Options for Fixing Hard Water in Your Home

hard water glass(Kinetico San Antonio’s Shelley Davenport learned an important lesson when moving into her new apartment. Here’s her story.)

After my recent move, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love my new place. As I unpacked, I couldn’t help but cheerily hum the theme song to The Jeffersons. I purchased new furniture, new art, new everything to go with my brand new, never been lived in apartment. So you can imagine my dismay when, after washing my dishes, I opened the dishwasher to find my (new) glassware covered in milky residue. What. The. Heck. But I knew the answer before I could finish that exclamation. Hard water. Suddenly, Movin’ On Up was replaced with Beethoven’s 5th, you know the part. I should have seen it coming. This is the Texas Hill Country, home of delicious Tex-Mex, football hero/villain Johnny “Football” Manziel and, oh yeah, basically the hardest water you can find.

To my knowledge, there are three ways to fight back against hard water. (I’ve never had any complaints about the taste of it, but the residue it leaves on my dishes is enough to send me into battle.)

3 Options For Handling Hard Water

A Vinegar Rinse
A common practice in removing hard water stains and cleaning your dishwasher is to add a cup or so of distilled white vinegar to each load. After doing a little research online, I discovered the pros and cons to this method (and decided against it). Pros: vinegar does shine up the stainless steel and keep your dishwasher smelling fresh. Cons: unless you’re dipping your dishes directly into it, and then scrubbing by hand, it doesn’t work as well as you want it to. Another big con? Vinegar is acidic, and as such, eats away at all of the rubber hoses and seals in your dishwasher.

Lemi Shine (or a Lemi Shine equivalent)
I’ve used Lemi Shine. I like Lemi Shine. I do not, however, enjoy the small packaging and high prices. When it comes down to it, yes, Lemi Shine will cut away a significant amount of hard water stains from your dishes and cutlery. But even though my dishes were finally clear enough to let my guests drink out of them, they lacked their original shine. So, in short, rinse aids like Lemi Shine removed a lot of the hard water stains, but just not enough for me.

Water Softener
Were I not renting my current apartment (and under strict rules about plumbing modifications), I would be an adult and have a water softener installed. Regardless of all the little life hacks out there claiming to dissolve hard water stains, the fact remains that you can’t get mineral buildup from water that doesn’t have minerals in it. Plus, I loved the way New York’s soft water added extra bounce and shine to hair when visiting.

For now, rinse aids and a little elbow grease will have to do. If your landlord or building design is more water-softener friendly than mine, I suggest you contact Kinetico San Antonio. Not only will your dishes regain their sparkle, your skin, hair, clothes and appliances will be free of that pesky mineral buildup as well.