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Water Hardness

Cleaning Tasks
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Numerous studies have been made of laundering with both soaps and synthetic detergents by universities and laundry product manufacturers. The table below from one of these studies shows the concentrations of soaps and synthetic detergents (synclets) recommended for maximum soil removal.

SOAPSYDNET
Water Hardness (gpg)% Conc. for Max Soil RemovalOz. Advoir per 15 Gal. Washer2% Conc. for Max Soil RemovalOz. Advoir per 15 Gal. Washer2
0-20.15-.0203-40.25-.0305-6
7-100.25-0.305-60.30-0.356-7
20-300.40-0.508-100.40-0.508-10

Soil removal in soft water is significantly higher than in hard water no matter how much soap or detergent is used. In one study conducted by an independent laboratory, soil removal ranged from 50% to 250% greater with soap, depending upon the concentration. With detergents and soft water, the soil removal was 30% to 50% greater than with hard water, again depending on the concentration of detergent used. Unremoved soil causes the graying of white fabrics, and the loss of brightness in colors.

As the deposits accumulate with repeated laundering, they also contribute to the stiffening and matting of the fabric fibers. A study made by the Chicago Y.M.C.A. Laundry showed that the life of cottons and linens is reduced significantly by laundering in hard water. In this test, bed sheets, pillow slips, bath towels and napkins washed in ion exchange softened water lasted from 15% to 39% longer than those washed in water with 71/2 to 8 grains of hardness.

Hard water also adds substantially to the other cleaning tasks in the home-thering around the bathtub, the spotting of glassware, chromium and sinks. On the other hand, softened water makes all cleaning tasks easier. A quick rinse or once-over wiping eliminates spots and stains on plumbing fixtures, sinks, floors, windows and woodwork. A study at Ohio State University showed that softened water cut the time required for housecleaning from almost four hours to two hours and 21 minutes - a savings of over 10 eight-hour working days per year. Scale formation when hard water is heated is one cause of water heater failure. As a form of rock from which the hardness was originally dissolved, hard water scale is a poor conductor of heat. Thus the heat is not transmitted to the water as rapidly as it is applied, and the temperature of the metal builds up, leading to possible premature failure. Since so much heat is lost in this process, wasted fuel adds to the costs of hard water.

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Hard Water Scale in Plumbing