How to Remove Hard Water Stains on White Clothing

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How to Remove Hard Water Stains on White Clothing
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You wash your clothes according to the garment labels, but you see hard water stains on dark clothes or light clothes when you take them out. It is not your washing machine's fault; the problem is in the water. This reality is so frustrating to deal with, but why does it happen, and what can you do about it?

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Hard Water Stains on Dark Clothes or White Clothes

Hard water can leave yellow marks on light-colored clothing and linens, which can resemble perspiration stains. Hard water stains on dark clothes can appear as whitish residue. You may also see other colors depending on the mineral content in the water. Hard water can leave your clothing and other laundered items looking dingy and stiff too.

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Water hardness is defined as the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in water. When water is hard, it has more of these, and you can see and feel the effects. If your water is hard, you may feel residue on your hands after washing them with soap. If you have hard water, you need to figure out how to better clean in your home; this includes your dishware, hair, body and laundry.

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Surprisingly, 85 percent of people living in the United States have hard water, so you have likely experienced the stains. To remove them from white clothing, add a cup of white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water, soak the garments for 30 minutes and then rinse and launder as usual. You can also soak a cloth in distilled water and apply that to the stains. These methods can also work on hard water stains on dark clothes.

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Laundry Detergent for Hard Water

Many people with hard water choose to install a water softening system in their home, and this can cost anywhere from $500 to $6,000. You need to consult with a professional to ensure that your chosen system is suitable for your home's size and the number of people living there. Labor and installation rates will probably add more to the cost of a new water softener.

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If you don't want to go to all that trouble, you can wash your laundry in warmer water. This warmth increases the rate of chemical reactions and can improve the cleanliness of your laundry, but hot water is damaging to fabrics and uses more energy. You can also try adding more detergent to your loads to see if that helps. Alternatively, you can look for laundry detergent for hard water.

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A high-quality laundry detergent for hard water can certainly work wonders. These have low pH, so they can better dissolve those minerals and eliminate continuous hard water buildup. Some detergents, like 9 Elements Liquid Laundry Detergent, are formulated with vinegar to remove hard water residue. Another recommendation is Tide Heavy-Duty Hygienic Clean Detergent.

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More Helpful Laundry Detergent Tips

Liquid detergents are better for hard water because they dissolve faster, react less with the minerals and are better suited for pretreating stains and hand-washing. Powder detergents can be effective in hard water because some contain water-softening ingredients, such as sodium carbonate. These do not dissolve as readily in cold water, though, and are prone to clumping when moisture is in the air.

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You can also find laundry detergent pods made for hard water, but they are the more expensive choice. These are pretty convenient to use, but you cannot measure them out and add a little bit more to your load if you want to. They are also not compatible with hand-washing.

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