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Thread: The problem of hard water

  1. #1

    Default The problem of hard water

    Being the owner of a home with a well and a water softener I forgot to fill, I got to experience what hard water does to your shave.

    It affects it a lot more than I thought it would. The biggest problem is the soap scum. It makes your face and razor "sticky". It feels as if the lather is drying out, but it's not.

    Soft water provides a much superior shave. So much so, that it would be a reason to buy a softener if you don't have one or use distilled water to lather and rinse.

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    You will find many other testimonials to this experience on the forum. NON hard water is really great, yet there are those that protest SOFT water as making it too difficult to get a clean rinse.
    Best regards,
    Ron
    vita non est vivere sed valere vita est

  3. #3
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    It's kind of ironic actually. The "slick" feeling you get from soft water is actually the normal way wet skin should feel. It's the soap scum residue that gives the "tacky" feel that most associate with a clean rinse. Soft water actually rinses cleaner.

    If you've grown up with hard water like many have, it's hard to get used to the "slick" feel. You think there's still soap on you.

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    I'm no chemist (actually I am a Physicist ) but it kind of strikes me that you should be able to soften water.

    Hard Water would be Alkali (Lime) and have a pH around 8.5.

    Soft Water is slightly acid and would have a pH of around 5.5.

    If this doesn't make sense so far, well I'm sorry

    So why couldn't add a couple of drops of something acid to neutralise or even acidify the pH???

    So what to use?

    Aquarium shops sell pH stabilising solutions (pH up or pH down) so you could add 1 or 2 drops to the sink of water and VOILA the lower pH=Soft Water.

    I dunno!

    I'm at work and bored

    Cheers

    Mat
    Due to lack of interest tomorrow is cancelled!

  5. #5

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    Mat, I'd advise against this as, unless you have an accurately calibrated pH meter, you don't really know how much acid to put in. You also may not know what the acid and alkali are forming when they mix, how they might affect your skin, or how they might affect your shave. If you don't want to get a water softener, boiling the water first will remove hardness. It also gives you a nice supply of hot water for your lather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PZBarber View Post
    Hard Water would be Alkali (Lime) and have a pH around 8.5.

    Soft Water is slightly acid and would have a pH of around 5.5.
    From where did you get this information
    Those values seem to extreme for me... not an expert but still.
    I do not believe, however that hardness has a lot to tho with acidty and more with concentration of salts and other ions (CaCO3 has no H ions), but I may be wrong.
    "Shave daily, if at all possible, even if you have to use a piece of glass to do it. Even if you have to give your last piece of bread for it"

  7. #7

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    Ah, the sorrows of hard water. We here in the Atlanta burbs don't just ahve hard water....we have ice (rimshot). It's tough, and causes razor skippage, which isn't fun.

    Today, however, I discovered a method for preventing RSS (Razor Skippage Syndrome). Granted, works best on rounded-top DE razors -- I can't imagine it would work too well with gull-wing style ones.

    Anyway, it occurred to me that my RSS was caused mostly when the rounded head of the razor glided (glid?) against my skin...or rather, didn't glide. This is, I'm sure, a newbie technique issue, as really, the head shouldn't be touching the skin if the angle is right. But anyway, after noticing this, I decided, "hmmm, what if I reduce the friction of the razor head on my face?" So, before each stroke, I ran the head of the razor across my shaving soap, and voila! Reduced friction -> no RSS!

    So there you go. Until I'm deft enough to get the 30-ish-degree angle every stroke, I'll be using the BBRHD Method (Benjy's Bad-Ass Razor Head Dippage) to prevent RSS. Dippage = no Skippage! That oughtta be a bumper sticker.

    -benjy
    "Judge me by my size, do you? Hmmm?"

  8. #8
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    Yes, you can fix the Ph with additives. As long as you can neutralize the minerals that react with the soap to form soap scum, it could fix the problem.

    I'm not sure simply altering the Ph would do that though. Ion exchange water softeners actually remove the minerals in the water and replace them with salt. Acidifying the water would make sure the minerals stay dissolved, but since it isn't actually removing them, as soon as the Ph changes (i.e. adding soap), the minerals could come out of solution again.

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    Like I said

    I'm a Physicist not a Chemist

    Go play with your minerals and salts!

    What do I care?

    I live in soft water area and get fantastic lather all the time, every time.

    Ner Ner Nee Ner Ner

    Cheers

    Mat
    Due to lack of interest tomorrow is cancelled!

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    Right - it is the dissolved minerals in the water causing the problem and slightly altering the pH. Adjusting the pH will do nothing for the dissolved minerals. That is why you need a softener with the filter matrix that adsorbs those minerals.

    I have nastily hard water and a softener. The problem is that is is not a consistent "softness" to the water. As time goes in between regenerations there is a change in the water, plus that water gets stored in the hot water tank. Great joy when you are first starting with this...

    Dennis

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    I have terrible water (hard and tons of other stuff in it). I have a water treatment system downstairs, but it's just a pain to get every morning. So instead, I find which products work well with hard water and adjust my techniques to the specific water. I can get great shaves with hard or soft water, now. Sure, I could use a wider variety of soaps/creams with better water, but for right now, I have more variety than I can use.

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    I fear that boiling hard water does nothing but produce hot hard water: it doesn't soften the water at all. Boil it long enough, and it increases the concentration of minerals, in fact.

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    From wikipedia, for one type of hard water:

    Boiling, which promotes the formation of carbonate from the bicarbonate, will precipitate calcium carbonate out of solution, leaving water that is less hard on cooling.

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    I'll be damned. The problem, as I think Will Rogers pointed out, is not what you don't know, but what you do know that ain't so.

    Thanks. I had no idea. My fear was unfounded.

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    I may be a bit behind the curve, but what about filters? I know things like Brita filters remove things like chlorine, lead, and mercury, but do they remove lime and other "water hardeners"? I'm in Columbus, but I have no idea if we have soft or hard water
    "Anything easy ain't worth a d@mn." -- Woody Hayes

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoBuckeyes View Post
    I may be a bit behind the curve, but what about filters? I know things like Brita filters remove things like chlorine, lead, and mercury, but do they remove lime and other "water hardeners"? I'm in Columbus, but I have no idea if we have soft or hard water

    It will remove some by virtue of the minerals depositing on the filter's large surface area, but it won't effectively remove a significant quantity of the minerals. If it did, it would probably clog in a matter of days.

    BTW water filter life is shortened by harder water. Mineral scale deposits interfere with the filtering media.

  17. #17

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    Amazing all the misinformation here about hard and soft water. Boiling water will do nothing to soften water. hard water in a water heater over a loooong time will become full of precipitated minerals, thats true but thats over years. boiling a small amount of water a few minutes will do nothing to soften the water unless you evporate all the water and catch the condensate like a distiller. Adding chemicals does nothing to soften water. It will neutralize the water but that has nothing to do with the hardness. The baseness of the water is a symptom of the problem not the problem itself. If you have a water softener than runs according to demand and not a timer you will always have consistantly soft water. It takes only a slight amount of hard water mixed into soft to harden the whole batch.Lastly the slickness you feel on your skin when you have softened water does not come from the soft water but from the salt in the water which comes from the softening process. Its the same if you bath in sea water as any navy man will tell you. If you wash with distilled water you will not get that slippery feel.

  18. #18
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    I've got slight to moderate hard water here in Orlando, Florida (formerly known as Krypton). Somewhere in there on the testing strip, between the two, with more towards the hard than soft side. Florida and most of the US is like this, with some states such as George or Texas having really hard water. It even varies by where your water comes from. When I was in Tulsa last summer visiting relatives they had fairly soft water (and a shower never felt better) as the water came from a rain resevoir lake, but alot of the rest of the state uses groundwater which is hard.

    A water softener will probably pay for itself with the reduced soap you use in your clothes... and your shaving, plus it cuts down on mechanical failures of water-using appliances. However, currently I don't have softened water- but I may have to. I do use distilled water heated in a microwave to prime my brush, soap, etc. and it seems to work better than using tap water. If you do use a water softener, keep the water slightly hard because soft water will corrode copper pipes in time, leaching the copper into the water.

    If you do use hard water, very hard water, you'll have to watch what products you use. Look for products with lather enhancers or water softeners. Tom's of Maine and Williams shaving soap seem to work well and they both have lather enhancers/water softeners, whereas other products take more soap or a longer period of time to lather.
    Last edited by Magnulus; 07-20-2007 at 12:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thebigspendur View Post
    hard water in a water heater over a loooong time will become full of precipitated minerals, thats true but thats over years.
    Check. Just replaced our hot water tank. The last one was from 1973.

    If you have a water softener than runs according to demand and not a timer you will always have consistantly soft water. It takes only a slight amount of hard water mixed into soft to harden the whole batch.
    Check. The softener is at least as old as the previous tank.

    Dennis

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