There are many different symptoms of hard water. Having hard water in your house can affect many things ranging from the mineral levels in your body, the cleanliness of your fixtures, and even how well your appliances run. Understanding how hard water affects different things in your home and body helps you determine if hard water is a problem.
There are several ways hard water can affect your appliances. In dishwashers, spots will be visible on your glasses and dishes. Washing machines that use hard water tend to make your clothes feel stiffer, scratchy, wear out faster and leave clothes looking less vibrant because of damages to the fibers in the clothing. The water heater in your house builds up limescale from the hard water which not only damages the heater but also causes a high energy bill and slows the efficiency of the other water-based appliances in your home. What you cannot see is that hard water also leaves deposits in the pipes, which can slowly cause blockage.
Hard water affects our bodies in a more noticeable manner. Hard water leaves a sticky soap film on your skin which can trap bacteria or dirt, preventing you from truly getting clean and may even cause breakouts and irritation. Hard water on your hair can cause it to feel sticky, look greasy or dull and hard to manage and style.
Hard water also leaves noticeable shower scum on glass doors, bathroom tiles and a ring around your bathtub.
On a general level, anything requiring soap (your washing machine, dishwasher, liquid dish soap, shampoo, etc.) would need more soap to cut through the effects of hard water. The harder the water the more soap that would be required.