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Cleaning Tip: The Ancient Chinese Secret

Remember that old Calgon commercial? No? Let me refresh your memory.

Good for a chuckle right? But actually, water softener is like magic! It has so many uses around the house, not just laundry. And, it’s cheap. Bonus! Water softener helps increase the cleaning power of your laundry detergent, and help you use about half the amount. You can use it to clean spots off stainless steal sinks and fixtures. Use it in the bathroom for cleaning tile in the shower. Clean coffee pots, and so on and so on. It has a lot of uses, and every mom should have water softener in her tool belt.

You might be thinking, what is hard water and how do I know if I have it? It’s easy. Hard water is just water than has more minerals than usual. You can tell if you have hard water by taking a look around your house. If your towels never really feel soft after washing, this could be from hard water. If you have orange buildup in the shower area (mainly on the grout), or around the sink areas of your house, this could be from hard water. If you try to make a bubble bath, and hardly any bubbles form – you guessed it. Hard water. If you pour a glass of water and can actually smell the minerals, then you have super hard water like I do. It’s a pain, but you can overcome it.

Keeping around water softener, will make your life so much easier. If your whites are dingy, even when you bleach them, try adding water softener. Just use the amount recommended on the box of the brand you buy – generally 1/2 cup. Wash as usual with 1/2 the amount of detergent you usually use. Try this on your towels too! If you have detergent build up on your towels because of the hard water, your towels should go back to feeling softer again. If your clothes seem extra dingy, try doing extra rinses until you see no more suds in the water. This could take a while, depending on how bad the build up on your clothing is.

For cleaning around the house, it’s best to dissolve the water softener in some water, and then apply to whatever you are cleaning. Try putting it in a spray bottle and spritzing it over the tile and grout in your shower. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with the rough side of a sponge or scrub brush. You will have to put some elbow grease into it if you have never done this before, and your build up is really bad. But after that, as long as you maintain it, it will be easy. You can clean your coffee pot and get all the water spots and coffee stains off the glass pot by simply filling your sink up with enough water to cover the pot. Add about 3 TBSP of water softener to the water, and let the whole things it for a while. When you come back, the stains should wipe away fairly easily. Try this on faucets and metal sinks too. Just be careful not to scratch the surface with it, which is why you want to dissolve it first.

I know some people like to use vinegar, and that can help with hard water for cleaning around the house. But I don’t recommend vinegar for really hard water in the laundry. If you happen to have a lot of lime in your water, vinegar will actually make things worse. So, if you have been struggling with laundry issues, or strange water stains and spots around the house that won’t go away, give water softener a try!


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