Water Hardness and Carpet Cleaning

Map of water hardness in the USA
Water Hardness Chart

The simple definition of water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium and reduces carpet cleaning results.

Soft water gives better cleaning of carpets, rugs and upholstery with softer feeling fibers in less time at lower cost!

The term “hardness” comes from the days of using soap - if the water was hard, it was hard to get the clothes clean!

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 85% of the water in the United States contains hardness minerals.

Water hardness is the concentration of calcium and magnesium carbonate in water, usually measured in ppm (parts per million) or grains per gallon. Calcium carbonate is the primary mineral in hard water.

It takes 17.1 ppm calcium carbonate to equal 1 grain of hardness.

As an example, Indianapolis water is 340 ppm or 19.9 grains of hardness - now that’s hard!

“Hard” water is not as efficient in cleaning as “soft water”. While Bane-Clene Booster™ definitely helps soften water, we ALWAYS suggest the use of a water softener if your water is above 5 grains hardness. If the water you are using is “hard,” much of the cleaning power of the detergents is spent “softening” the water instead of actually cleaning. Additionally, the hard water residue left behind after cleaning will make the carpet less bright, especially noticeable with brighter carpet colors.

When hard water is heated in your solution tank, the hardness minerals are re-crystallized to form hardness scale. This scale can plug spray tips, form an insulating film over your stainless steel heating coils, coat your immersion heater and even cause premature failure, necessitating costly replacement.

Who will test your water for hardness? If you are connected to a municipal supply, call the water superintendent or city hall. They can either provide the answer or direct you to the proper individual.

If you are on a private water supply such as a well, you could contact your county extension agent or collect a sample in an approved container and send to the city or state health department for testing or call a water conditioning company.

Water Softeners

Water softeners are devices designed to replace the water hardness ions (calcium and magnesium) with sodium ions to improve cleaning, reduce scale build-up, and reduce clogging of filters and spray tips. The most economical way to mechanically soften water is with an ion exchange water softener. This unit uses sodium chloride (salt) to recharge man made plastic like beads that exchange hardness minerals for sodium. As the hard water passes through and around these beads, the hardness minerals (ions) attach themselves to the beads, dislodging the sodium ions. This process is called “ion exchange”. When the plastic beads, called Resin, have no sodium ions left, they are exhausted, and can soften no more water. The resin is recharged by flushing with salt water. The sodium ions force the hardness ions off the resin beads; then the excess sodium is rinsed away, and the resin is ready to start the process all over again. This cycle can be repeated many times before the resin loses its ability to react to these forces.

NOTE: Magnetic devices will reduce scaling but will not improve cleaning or prevent a residue in the carpet.

Related Carpet Cleaning Articles and Information:

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Published by: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Copyright: Bane-Clene Corp.

Date Modified: January 29, 2019

Date Originally Published: February 17, 2014