hardness’ of water is measured by milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter of water. “Very hard” is more than 200 mg / l of calcium carbonate whereas Cape Town averages 40-50 mg/l
Problems with Hard water
Hard water is not harmful to drink, and the added calcium and magnesium can supplement your daily intake if you are willing to put up with the unpleasant taste.
However, it is tough on hair and skin, drying it out and clogging pores. Hard water does not dissolve and washes away soap properly, meaning you might not get as squeaky cleaned as desired. Hard water also prevents soap from turning into foam. Water filters added to your taps help soften the water and remove the minerals to get a more satisfying soapy shower. Filtered water is also more pleasant to drink.
A simple Solution
A simple way to clean limescale from your surfaces is a solution of white vinegar and lemon juice left on the tiles or sink for a minute or two, which can then be wiped away taking the limescale with it. To remove it from your kettle, add the solution to some water in the kettle, boil it, and empty it all out. It is important to note that a professional approach is needed for older plumbing pipes that can have a large build-up of limescale.
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