In my last post, I talked about how I suspect my hard water supply is really having an impact on my Cholinergic Urticaria (or may even be the cause). Hard water is water that has a high amount of dissolved minerals in it (usually calcium and magnesium).
Hard water does not allow soap to lather well, leaves an incredibly sticky soap scum residue and minerals on your skin and tub (which is nearly impossible to clean), and much more.
Not only that, but a scientific study is underway to see how the hard water can cause or worsen skin disorders. This eczema story right here was a part of the study, and it is incredible how much it changed this poor boy (Dylan). Check out that link to see how bad his skin was, and to read the about the study.
What Does Hard Water Look Like? Here Are My Shower Pics
I have 2 exhibits from my apartment to share with you. First, just let me say that I clean my shower regularly (about 1-2 times per month). The water is so hard here, that I have to scrub and scrub after letting bleach and other chemicals soak for like an hour. It is truly ridiculous. Especially considering that my wife and I never really get “dirty.” It isn’t like I am a mechanic or construction worker!
Anyway, in this first picture, I merely ran my finger up the side of my shower. Only water touches this area (no soap or shampoo), and this is what kind of a residue it leaves behind:
As you can see, it looks like a chalky mess. This residue has dissolved solid minerals in it such as calcium, magnesium, and possibly iron and others. This is excessive, and way harder than what a water supply should have!
For my next specimen, I would like to present a mini-shampoo bottle that has been in our shower for a month or two. Look at the film of YUCK that has grown on this bottle, merely from letting this crazy water touch it:
Again, keep in mind that you are not looking at soap or shampoo residue, that is just the water residue that has built up over time after the water dries. I am not joking, this water is crazy. I now realize why my hives went wild after I moved into this place.
Why I Can’t Wait To Get a Water Softener
As soon as I get a house (hopefully within 1-3 months), I am getting a water softener ASAP. I will post the complete results, and probably some installation pics and a “How to” tutorial just in case it works an anyone else wants to see how to hook it up. That would be so awesome if this did help with my hives. Here are what most water softeners look like:
Water softeners use an ion exchange to remove the calcium and magnesium minerals in the water, making the water much more pure. This allows the soap to lather better, and completely rinse the soap off of your skin. It also ensures that the calcium and magnesium won’t damage your skin or irritate it. It leaves your skin feeling supple and smooth and is the way it should be naturally (rain water is soft water).
How to Tell If You Have Hard Water
Hard water and soft water will look almost exactly the same when you just pour it in a glass. However, you can quickly tell if you have hard or soft water by running some simple tests.
First, if you have a build up of white soap scum, you probably have hard water. You can buy tests at your local hardware store to test water content or to see exactly how hard it is. You can also contact your local water supplier and they may be able to tell you if you have hard water.
Some other signs and tests you can do:
- Does your soap lather easily, or does it take a lot of soap/detergent to lather?
- Are your clothes stiff after washing them?
- Do your white clothing and towels turn white, or get a yellowish tint?
- Does your skin feel dry and itchy after a shower?
If your soap doesn’t lather easily, your clothes are stiff, and a yellowish tint gets on your whites, you probably have hard water. You can also slightly wet your fingers under water, and then try and snap them. If you can snap your fingers a little, you probably have hard water.
Soft water has a very “slimy” feel to it, because there are no harsh minerals sticking to you. It also is slimy because it completely rinses away the soap leaving your skin much cleaner and softer.
Here is a video demonstration showing the lather difference between hard water and soft water below.