Wells are relatively common in the United States, as they provide an almost endless water supply. With that in mind, your well water may sometimes feel slimy. Why? Well, (pun intended), this depends on whether your water is considered hard or soft and what you are usually used to. Now, you may be thinking, what is the difference, and why does it matter? Keep reading; we’ll answer all your questions.
Everyone washes their hands at least once a day (if not, there’s a conversation we need to have). As usual, when you wash your hands, you begin with soap. After turning the water on, you notice you can’t seem to get the soap off of your hands, and your water feels almost slimy. Not to worry, this happens more often than you may think. Let’s discuss why your water is “slimy” and what to do about it.
What Is The Difference Between Soft And Hard Water?
Let’s start with the basics; what’s the difference between hard and soft water? While you may be thinking water is water, and you are correct to a point, there are some critical differences between the two.
Hard water contains far more dissolved minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. While you may notice a difference in taste, this has more to do with what you are used to drinking, whether it be hard or soft. Now, several different factors indicate hard water, other than taste.
One way to determine if your water supply is considered hard is to take a look at the dishes as they come out of the dishwasher. A hard water supply will often leave soap scum behind on dishes. You may also notice red or brown stains on appliances like your toilet or coffee pot.
Soft water, on the other hand, does not include the hard minerals that, you guessed it, hard water contains. It is free of any excess calcium or magnesium and tends to be gentle on appliances such as your toilet or coffee pot. Because it is softened, the hard minerals are replaced with sodium ions. In other words, the water contains a small amount of sodium.
While it is easier on the skin and appliances, you may feel slippery when you are showering, as if you have not gotten completely clean. Let’s figure out why.
What Makes Well Water Slimy?
The presence of sodium over hard minerals is what makes well water seem slimy. Many people primarily use hard water, and switching to soft may be difficult. When water is softened, it takes on a slimy feel due to the lack of hard minerals, which are replaced with small amounts of sodium.
After the water goes through a softener, the hard minerals are turned into salt. Salt is added to water through the regenerating process because it helps dissolve the hard minerals found in the water.
Is Well Water Supposed To Feel Slimy?
Yes, it is supposed to feel slimy. As previously mentioned, the slippery feeling is probably because you are used to hard water and is the presence of salt rather than calcium or magnesium.
Water softeners (otherwise known as the process that removes hard minerals from the water) will always produce slimy water. Keep in mind this is not a bad thing. This water from water softeners is better for appliances and the overall health of your skin and hair.
How To Combat Slimy Water?
Well, you may not like the slippery feeling of the water you use every day, but chances are it’s here to stay (apparently, we know how to rhyme now). That being said, there are a few different things you can do to feel a bit more at ease with your water supply.
Use Less Soap
It sounds strange, we know. However, soap becomes more effective when used in soft water instead of hard. When showering or washing in hard water, more soap is required to build up a lather and become appropriately cleaned. This is because the minerals in hard water (calcium etc.) decreased the effectiveness of the soap.
Use Different Soaps
As soft water increases the effectiveness of soap, you can begin to stray away from soaps that contain heavy scents or other additives.
Understand The Benefits
It can be challenging to switch from hard water to soft, but it can be a bit easier if you can understand the benefits.
Let’s start with longevity. Because soft water does not contain hard minerals, it is not likely for scale or bacteria to build up in appliances or pipes around your home. When appliances such as your dishwasher are not in contact with the minerals that cause buildup, they last longer and work better. That being said, it is still a good idea to check for bacteria buildup on occasion.
Believe it or not, soft water is also known to aid dry skin in the winter months. Your skin is not left with the buildup from the hard minerals, and your soaps and shampoo can do what they are meant to, leaving you with hydrated skin.
All in all, it’s going to take some time to get used to the switch, as many people are used to hard water. More often than not, the difference becomes unnoticeable in 2 weeks to a month. Over time, you will begin to notice the benefits, especially in appliances, skin, and hair.