Water is a valuable resource that serves to nourish humans and animals, as well as the land for crops to grow, but sometimes its importance can go unnoticed.
The normal properties of water are widely known: it is colourless, meaning that it has no colour, it is transparent, it is also odourless, which means that it has no odour and is tasteless, since it does not have a specific taste.
However, there are many other properties that are not as well known but that water undoubtedly has and is of great importance for health.
Hard water and soft water
These definitions have nothing to do with the best-known states of matter: solid, liquid or gas, in fact, talking about soft water and hard water has a relationship at the microscopic level.
Soft water is usually groundwater from aquifers with a very low amount of calcium and magnesium salts, this type of water is mainly used for production processes.
It is used in some hydroelectric plants or also in companies that develop detergents since their components dissolve more easily in this type of water.
Soft water is also recommended for use with some specialized appliances, such as laundry centres since it does not cause blockages in the pipes or damage due to its low salt values.
On the other hand, hard water has a higher concentration of minerals such as magnesium salts and also calcium.
To know what the hardness of water is, you have to refer to its origin. This is stored underground and obtains all these minerals thanks to the fact that to reach the subsoil, it first passes through geological formations that have high amounts of these elements.
This process, in addition to functioning as a natural filtration, also gives the water the so-called “hardness” and this has exciting benefits even for the substantial improvement of the state of health.
The taste is slightly modified when discussing hard water thanks to its minerals. Normally and according to data from the World Health Organization, the values of hard water can range between 100 and 300 mg/l of calcium ions, and can reach up to 500 mg/l.
This is the maximum value of calcium carbonate per litre according to the 1971 WHO International Standards and can be consumed by humans without any problem, even at that higher level.
Does drinking hard water put your health at risk?
Despite these high calcium values, consuming hard water does not represent any danger if consumed by humans.
Although the benefits are still being analysed, there are some studies that say that drinking hard water for a long time can protect the body from cardiovascular risks by more than 15%.
The World Health Organization itself details that since 1950 epidemiological studies have been carried out that seek to corroborate the hypothesis that this type of water, due to its high content of magnesium and calcium, contributes to the reduction of cardiovascular diseases.
Hard water corrosion in pipes is practically minimal, this also translates into a real advantage for the consumer since when water passes through rusty pipes, poisoning by harmful elements such as lead, aluminium or steel can occur.
Soft water is more corrosive and is even not recommended for cleaning tasks, since the effectiveness of soaps is significantly reduced in this type of water.
The elements that abound in hard water can have a beneficial effect on the human body since we are talking about essential minerals that the body always needs.
To mention an example, magnesium is of vital importance for several processes that have to do with the muscles and the nervous system, it also helps to regulate blood pressure and sugar levels.
Magnesium, along with calcium is present in hard water, calcium is also important, mainly for the proper development and growth of bones.
Hard water with a high percentage of up to 500 mg/l of calcium does not pose any risk to human health, but magnesium must be kept below 125 mg/l to avoid a bitter taste in the water.
How to identify hard water?
As already mentioned, hard water minerals are obtained from underground aquifers where the water has undergone natural filtration through the porosity of geological formations.
To measure hardness, a unit called calcium carbonate concentration is used, expressed as mg CaCO 3 /l and according to the Merck scale, depending on its concentration, we speak of:
0 to 79 mgCaCO 3 /l: Very soft water
80 to 149 mgCaCO 3 /l: Soft water
150 to 329 mgCaCO 3 /l: Semi-hard water
300 – 549 mgCaCO 3 /l: Hard water
Greater than 550 mgCaCO 3 /l: Very hard water
A homemade and very simple way to know if you have a hard or soft water supply is to use some soap, either multipurpose or hand soap.
Hard water does not produce as many suds or soap bubbles, while soft water interacts better with detergents, creating much more suds.
Whether the water you have available is soft or hard, is not very relevant, it can also be consumed if it is correctly purified, however, studies continue to be developed worldwide that seek to unravel more benefits of hard water.
Using drinking water purifiers by Aqua Drink can stabilize the water to find the perfect balance.