4 Effects of Hard Water in the Shower

by Shelley Frost
Hard water deposit and rust on shower tap

What is hard water, and do you have it? Many areas have hard water, which means it has a large concentration of dissolved minerals. Calcium and magnesium are the main offenders that cause hard water issues.

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You can often see the effects of hard shower water, and you can also feel it. Here’s what you might be sensing if you’ve got a hard water problem.

4 Signs That You Have Hard Water in the Shower

You might already have a hunch you're dealing with hard water, but these signs can help you decide for sure.

1. Shower Buildup

Does it seem like you can never quite get your shower clean? The minerals stay behind long after your shower dries, creating a filmy residue. The minerals often combine with soap residue to create annoying soap scum on all surfaces inside your shower, from your faucet to your shower curtain. You might also notice brownish or reddish stains in your shower.

2. Plumbing Issues

Buildup can also happen in your pipes and plumbing fixtures, leading to issues. It can cause corrosion, which can cause leaks and force you to replace some of your pipes. Minerals that build up inside the pipes can restrict the water flow and decrease your water pressure. You may also notice buildup on your faucets and showerheads that limits the flow.

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3. Changes in Your Skin

You might notice the effects of hard water on your skin after washing your hands and showering. You may feel a residue on your skin after you use soap, and your soap might not lather as much. Hard water could also leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. It can upset the balance in your skin, increasing breakouts, flaking and clogged pores.

4. Problems With Your Hair

Think you just naturally have dull, flat hair? It could be a water issue and not your genetics. Just like your skin, your hair is susceptible to the effects of minerals in your water. Those minerals can build up on your scalp and hair, making it limp and stripping away the shine. You might notice your hair becoming dry, brittle or susceptible to breakage if you have hard water.

What Can You Do About Hard Water in the Shower?

If you want to deal with hard water throughout your house, you can install a water softener to treat all water that enters your home. It uses a special type of salt to facilitate the ion exchange process. The hard water passes through a resin tank with tiny resin beads, which hold sodium ions from the softener salt. The mineral ions swap places with the sodium ions, creating softer water. Since this is a whole-house option, it will soften the water throughout your home.

When hard shower water is your main concern, you can install a hard water filter showerhead. It replaces and looks like your normal showerhead, so it's a simple option that doesn't change your shower setup. You simply screw it into place, and it filters the minerals out of the water. This option only works in the shower where it's installed, so you could still have issues, such as damaged clothes, residue on your hands from the sink and spots on your dishes.