With six people living in our household, laundry is just another one of those never-ending things. Lately, though, I’ve been noticing that our clothes are not as soft as they could be, and our skin is a bit itchier. I’ve found a few tips for cleaner, softer clothes, however, we strive to live as naturally as possible so using a fabric softener with fragrances and dyes is out of the question. I’ve also tried multiple different detergents to see if it would make a difference, but nothing has.
Then I got to thinking about our water.
I was pretty sure we had hard water, I just didn’t know how hard. I was able to get a free water analysis from Hellenbrand to find out how hard my water is, and if there are any other contaminates that I didn’t know about.
Tip for Laundry Problems – Test for Hard Water
Testing for hard water is pretty important when it comes to laundry. Hard water can cause fabrics to feel stiff, not fluffy, you may notice general dinginess or graying and yellowing in white clothes and fading in colored clothes, and your fabric fibers could even weaken over time, causing tears.
People accustomed to washing in hard water may not notice the quicker fading of colors and yellowing of whites or shortened fabric life, and you may not realize there is also increased wear on the washing machine due to the extra detergent, hot water, and rinse and wash cycles it takes to get laundry clean. Fortunately, hard water can be softened, and soft water virtually eliminates these problems.
Test Your Water For Free
The free water analysis from Hellenbrand is really easy to set up, all you have to do is fill out the request form online, wait for an email from a local technician, and they will either come right to your house or recommend other options (for me they sent out a collection kit and had me mail a sample back to them).
My Water Analysis and Tips for Cleaner, Softer Clothes
In my water analysis, the hardness level was 15 grains/gallon of calcium carbonate, which is considered Very Hard water. One of the tips for cleaner, softer clothes would be to use a water softener. The ProMate EcoMax water softener would be an ideal solution to solve my issue and get me on the path to better laundry.
Other contaminants that were tested for were iron, manganese, and nitrates. All of those were at acceptable levels and no further action was needed.
Simple Tips for Cleaner, Softer Clothes
- Be sure you test for hard water as mentioned above, then take steps to rectify the problem if you determine you do have hard water.
- Once your water is softened you can add 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash along with your normal detergent to get rid of any odors and residues left in clothing (this also works great for those times that we, ahem, forget to take the laundry out of the wash and move it to the dryer. Not that that has ever happened to anyone.)
- Add a cup of vinegar to your wash (not at the same time as the baking soda) to remove any residue left by fabric softeners.
- Keep your brights super bright and your blacks from fading by turning clothing inside out and choose the coolest temperature to get them clean.
- Examine stained clothes before tossing in the dryer, if the stain didn’t come out in the first go-round, be sure to spot treat and wash again. Tossing clothes in the dryer will set the stain and make it much harder to deal with.
Does Softer Water Make A Difference?
After receiving my analysis and comparing how my laundry was before and after having a water softener, I can tell you that it does make a difference. Having softer water not only allows me to use less detergent (because it doesn’t have to work as hard to soften before it cleans), but the clothes are also getting cleaner. I also notice a difference in the shower, but that is a topic for another day. 🙂
Do you have hard water? Do you use a water softener?
Let us know your thoughts on how it has made a difference!
Thanks to The Motherhood and Hellenbrand for providing the water analysis and sponsoring this post. Opinions are my own.