Does Reverse Osmosis Effectively Soften Hard Water? - Mayu Water Answers

Does Reverse Osmosis Effectively Soften Hard Water?

Soft water is healthier for pipes and easier to drink. Discover the effectiveness of reverse osmosis for softening hard water here.

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By Cameron-Leigh Henning
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Mayu Water
Edited by Nevena Radulović

Updated June 12, 2023.

The process of softening water involves removing calcium and magnesium from the water, as these minerals cause hard water, which can be problematic for households.

Soft water is beneficial because it prevents the build-up of scale inside fixtures, pipes, and water heaters, prolongs the life of some appliances, and reduces mineral spots on glassware, sinks, bathtubs, and washing machines. Water can be softened using reverse osmosis—a water treatment process that removes contaminants and is very effective at removing even the essential minerals, helping soften hard water.

» Learn more about the benefits of reverse osmosis

Is Reverse Osmosis a Good Water Softener?

Hard water can be identified in a few ways, including feeling a film on your hands after washing them. You'll also see mineral spots on glassware and silverware from the dishwasher and mineral stains on your clothes when they come out of the washing machine. Another sign you have hard water is having weak water pressure in your home due to mineral deposits in the pipes.

Because of its effectiveness at removing minerals, reverse osmosis can be used to soften hard water. It works by using high pressure to force water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane with a pore size of 0.0001 microns, effectively removing chemical contaminants, sodium, chloride, copper, lead, chromium, fluoride, arsenic, sulfate, nitrate, and essential minerals.

» Discover how to remineralize reverse osmosis water

How Reverse Osmosis Differs from Water Softeners

Whereas reverse osmosis works as a water filter to remove contaminants and minerals, water softeners are filtration systems that specifically target magnesium and calcium minerals through a process called ion exchange.

However, while a reverse osmosis system can replace a water softener by removing the minerals that cause hard water, it wastes a lot of water in the process. Therefore, a water softener is a more effective and economical solution if water hardness is your problem.

In Summary

Hard water can wreak havoc by blocking pipes and shortening the lifespan of appliances. Reverse osmosis is effective at softening water, but it does have its drawbacks. A better treatment option for hard water is a water softener that will actually soften it, as opposed to reverse osmosis, which just filters it.

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