Water tap in a modern kitchen

The Effects of Hard Water on Your Appliances and How to Prevent It

Water – there’s no way around it, it’s an essential part of our daily lives, whether it’s to drink, to clean, or to cook with. But not all water is created equal.

While the water that flows from our taps may seem innocent enough, it can carry hard water – a seemingly harmless mineral-rich water that can build up and cause havoc on our appliances. Not only is it hard to look at, but it can also reduce the lifespan of your coffee machine, kettle, washing machine, and any other device that uses water – and, as they’ll have to work harder, they’ll be less energy efficient, meaning higher energy bills.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the effects hard water has on our appliances, and how to prevent it causing damage throughout the home.

Check out our previous post on how to deal with limescale in hard water areas for even more tips and tricks.


How Hard Water is Formed

Hard water is merely water that has picked up various minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, as it makes its way up from the ground through rocks and soil. In the UK, hard water usually occurs where the bedrock is made from flint, sandstone and chalk.


Rocks and bedrock that cause hard water


There's no need to fear hard water – it is safe to drink, as calcium and magnesium do not pose a risk to humans. However, when heated and evaporated, the minerals left behind form an unsightly limescale deposit – that white, chalky substance you often see build up in your kettle or around your showerhead.


What is a Sign of Hard Water

Spotting hard water in your home is not as challenging as it may seem. Keep an eye out for tell-tale signs such as:


  • Lingering Soap Scum - Have you noticed soap scum sticking to your shower walls, tubs, or sinks? Hard water hinders soap's ability to lather effectively, leaving behind residue that clings to surfaces.


  • Persistent Stains - If your dishes and glassware sport cloudy spots even after a thorough wash, it's likely due to hard water leaving mineral deposits.


  • Appliance Troubles - Your appliances, like kettles, coffee makers, and washing machines, might show signs of distress. A buildup of mineral deposits can lead to decreased efficiency and a shorter lifespan for these vital household tools.


  • Dry Skin and Hair - The minerals in hard water can strip your skin and hair of natural oils, causing dryness and irritation.


Are Hard Water Filters Effective?

Water filtration systems offer a glimmer of hope for hard water sufferers. Hard water filters, such as water softeners, are designed to remove the excess calcium and magnesium ions responsible for the water's hardness. These filters work their magic, reducing the negative effects of hard water on your appliances and personal care.


Limescale caused by hard water around a tap


However, it's crucial to consider that not all hard water filters are created equal. Some filters only target specific minerals, leaving other impurities untouched. Additionally, the effectiveness of filters can vary depending on water usage and the hardness level of your water supply.


Are Hard Water Stains Permanent?

You may be wondering if the hard water stains on your glassware and fixtures are permanent. The good news is that hard water stains can often be removed. Regular cleaning with acidic substances like vinegar or lemon juice can help dissolve the mineral deposits and restore the shine to your belongings. For your appliances, using descaler every few months can tackle any build up and keep your appliances working like new.


Kettle with limescale effected by hard water


How Hard Water Can Be Softened

There are several ways to soften hard water. Water softeners, as we mentioned earlier, can be installed to remove the mineral content from your water, turning it into a gentler version of its former self. Water conditioners are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional water softeners. They change the structure of minerals in the water, preventing them from clinging to surfaces and appliances.


Water flowing through a tap into a clean glass


Adding citric acid to your washing machine or dishwasher can help break down mineral deposits and prevent hard water stains. For smaller items like glassware and utensils, you can boil them in a mixture of water and baking soda, then allow them to cool, effectively loosening the stubborn deposits.



While hard water may pose a formidable challenge, you can protect your appliances from its grasp. Make use of filtration systems, keep on top of cleaning, and maintain your appliances regularly to keep the effects of hard water at bay. With these simple steps, you can reclaim the quality of your water and preserve the longevity of your household appliances.

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