Home Improvement

Hard Water: What Is a Good Hardness Level for Water?

Water is supposed to make you feel clean, but hard water can leave behind a residue on your hands, clothes, and dishes that can make you feel unclean. Hardened water can leave behind hard water stains that look gross and are hard to clean, too.

You may be curious about the hardness of your water and wish to test it for yourself. Thankfully, it is a painless process that you can do today. Get started with this guide below.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water contains high levels of minerals dissolved within it. Having more of these minerals means having harder water. The harder the water, the more soap it takes to lather, and the more residue it leaves behind.

Understanding Water Hardness

Water hardness is in either parts per million (ppm), milligrams per liter (mg/L), or grains per gallon (gpg). Home and professional tests measure the amount of calcium carbonate present in the water supply and give you a numeric value to help you understand and visualize the information.

Below is a water hardness scale that includes both gpg and mg/L.

  • Soft Water: 0-3 gpg or less than 50 mg/L
  • Moderately hard water: 3-7 gpg or 50-120 mg/L
  • Hard water: 7-11 gpg or 120-180 mg/L
  • Very hard water: 11-15 gpg or 180-257 mg/L
  • Extremely hard water: over 15 gpg or above 257 mg/L

Note: ppm and mg/L are interchangeable.

Testing Your Water

There are a few ways to test for water hardness, depending on your area of residence. Here are some ways to test your water hardness level:

DIY Water Bottle Test

The easiest way to test for water hardness is with a water bottle. Fill a water bottle two-thirds of the way up, add a few drops of dish soap, screw the cap tightly, and shake for 15 seconds.

Look through the water bottle for cloudiness and bubbles that rise to the top of the water. The cloudiness indicates hardness.

Use soap that has no additional ingredients for more accurate results.

DIY Testing Kit

Your local hardware store will have DIY hard water testing kits for sale, which you can also find in online stores. Purchase a water testing kit and get ready to perform the test.

Testing kits can come as digital indicators, test strips, or color disks.

Fill a bowl, cup, or another object with water. Place the strip into the water, then extract it and note the new color. Check the supplied color chart for results.

Municipal Results

Big cities typically run professional-grade tests for water hardness. Call their office or search for their results online. If you’re curious about water hardness in other areas, look here to find water hardness by zip code.

Ways to Deal With Hard Water

You can fix hard water with a hard water shower filter, or whole house water softener. Try using a dedicated hard water stain remover to clean tough stains.

Is Your Water Too Hard?

All municipal tap water has some hardness; the minerals from pipes can tag along with water flowing to your home. You want your water hardness to be around 0-3 gpg or up to 50 mg/L.

If you have hard water in your home, then consider softening the water. A whole house water softener can purify the water for your entire home. Look through water softening systems and choose the best one for you.

For more insightful articles on a range of topics, be sure to check out more of our blog.


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