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If you’re living in a hard water area, you’ve probably noticed that your laundry just isn’t as soft and fresh as you’d like it to be. Luckily, choosing the best laundry detergent for hard water is an easy way to combat this issue.
If your laundry is suffering from the effects of hard water and you’re not sure how to choose the right detergent for you, don’t worry because we’re here to help.
We have put together a list of best laundry detergents for hard water to help you keep your laundry soft, clean and smelling great.
What Are the Effects of Hard Water on Laundry?
Hard water is water contains minerals, typically calcium and magnesium, which can have negative effects on your health, your pipes, showers, appliances and also your laundry.
If you live in a hard water area, you probably have noticed that laundry can appear faded, worn out and contain water stains.
Detergent doesn’t work effectively as the minerals prevent it from lathering properly. Because of this, clothes don’t get clean even though they’ve just gone through a rinse.
Hard water can also affect the appearance of your clothes over time. Bright colors tend to fade prematurely, and the fabrics become dingy, getting damaged and wearing out quickly.
When minerals build up in the water, they get deposited onto your clothes, towels and linens, making them feel stiff, hard and less absorbent with time.
How to Choose the Best Laundry Detergent for Hard Water
If you want to be able to clean your clothes thoroughly with a lot less hassle, you’re going to need a powerful and effective product, so it’s important to take the following factors into consideration to make sure you’re choosing the right detergent for you.
Do you have scale formations inside your kettle or your water heater? If you do, what you’re looking at is the result of hard water when its heated up. The best way of minimizing this as much as possible is by using a low temperature to do your laundry. We suggest that you opt for a detergent that can easily be used in low temperatures as it will help minimize scale buildup considerably.
- Liquid or Powder?
Liquid detergents are a great option since they work well in both hard and soft water. These contain certain ingredients (non-ionic surfactants) that are resistant to hard water, making them a better and more effective choice than powder detergents. When using powder detergents, you may have to use a lot more than you normally would to see the same results that you would with liquid detergents.
However, if you’re a fan of powder detergents, there are some excellent and effective products available on the market. Or you could always add some borax to your laundry load which will boost the cleaning power of your detergent.
When using hard water to do your laundry, you don’t actually need to select a detergent that’s specially marked for hard water. Check the label for non-ionic surfactants like ethoxylates in order to get best results.
- Soften Your Water
The most effective way of avoiding hard water issues is by softening your water. However, if you’re not able to invest in a softening system, you can always try Borax or vinegar at home.
Borax neutralizes hard water (which is alkaline) by raising the pH level of the water and bringing it closer to neutral.
Vinegar is a cheaper and effective way of softening water but you’d probably have to use lots of it since you need one cup of it for every gallon of water. The acid in the vinegar helps neutralize the hard water and soften it. Keep in mind that Borax and vinegar shouldn’t be mixed since they can react and create a salt.
Now, let’s have a look at the 6 best detergents on the market for hard water.
Best Detergent for Hard Water
All Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and paediatricians
- Comes with fabric softener
- Can be used in any machine
- Suitable for all water temperatures
- Tough on hard water stains
- Bottle is too small
- The bottle can leak
All’s Liquid Laundry Detergent is manufactured to prevent your clothes from becoming stiff which is a common effect of hard water on laundry. It’s a specially made hypoallergenic formula which is recommended by paediatricians and dermatologists, meaning that it’s safe to use for washing young children’s clothes. It’s also very effective, ensuring that the clothes are thoroughly cleaned and residue-free.
What we liked about this detergent is that it can be used in both cold and hot water. This is convenient because some detergents work only in hot water and washing your laundry in hot water can increase your problems with hard water.
This detergent comes in a 2-pack and the bottles are quite small, each holding 46.5 oz that will last for up to 62 washes. The size of the bottles are a downside because If you have a large family and do a lot of laundry daily, it’s not going to last you long.
Main Complaint: Leaks
“I like this detergent but both bottles were leaking! I still used it the best I could but I hate that it happened”.
Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder
- Natural formula
- Low pH level
- No parabens, phosphates and other harmful ingredients
- 100% vegan
This Natural Laundry Detergent Powder by Rockin’ Green is one of the most popular laundry detergent powders on the market for even very hard water. This powder is a natural but strong formula that works excellently on tough stains. Even though it’s effective, it’s also very gentle on your laundry and won’t leave behind any residue on your clothes or cause any skin irritations.
One of the main things we liked about this product was that it contains no phosphates, SLS, parabens, bleach or brighteners in the formula and has never been tested on animals.
The formula is just right for anyone struggling with hard water, giving you clean and soft clothes without any stiffness or stains. One 45 oz bag will last you for up to 90 loads if you use it as directed. The only downside of this product is its price which is much higher in comparison to most other products.
Main Complaint: Ziplock doesn’t close well
“I’ve never used other detergent for my diapers, but this works great. Giving the product 4/5 because of the packaging. The bag has a ziplock feature at the top but it doesn’t actually close properly and I’m sure I’ll spill a bag at some point because of it”.
Ecover Zero Laundry Liquid Detergent
- No dyes or artificial cents
- Dermatologically tested
- Works even cold and hard water
- Convenient packaging
- High price
- The amount of detergent needed for a load isn’t a common measurement
Ecover Zero is a concentrated liquid laundry detergent that has no fragrance, optical brighteners or dyes and works very well with hard water. Although this formula isn’t specifically made for hard water, the surfactants that are included in it are effective at reducing stains, even ones made by hard water.
We were really impressed by this detergent because of how environmentally friendly it is. In fact, it’s made with plant-based ingredients and the plastic packaging from sugarcane. It’s so gentle on the skin and is complete 100% animal-cruelty-free. This product is dermatologically tested and has proved itself to be an excellent quality, hypoallergenic product.
If you’re living in a hard water area, switching to this detergent is a great choice to ensure that your clothes will be fluffy and retain their color which normally doesn’t happen with hard water.
Main Complaint: Design of the bottle
“Love Ecover, but the new design for the bottle is really terrible. The handle is harder to hold on to, and cap is too small for one load (ie. you are supposed to use two capfuls)… they should have just made the cap a bit larger, so that one capful would be one load”.
Woolite Darks Pacs Laundry Detergent – Pods
- Dye magnet technology to protect color
- Gently cleans
- Drop of keratin in every wash
- No shrinking, fading, stretching
- The pod plastic doesn’t dissolve in water.
Woolite Darks Pacs Laundry Detergent is another product on the market that works excellently with hard water and takes good care of your clothes. When using this product, your clothes will look like new for longer since it gently cleans and protects their colors with dye magnet technology.
This laundry detergent is capable of smoothing out the roughened fibers of your clothes so that they will look re-vitalized and hold their shape and texture. It also has the ability to protect your clothes from shrinking for up to 6 washes.
This product is easy to use since all you have to do is place the pack directly in the drum (not the dispenser) and then add your laundry. Be careful to store it safely out of the reach of children to avoid any unwanted surprises.
Main Complaint: Inefficient plastic dissolution
“The plastic of the pod does not dissolve in water. It sticks to the clothes and damages it, it sticks to the clothes like a hard paste”.
Ultra Concentrated New Tide Coldwater Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Works effectively in hard water
- Made of biodegradable soaps
- Safe for septic systems
- Recyclable packaging
- Saves you energy and money
- You may need to use more according to the condition of your water
Tide Coldwater Liquid Laundry Detergent is another of the best laundry detergents out there that delivers excellent color protection while giving your clothes a good clean even in cold water. It’s formulated for cold water conditions, which means you have the chance to save up to 50% on your energy bills when you change the loads from warm to cold.
One of the best things about this product is that it’s phosphate-free and made entirely of biodegradable soaps. It’s also safe for septic systems and comes with recyclable packaging.
When you use this product in a cold water wash, it can remove even the most stubborn of stains which is the reason it’s one of our top picks. The formula of this product is also effective at protecting your laundry from hard water issues so that you don’t have to worry about your clothes being spoiled every time they’re washed.
Main Complaint: Careless shipping
“Nothing against the product but the shipping. The bottle was just loose in the box so I guess the measuring cup/lid fell off and then got smashed by the bottle. Needless to say, that I now have no way of measuring how much detergent I want to use”.
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster Powder
- Safe for septic systems
- Works with all washing machine types
- Main ingredient is phosphate
Charlie’s Booster and Hard Water Treatment is an environmentally friendly and highly effective laundry detergent booster which removes white marks and stiffness that’s caused by hard water. Customers report that this product is effective in softening water and reducing issues caused by hard water.
This product is of excellent quality and cleans your clothes perfectly, while leaving no annoying residue on them. It works by controlling the minerals in your hard water (1/2 tablespoon should do the trick) and rinses off completely so that none of it is left behind on your laundry.
We were impressed with this product’s effectiveness and ability to reduce limescale in your pipes and washing machine. Its formula is soluble and non-toxic so you can be sure that it’s safe to use in your septic system as well.
Main Complaint: Spilling from packaging
“The last several bags I’ve received have all leaked, damaging every other item in the box. I like the laundry powder, it would get 5 stars if it weren’t for terribly packaging.”
The Bottom Line
Hard water has many negative impacts on your home and notably on your clothes. By choosing the best laundry detergent for hard water, you can reduce the damage to your clothes that’s caused by hard water and keep them clean, soft and looking new for longer.
Purchasing the right detergent will also save you money in the long run, as they’re more efficient and may even last longer than regular detergent. As regular detergent isn’t very effective, many people end up using more than they would if the detergent dissolved and worked better in hard water.
Overall, the right hard water detergent can help you combat the negative effects of hard water on your clothes, in an easy and effective way.
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