Hard water presents its fair share of problems. If you’re wondering how to make it soft, and if boiling it will do the trick, you may be pleasantly surprised! Hard water is non-lather-forming water mainly containing calcium and magnesium salts dissolved as bicarbonates, chlorides, or sulfates.
Boiling does make hard water soft, but only for a limited amount of time. This temporary softness is due to the increased solubility of the magnesium and calcium salts. Heating increases solubility, but as the temperature drops, the water becomes hard again.
There are various ways you can convert hard water into soft water. The most common methods used to soften hard water include the application of ammonia, borax, and calcium hydroxide. However, there is a simpler way to soften hard water, and that is by boiling it.
If you’re interested to learn more, keep reading!
Read my comprehensive article about what hard water is.
How Does Boiling Make the Hard Water Soft?
Even though boiling can soften hard water, the hardness is only removed temporarily.
Boiling hard water is a cheap and quick way to fix hard water for immediate use. Even though its application is limited, boiling hard water can provide a temporary fix for fast consumption.
The Chemistry Behind It
Hard water is rich in dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. High concentrations of calcium and magnesium salts, such as bicarbonates and sulfates, mainly characterize it.
When you boil water, the temperature rises, which, in turn, increases the solubility of these salts and causes them to precipitate and separate from the pure water.
|Categories||Hard Water||Soft Water|
|Minerals||Rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium||Poor in minerals such as calcium and magnesium|
|Behavior with soap||Doesn’t produce lather||Produces lather|
|Concentration of minerals||>60mg/dl||<60mg/dl|
As previously mentioned, boiling water removes the hardness from the water but only temporarily. This is because once the water temperature comes down, the calcium and magnesium salts return to their original form and cause the water to harden again.
Calcium and Magnesium ions need to be removed from the water for permanent removal of hardness, and that cannot be accomplished simply by boiling the water.
The Method to Boil Hard Water
Removing the hardness (from hard water) by boiling is a relatively simple procedure. When boiling the water, the salts usually precipitate and leave pure water behind.
Follow the exact steps below to successfully soften your hard water by the boiling method:
- Put the hard water in a clean pot.
- Put the pot on the stove and light up the stove.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Let the water boil for about five minutes for effective results.
- After boiling the water, turn off the heat. This water is now soft.
However, if you’re looking for a permanent, sustainable fix, using hard water softeners is the ideal choice. They replace the calcium and magnesium salts with sodium to soften the water.
How Long Do You Have to Boil Hard Water to Make it Soft?
Hard water takes approximately five minutes to turn into soft water for regular consumption and use.
Converting hard water into soft water is beneficial as leaving your water hard can cause mild issues in some people, such as dryness of the scalp and skin.
Moreover, hard water can also lead to faded laundry and early wear out of clothes.
How Do You Make Hard Water Drinkable?
The best way to convert hard water into drinkable soft water is through a process called reverse osmosis.
This process essentially uses the application of osmosis to remove contaminants (or, in this case, ionic salts) and clean the water to make it drinkable.
During this process, pressure is applied to the water to force it through the semipermeable membrane.
This, in turn, moves the water to the cleaner side of the semi-permeable membrane while the ionic salts remain where they are.
After the water has passed through reverse osmosis, it goes through a postfilter procedure which removes any remaining contaminants and makes the water drinkable.
How Do You Fix Hard Water?
A water softener is the most common way to fix hard water. It’s a filtration system that removes minerals from hard water as the water passes through the bed of the filter. It also replaces the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions, which makes the water soft.
How to Get Rid of Hard Water Naturally?
One way to get rid of hard water naturally is to boil the hard water. Another is to use clothes dipped in a vinegar solution to trap any excess buildup of calcium and magnesium. Then you can wash that cloth and reuse it to repeat the procedure.
Is Boiled Hard Water Safe to Drink?
You would be surprised to know that even drinking hard water is safe and won’t usually make you sick unless you take in an excess amount of it.
However, the taste associated with hard water may make it unpleasant to drink, and thus, you should avoid drinking it. However, if you boil the hard water, the water is now relatively safe to drink and shouldn’t be harmful.
How Do You Soften Hard Water Permanently?
Hard water can be softened permanently through reverse osmosis. Other processes that can soften hard water include adding sodium bicarbonate to hard water or passing the hard water through an ion exchange column. Read my article about reverse osmosis.
Any of these processes can permanently soften hard water because they function on the same principle, i.e., replacing calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions.
Read my ultimate guide to water softeners.
While softening hard water presents challenges on its own, you can sometimes use these shortcut hacks to quickly consume soft water. Boiling hard water works really well as it causes the ionic salts to precipitate and leave pure water behind.
Even though the perfect way to soften hard water is through the usage of reverse osmosis, performing such a procedure on a basic level is not possible. However, boiling hard water is an easy hack for you to convert it into soft water and make good use of it while it lasts!