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Water Questions & Answers

Chemistry and Water


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Water Questions & Answers
Why can't I rinse the soap off my hands?


The terms "soft water" and "hard water" are important here. Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, and hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use hard water, then washing your hands and bathing with soap could leave a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage. Washing with hard water also makes it harder to work the soap up into a lather.

Hard water can also leave a film or spots on glasses taken out of the automatic dishwasher and can contribute to calcium buildup (scale) inside of water pipes. Hard water can even shorten the life of fabrics and clothes. Hard water is prevalent in some parts of the country, and sometimes water-softening chemicals that reduce the amount of calcium and magnesium are added to the water.

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Page Last Modified: Monday, 17-Mar-2014 11:03:30 EDT