Salt can be used to soften hard water.
Hard water is known to leave gray, dirty stains on bright, shiny clothes and fabrics. Washing clothes in hard water can leave whites and light colors with an overall grayish cast; clothes can get dirty even after repeated washing. Treating the water to soften it before washing clothes is the best way to eliminate the problem. A whole-house water conditioner is a possibility, but the water for each individual load can be treated with common household water softeners such as salt or baking soda. Choosing the right laundry detergent can also help eliminate problems caused by hard water.
Softening hard water before cleaning clothes is an effective way to avoid the problems associated with washing with hard water.
Minerals in hard water vary depending on geography. The best way to tell if hard water is a problem is to look at white, light clothing. Items that have been washed in hard water and left in the washing machine often show signs of rust, usually in the form of small dots in the form of machine drain holes. An overall dull and gray appearance is another sign of washing clothes with hard water. Repeated washing will not eliminate gray discoloration unless the water is first softened.
Clothes left in the washing machine using hard water often develop rust-like stains.
Conditioning or softening the water that enters the home is the most convenient way to eliminate the problems caused by washing clothes with hard water. Installing a water softening system should improve the quality of water used for drinking, bathing and washing, but it can be expensive. Adding a water conditioner to the washing machine before putting on the clothes will soften the water enough to improve the result without a big investment. The water softener or conditioner is sold in the laundry section of home improvement stores and department stores. Alternatively, table salt or baking soda can be used to soften the water instead of a conditioning formula.
Soap-based and hand-made detergents are not recommended for washing clothes in hard water.
Once the water has been conditioned, choosing the right detergent will help eliminate hard water damage. A real detergent is the best choice; Handcrafted and soap-based soaps may not produce the best results. Washing clothes at the temperature recommended by the detergent manufacturer also improves the result. In many cases, washing clothes in hard water requires using the hottest setting possible to fully dissolve the detergent and clean the clothes.