This week, Marilyn vos Savant, the author of the Ask Marilyn column in Parade magazine, was asked, “What determines whether water is hard or soft? Which is safer to drink?” Marilyn explained that hard water contains minerals – calcium and magnesium – which are essential to humans. Water softening is done by removing those minerals and replacing them with sodium.
Plain Talk About Drinking Water by Dr. James M. Symons touches on the subject of hard and soft water, too. It states, “If calcium or magnesium is present in your water in substantial amounts, the water is said to be hard because lathering soap for washing is difficult to do, and cleaning with hard water is inefficient. Water containing little calcium or magnesium is called soft water and is better for laundering and other purposes.” Hard water can cause shower doors to appear filmy, laundered clothes to be dingy and hair that has just been washed to be sticky. As far as drinking soft water, there is no problem in doing so; you just will not get all the minerals you would receive if you were to drink hard water instead.
If you think you may have hard water in your home, you may want to consider a softener to help protect your clothes and appliances. But either way, feel free to drink up – whether it’s hard or soft water!