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How does water hardness affect your laundry?

If you live in a hard water area, you may notice a difference in the way that you have to do your laundry. But, how exactly does water hardness affect your laundry?

  • What is hard water?
  • How can I test water hardness?
  • How does water hardness affect laundry?
  • How to do laundry in hard water areas

What is hard water

Hard water is natural water that has a high mineral content. As water travels it picks up minerals from the rocks and soil it comes into contact with. Minerals that can be found in water include calcium and magnesium. In contrast, soft water only contains a small amount of these minerals.

How can I test water hardness? 

If you are unsure if you live in a hard water area, there are several signs to look out for. These include:

  • Spots or a filmy layer on your dishes.
  • Soap and shampoo not lathering.
  • Limescale on faucets, drains, and shower heads. 
  • You have dry, itchy skin.
  • Your clothes are stiff when they dry.

If you have noticed any of these signs, you can do a hard water test. 

Begin by filling a clean bottle with three quarters of water from your tap and add a few drops of liquid soap. Make sure that the lid of your bottle is secured. Next, shake the bottle vigorously for a few seconds. Once you have stopped shaking and the water has settled observe. If the water is cloudy looking without bubbles your water is hard, whereas lots of bubbles on top with clear water underneath indicates soft water.

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

How does water hardness affect laundry?

As a result of the minerals found in hard water, it can stop your laundry detergent from being fully effective. This can lead to:

  • Whites coming out with a grey or yellow hue. 
  • Your clothing coming out stiff and harsh.
  • Soil build-up in your clothes. 
  • White or grey streaks on your dark or coloured clothing
  • Weakening fibers so clothing tears are more likely.

How to do laundry in hard water areas?

The key thing to remember when doing laundry is that all laundry detergents can be used regardless of water hardness. If you do live in a hard water area you will need to use more laundry detergent than in soft water areas. This will help soften the material of your clothing so that the detergent can work on cleaning your clothes. As your clothes soften in the wash, it will help release any built-up dirt and minerals from previous washes. 

If you do live in a hard water area these are the doses you need to use:

Normal soiled clothing requires 1 pod, or 55 ml of liquid, or 130 g of powder. 

Heavily soiled clothing requires 2 pods, or 75 ml of liquid, or 180 g of powder. 

One wash load of clothes requires 2 pods, 75 ml of liquid, or 165 g of powder. 

The easiest way to look after your clothing if you live in a hard water area is to use Laundryheap. We will take the utmost care whilst dry cleaning your clothes, and re-deliver them back to you in pristine condition.

To book your Laundryheap service head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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When should you use fabric softener?

Fabric softener can be a very useful addition to your laundry routine, but it shouldn’t be used all the time. So, when should you use fabric softener?

  • What is fabric softener?
  • When do I add fabric softener?
  • Hard water areas
  • Bed linen
  • Keep clothes looking new 
  • Sensitive skin 
  • Clothes likely to bobble

What is fabric softener?

Before answering the question of when you should use fabric softener, we need to first understand what it is. To begin with, as the name implies, fabric softener softens your clothing and leaves it smelling fresh. Asides from this, it will strengthen the fabric of your clothing, therefore making your clothes easier to iron. 

When do I add fabric softener?

Many people believe that fabric softener should be added to your washing at the same time as detergent. This is incorrect. You should add your fabric softener during your rinse cycle. Adding softener during a wash cycle will remove the chemical residue that makes your clothing soft, therefore making it ineffective. 

Photo by Sher Lyn from Pexels

Fabric softener should be used for the following situations.

Hard water areas 

If you live in a hard water area, you may notice that your clothing comes out of the washing machine feeling rough. This is because the mineral content in hard water is high and attaches to the fibres in your clothing, making the fabric stiffer than in soft water areas. Adding fabric softener to your wash can remove some of those harsh minerals, resulting in softer clothing. 

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Bed linen 

Everybody loves crisp, soft, clean-smelling sheets. When washing your bed linen, add some fabric softener. The next time you get into bed you will be met with soft sheets and a heavenly smell that will make it even harder for you to get out of bed. 

Photo by Harry Page from Pexels

Keep clothes looking new 

It’s awful when you put your favourite jumper in the wash and it comes out unravelled and with a hole in it. Fabric softener smooths the fibres in your clothing, reducing the friction caused when washing, and therefore reducing wear and tear. Adding a small amount of fabric softener to your washing can prevent the loss of your favourite clothing, and keep your clothes looking newer for longer. 

Sensitive skin  

For those that suffer from sensitive skin, be careful with the fabric softener that you buy. Some softeners are perfumed and can, therefore, cause additional irritation. That being said, if you buy a sensitive skin friendly fabric softener, it can eliminate irritation caused by rough clothing rubbing against your skin. 

Image by NIAID

Clothes likely to bobble 

Bobbles on clothing can really damage the aesthetic of your favourite look. They occur when friction causes the fibres on the surface of your clothing to rub together, resulting in small, irritating, balls of loose fabric. Fabric softener strengthens the fibres in your clothing, preventing bobbling from occurring. Now, you can strut down the street in your best outfit, completely bobble free. 

If you’re still not sure when to use your fabric softener, leave it to us. Book your contactless delivery slot on the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app.