They say one of the first steps is admitting you have a problem… Well… I have hard water. Do you?
How do you know you have it? Wikipedia states that approximately 85% of the households in the United States have hard water. That doesn’t mean 85% needs to use a water softener to get clean laundry. A smaller percentage, maybe 10% will find that their water is hard enough to warrant adding softener.
A super easy way to know if you have hard water is if your dishes are spotted after they dry. Hard water also leaves a soap scum film on showers and sinks. You can buy a water test kit like the Calgon Water Softener at your local hardware store if you are wondering exactly where your water falls. Basically, soap doesn’t work as efficiently in hard water and is also harder to rinse out.
**Those with soft water can use vinegar to help with washing woes. But beware; if you have hard water, vinegar could make your problems WORSE. The vinegar can react with minerals in your hard water and cause yellowing and stink issues!
Calgon Water Softener
Calgon is a water softener that promises to help make your laundry whiter and brighter and will get laundry cleaner than detergent alone… It says so right on the label. Ha ha!
I know you are wondering how can Calgon solve your cloth diaper laundry issues. It works because it removes the hard water minerals from your water allowing the detergent to more effectively to clean your diapers. Because the water will be softer, the detergent will rinse more effectively as well.
I have used Calgon off and on since I started cloth diapering. The loads I use Calgon in do seem to come out fresher and somewhat softer than usual. I use the same amount of detergent that I normally use, but it looks soapier using the Calgon. Which makes me FEEL like everything is getting cleaner, but that part is really just in my head.
Like anything else, adding something to your wash routine will add to the cost of doing laundry. However, for those with issues the added expense may be worth it. Cleaner diapers with less buildup means less chance of rashes and more of a chance of keeping our sanity. I know that when I start to have laundry issues, it can drive me nuts trying to figure out how to fix them!
Calgon in the liquid version can be purchased in any grocery store’s laundry section. The powder version seems to be a little harder to find. Amazon stocks a reasonably priced 2-pack of the powdered Calgon.
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.