Soft Water and Hard Water W/ Re. to Soap

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by swingerofbirch, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    I moved to Williamsburg, Virginia about two years ago, and since living here have found it very hard to rinse soap off my skin and find that dishes just washed often need to be rinsed out as a little soap remains.

    I have experimented with different soaps for me and different detergents for the dishes and nothing has worked (it doesn't help that all the soaps now have built in moisturizers). I am a bit phobic about chemicals and like them off me, which means that I rinse my hands for the longest time until they feel clingy. If I just rinse like I used to they have a slippery feel and seem to still have soap.

    So I finally got a strip that tests the hardness of water and found that the water here is soft.

    My question is: what do other people with soft water do? I know it's an odd question as most people complain about water being too hard. I'd rather have hard water thought if it rinses the soap off better.
  2. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    I totally know what you mean. I hate that slippery feel when using soft water. I personally don't see why everyone likes having soft water so much. Call me old-fashion.:)

    I would say, I know it sounds silly, to try using less soap. I mean way less soap. Soft water doesn't have all the calcium, salts etc. that absorb some of the oils in the soap, so a lot less is needed. So less soap when washing your hands, and try half the amount of soap used normally in the dishwasher.

    I've also heard that using soaps with no phosphates can help out as well and to not run any heatdry option on the dishwasher because that will bake in the residue.
  3. swingerofbirch thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Wow. Lots of good advice! Thanks.
  4. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    That was good advice, killerrobot.
    In addition try to look at it differently. The fact that it's not clingy/gritty doesn't mean it hasn't rinsed off. Soft water is just different. I much prefer it.

    Use less shampoo and conditioner in your hair as well.
  5. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2005
    Manchester UK
    Less calcium build up in your appliances too, which is always a bonus.
  6. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Our waters soft and I'm rather fond of it. It's harder down at Carolines and I really can't drink it straight from the tap there :eek:
  7. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I really hate soft water. Very hard water at home and at school. Yes, sometimes it can be harder to get soap to foam up, but I hate the slimy feeling I get when I get out. It feels like when I used to swim in my friend's pond as a kid. You'd get out and be covered in a veneer of algae. Eww. Hard water leaves my skin feeling like human skin, not frog skin.

    I spent a few weeks living with soft water and never quite got used to it. I was still gross and slimy every time I got out of the shower.

    Not exactly. Chemically, soft water can't wash soap off as well, so that slippery feeling is, in fact, leftover soap. Solution? Use less soap.

  8. swingerofbirch thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    I'm on vacay up at a mountain resort and the water is hard and I am loving it!

    At home when I wash my hands I have to rub them together under the water forever to get close to feeling like the soap has come off. Here I don't even have to rub, just put them under the running water and my hands have that nice clingy feeling immediately.

    I'm thinking when I get home I'll have to call our water authority and figure out if they can come test our water to see if something is extraordinarily wrong, or if not, maybe install a water hardener.

    All I know is I can't go back to the soft I have at home now that I have this. And washing my face is now so easy!
  9. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Ugh, I hate soft water.

    I went to a restaurant tonight and went to the bathroom. The water was rather soft, and when I was washing my hands, despite my efforts, they still felt rather greasy and slimy from the soap. A paper towel took care of it, but I just hate that feeling, feels like my hands aren't clean.
  10. cleanup macrumors 68030


    Jun 26, 2005
    Am I the only one who has NEVER noticed this before? Nor ever really thought about how the hardness of water affects my daily life?

    I have noticed differences in when I shower, but it was always because of different soaps? Some soaps, like Oil of Olay or Dove, will leave your skin feeling not slimy, but slippery and smooth, while others will seem to rinse off much cleaner and give you that rough, clingy feeling. And this happened under the same water source.

    Given that, I much prefer Dove soap to the hard, clingy soap. So call me a soft water kinda person I suppose. But I honestly don't mind that much.
  11. sonictruth macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2004
    Have you checked if there is a water softener attached to your water supply? Not to ask a stupid question, but that would be step one. Take it off-line if there is one present - easy solution.

    My parents always preferred soft water growing up, so our well water was treated with a water softener, and it was my job to add the salt on a weekly basis. Soft water blew - I wanted that clean/stripped feeling after a shower. Now 15 yrs later, I'm still happy to not have softened water and dread washing my hands at my mom's house.
  12. firehiker macrumors newbie


    Oct 19, 2007
    CLEANUP, you obviously have HARD WATER. You describe "normal" washing results with hard water. I went to school in a town with this slimebucket soft water...and when I returned, was THRILLED to be back to living a life where, when you want soap OFF your skin, you can wash it OFF. Well, I am trying to get a job in that very same town I went to school, and while down there for testing, polygraph, interview, I was reminded that next morning what it took to get all the soap off of your body. People haven't addressed the most alarming issue...I literally ran the water cold trying to wipe that damn soap film off of myself. What does that do for water conservation? Forget the water, what will my friend's utility bill look like after my 20 minute shower?!?! You get my point.
    Gimme hared water ANYDAY...Get in, lather up, rinse off, and get out! SQUEAKY CLEAN! If anyone knows of a home water HARDENER SYSTEM, please message me. I will pay 5 grande to outfit wherever I find myself if I get the job..even though I am currently broke. THAT should tell's THAT bad!
  13. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Clovis, California
    It's the exact opposite: soft water rinses the soap off better. ;)
  14. nescient macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2007
    Soft Water is "Cleaner" =)

    Hi there,

    I couldn't help but put in my "two cents". The following excerpt is from a website:

    We call water "hard" if it contains a lot of calcium or magnesium dissolved in it. Hard water causes two problems:

    * It can cause "scale" to form on the inside of pipes, water heaters, tea kettles and so on. The calcium and magnesium precipitate out of the water and stick to things. The scale doesn't conduct heat well and it also reduces the flow through pipes. Eventually, pipes can become completely clogged.

    * It reacts with soap to form a sticky scum, and also reduces the soap's ability to lather. Since most of us like to wash with soap, hard water makes a bath or shower less productive.

    Here is the link:

    I've lived with soft water all my life and am not used to having huge amounts of soap to feel clean. Everytime I wash my hair with hard water, it comes out very greasy/dirty when using the usual amount I do at home (a dollop of shampoo). I live in Vancouver, Canada and whenever I travel, this is what I have to deal with ;)
  15. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    We used to have soft water up in Cheshire. Definitely better in every way than the crappy hard water here in London. You get to use less of every detergent, soap, even toothpaste, and all your clothes feel softer after you've washed them.
  16. crystalclear macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2007
    soft water and hard water

    I just moved here about a month ago. It seems I have soft water and hard water. How can I have both? I have flakey white stuff in the ice trays, which I assume to be minerals deposits, this is said to be in hard water. I also have difficulty rinsing soap off my hands and the dishes, this is said to be soft water, not mention it is a bit oily in texture...slimy if you will. So how can I have evidence of the two? Would greatly appreciate any insight or advice. Thanks.
  17. fistful macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2004
    We have a water softener here and the only time I really notice is once in awhile when I get out of the shower I can feel a film of soap on my face after I dry off. Then I just go and give my face a rinse in the sink.
  18. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    It's frequently just an illusion

    Part of the reason people hate soft water is that "slimy" feeling like the soap isn't entirely rinsed off.

    This frequently is an illusion caused by our being accustomed to the dried "squeaky clean" feeling caused by hard water. What's typically happening is that the chlorine and the minerals in the hard water is drying out your skin, causing your hair and skin to feel "squeaky clean."

    What we think of as slimy, soap residue is frequently just our skin oils, preserved by the gentler, software non-chlorinated water.

    You can verify this for yourself by washing your hands under hard water until they feel "squeaky clean," drying them completely and then smelling them: you'll probably smell soap.

    Do the same thing again, only rinse with distilled water or some water that you know has no chlorine or minerals. They may feel slimy like you don't have all of the soap off, but then dry them off and then smell your hands. You won't smell the soap smell on them that you did when you thought they were squeaky clean.
  19. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I might want to point out all water in the US (and most if not all of the westernized world) water is chlorinated. Chlorine has some properties that make it great of water sanitation namely it residual effect. That residual effect is what keeps the water safe as it goes though the pipes to your homes.
    Just figure I would correct you on that.

    Also Chlorine has no effect on how hard water is. What makes water hard is magnesium and calcium. That us all there is to is getting the concentration of those to elements in the water to find out how hard it is

    There is nothing wrong with your water. There is no minimum
    amount of hardness only a maxim requirement to fill.
  20. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    Escape from New England
    When I lived in the rocky mountains, our water was very high in calcium - left white deposits everywhere but felt "soft".
  21. corymhillis macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2009
    Solution for SOFT WATER!

    I stumbled across your msg about not liking your soft water. I'm working on a patent for something that fixes your problem. I hate that slimy feeling of soft water too!

    Maybe I could even give you one to try if you give me feedback on how you like it? Just a thought. If so you can email me at corrymh at or blog me here.


  22. Simgar988 macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2009
    i hate staying in hotels for this exact reason... i hate when my skin feels so "sticky"
  23. MultiM macrumors 6502


    May 9, 2006
    TO. I've moved!
    I have a water softener in my house and love it. If you do too, the reason you have the 'flakes' in your ice cubes is because the cold water in your kitchen is not softened, just the hot. I assume you don't use hot water in your ice cube trays. When we built the house, the plumbing company told us that (here) code is for the cold water in the kitchen to continue with hard water for drinking purposes, and all other water is routed through the softener. I don't let my dogs drink from the toilets because of the softened water.

    I used to get dry flakes, almost like scales on my skin from the dry air and hard water. I don't anymore because of the soft water and i use Dove. I got over the 'slimy' feeling pretty quickly and wouldn't go back for anything.

    Sorry for being long winded.......
  24. Gonzo3333 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    soft water = YUCK!

    I have lived in Chicago for my entire life (almost 30 years) my parents moved away to a little town called Rockford about 11 years ago (Cheap Trick is from there). Unfortunately they have very very hard water and it is necessary for them to have a water softener, otherwise all of their pipes would eventually clog from the mineral deposits left by the water. I feel like I need to take another shower when I get out of the shower. I can't stand it.
  25. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 603

    Knowlege Bomb

    Feb 14, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Funny you should mention the area because I was just about to say the only experience I've had with annoyingly soft water is my Aunt & Uncle's place in Wheaton. It's even got it's own smell to it. I always felt I had to get the water as hot as possible while still being bearable to get that residue feeling off...

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