Have you ever heard the term “hard water” used to describe your drinking water? In many places in the US and around the globe, water sources have high mineral contents, which cause what’s known as hard water. This high mineral content results from different things such as limestone and chalk deposits leaking into the water sources. If you’re wondering what the minerals in hard water are, read on to find the answer.

What Are the Minerals in Hard Water?

You may notice hard water when a layer of residue remains on dishes, tubs, and sinks after you clean them. Most water hardness happens due to groundwater flowing over or through limestone or other materials. These materials leave calcium and magnesium behind along with trace amounts of other minerals. Aluminum, barium, strontium, iron, zinc, and manganese are just a few of the other dissolved metals that can produce water hardness.

What Are the Effects of These Minerals?

The presence of minerals such as calcium and magnesium has both positive and negative effects. The positive effects of hard water are primarily health related in nature. The negative usually affect things such as appliances or industrial equipment. Some of the positive benefits of hard water include the following:

  • Calcium and magnesium in drinking water can prevent cardiovascular disease, strengthen teeth and bone, and aid digestion.
  • Those same minerals may also protect against stomach, colon, rectal, and pancreatic cancers as well as esophageal and ovarian cancers.
  • Many people prefer the taste of hard water.

Some of the adverse effects of hard water include the following:

  • A scum can form when hard water comes into contact with soap, preventing clothes, dishes, and more from truly becoming clean.
  • You may find yourself with dry and itchy skin when the soap residue doesn’t fully come off your skin.
  • Hard water can leave stains and reduce the life span of clothing.
  • The buildup of calcium in appliances that use water can damage them and leave a white residue.

How To Remove These Minerals

If you’re concerned about hard water in your home, you can choose from several different types of water softener systems to remove the minerals from your water. Here’s generally how water softener systems work:

  • Resin beads within the softener trap calcium and magnesium and exchange them for sodium or potassium.
  • When the resin beads have accumulated enough calcium and magnesium, the minerals are removed using a highly concentrated salt or potassium solution.
  • The chloride solution that passes through the beads creates wastewater that is then flushed down the drain.

Learning more about the effects of hard water can help you stay aware of any complications that may arise. Some people may also prefer to leave their hard water unchanged due to its taste and health benefits. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.