Hard Water & Why It Makes Cleaning Harder

Hard water is a real problem, especially when it comes to commercial and industrial use. It’ll wreak havoc on your cleaning system and will make it harder to clean. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, hard water is found in about 85 percent of the United States.

Here’s what you need to know — and how you can test for hard water:

The Cause
When someone says their water is hard, they’re referring to the presence of calcium and magnesium carbonate in the water, the origin of which is typically related to geological characteristics of the water’s source. Generally, water that’s high in dissolved calcium and magnesium has run over limestone.

Water is considered soft or only slightly hard when there are fewer than 3 grains of dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonate per gallon of water. Water that contains more than 3.5 grains or more of these dissolved chemicals per gallon of water is considered moderately hard.

The Effect
In a nutshell, hard water makes cleaning products less effective.

Hard water doesn’t mix well with detergent, which means it doesn’t create sudsy, soapy lather as well as soft water. That’s because the soap reacts with the calcium and magnesium carbonate in the hard water to form a chemical salt, resulting in a greyish soap scum but no lather.

When you’re done cleaning, hard water won’t rinse soap away cleanly. You’ll use more water and detergent on the job and will be left with an inferior result.

In addition, hard water will leave a buildup of scaly deposits inside hoses, fittings, and heating coils. When inside a heating coil, for example, the buildup reduces the flow of water and minimizes the heat exchange, dramatically reducing the life of the coil.

The Fix
If you’re served by a municipal water company, call the city’s offices and ask about any tests they’ve conducted for hard water. The municipality may use a process called “lime soda process” to soften the water. If not, and if your water is hard, there are small-scale solutions for small businesses that work much like residential water softeners. If you’re a larger business or large-scale commercial or industrial facility, there are a variety of companies that will be able to help you soften your water.

Need it? We’ve got it. DSG Equipment & Supplies can test your water for hardness. And if you’ve got hard water, we’ve got a line of detergents with exclusive Hotsy Continuous Clean additives. Knowing your water quality and using the right detergents will prevent buildup associated with hard water and keep your pressure washer working better, longer. Trust us. We know clean.