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Washing Cloth Diapers in Hard Water – Yarna Saved My CD Stash

Washing Cloth Diapers in Hard Water – Yarna Saved My CD Stash

You may be wondering how to clean cloth diapers when you have hard water at your house? Hard water has a high mineral content, which can make it challenging to get your diapers clean. Washing cloth diapers in hard water is a real challenge to a lot of cloth diapering parents. If this is you, you have found the best resource for understanding exactly what hard water is, how it affects you, and what to do about it. So let’s get started.

In a hurry?
If you’d like to skip all of the hard water techie stuff, you can jump right into viewing the YARNA Whole House Electronic Water Softener & Descaler – Available Here on Amazon. It’s not an exageration to say it saved my cloth diaper stash and my famlies clothes! This thing is so easy to install and much cheaper than what I was spending on Calgon or adding salts to my old whole house softener!

What Is Hard Water?

Given that over 60% of this earth’s water supply is groundwater that moves through stone and soil, picking up minerals, among them magnesium and calcium, as they go along. Calcium is also a naturally occurring situation of the underground water supply. Hard water is caused by a build-up of magnesium and calcium that water picks up through sediment and stone before entering the home.

Hard water is simply a measure of the calcium and magnesium in your water. Commonly, hardness can be measured in milligrams per liter, grains per gallon or parts per million. As a result of the dissolved calcium, it generally, although not always, has a pH greater than 7 (neutral).

Is Hard Water Harmful?

Hard water is fine for many applications about a residence, including sprinkling a backyard, cleaning automobiles and general outdoors garden care. Hard water isn’t a difficulty for overall health.

Calcium in the water can be helpful for human beings, vegetation, and animals. It does, however, create issues with the build-up of magnesium and calcium inside water system pipes and appliances such as hot water heaters. Damage to these pipes and appliances cost people all-around the earth hundreds of millions of dollars year after year! Quite a few of your difficulties created by hard water are hidden until some malfunction happens in your home’s plumbing system or water-using appliances.

Water Heater Scale

Where Does Hard Water Come From?

Hard water is a problem for many people, especially cloth diapering parents! Hard water is any water that is made up of a considerable amount of dissolved calcium.

Magnesium and calcium are collected within a natural water system as it passes through earth and rock. Calcium is an everyday and naturally occurring reality of underground water sources.

Hard water doesn’t pose a health threat, nor is it regulated by any government or state agencies. The hardness of water can often be confused with alkalinity because both of them are reported in the same units (mg/l CaCO3).

Running Ground Water

What Are The Issues With Hard Water

Hard water creates lots of problems around the home, and some affect you personally, such as your precious cloth diapers! The most harm is to your home appliances, water heating, and water lines. In all cases, the damage is expensive to manage and repair. You know as well as I do that a good cloth diaper stash, even a modest one, is an investment you don’t want to take a chance with!

Common problems will arrise with hard water and can range from nuisances such as “hard water hair” to costly appliance repairs. Hard water causes scaling; where minerals forms a hard deposit known as lime.

The main problems linked to hard water are the mineral deposits which they leave behind on your cloth diapers, other laundry, and within your appliances. Particularly when your appliance handles a lot of water, the limescale can build up. Apart from being unsightly anywhere, it accumulates, this particular scale can block pipes or cut short the life of flushing toilets and water heating systems. The plumbing and water heating systems often clog up so badly, they have to be replaced. Expensive system repairs from a plumber will likely then become inevitable

One other issue is related to how hard water responds to soap and the residue that it leaves. That is why cloth diapers that are laundered in hard water don’t get clean and feel rigid and scratchy immediately after laundering. Hard water deposits are also why your cloth diapers stop absorbing and begin smelling nasty!

Another unwanted effect of hard water is that in some cases, it worsens existing skin complaints. What’s more, where the water is especially challenging, or the people using it (such as your baby) are especially prone to this, hard water can cause things including skin rashes, psoriasis, and eczema.

The scale deposited by hard water is also known to increase energy expenses by as much as 25%.

Increased Energy Bills

Hard Water Decreases the Life Span of Appliances, Laundry, and Cloth Diapers
Hard water decreases the lifespan and performance of appliances, increases electricity intake, results in dull cloth diaper laundry and crockery and utensils and damages skin and hair. Once heated up, dissolved hard-water minerals re-crystallize and make scale which eventually clogs up the pipes, bringing down water movement through pipes. These metals interact with the substances making your water pipes and appliances and eats into them. The minerals tend to form deposits on the surfaces of water heating elements, baths, and inside hot water plumbing.

Hard Water Increases Your Energy Costs
This leads to greater power costs for heaters and pricey repairs for coffee machines, cooling systems, heat components, solar collectors, water heating elements, etc. and it also encourages bacterial growth. Hard water even considerably decreases the functional life of your water pipes, household appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, A/C unit, etc.), along with any plumbing-related fittings throughout your home.

The scale is highly insoluble and is hard to clear away after built up, usually contributing to expensive removal efforts. Water heaters, humidifiers, boilers, and domestic water lines come to be lined with an increasingly thick covering of calcium and magnesium scale. Utilizing hard water could also raise the expense of home-based water heating by approximately fifteen to twenty percent.

Hard water scale inside a water heater creates an insulating layer that stops the burners or heating components from heating up water economically. Only 1/8″ of scale in the water heating tank may demand as much as 30% extra fuel to heat up the water to the required heat level.

Hard Water Hot Water Heater Scale

How Do You Know If You Have Hard Water?


When you use cleaning soap or detergent products, it has poorer efficiency in comparison to soft water – it produces much less lather. Hard water definitely hikes soap utilization plus the quantity of “soap scum” formed on dishes.

You can find out if the water is too hard before it comes to clearing up major accumulation. Hard water is normally taken to suggest water containing minerals over 121 mg/L, micrograms per liter of H2O, or above 7 grains of hardness in each gallon.

The easiest way to tell is to agitate some soap in a sink full of water. If it does not lather up really easily, you probably have hard water. Soap will make lots of bubbles in soft water.

A few other tell-tell signs of hard water are dingy looking clothes, clothes that feel hard or scratchy, the film left on a glass shower door or walls, water spots left on clean dishes, and dull-looking hair. You can also test the water to see just how hard it is.

How To Wash Cloth Diapers In Hard Water 2

Water Testing

The majority of us that think about water testing and the water quality in our area are more concerned about the fact that we drink the water than any other reason.  The fact of the matter is, however, there are a variety of different reasons why people use water, and it may be necessary for them to test the water regularly in order to make sure that there are not any problems.

Who Needs to Test Water?

Of all of the different people who test their water regularly, it is individuals that live on a well-system that tend to be the most cautious.  Wellwater testing is extremely important, not just for the sake of your cloth diapers but particularly because you are sharing water with an underground table that is vulnerable to a number of different environmental issues.  It might not even be in your specific area where these problems occur, yet the only way for you to know whether you are affected directly is through well water testing.  That is why it is important for you to make sure that you schedule these tests to be done on a regular basis.

Testing Your Water With Test Strips

If home testing strips is the route you want to go, I recommend the ON4HOME Home Testing Kit, which you can find HERE on Amazon.


Testing Your Water With Castile Soap

If you’d prefer to use Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap method, you can also pick it up on Amazon HERE.


I’ve Been Washing Cloth Diapers in Hard Water! Now What?

The problem with washing diapers in hard water is that the minerals in the water make it difficult to get all the detergent rinsed out, which can lead to buildup issues, stinky diapers, and diapers that don’t work very well. And, hard water just does not get things as clean as soft water, so your diapers may not be getting as clean as they could, leaving them looking dingy.

Washing Cloth Diapers in Hard Water Here’s How


  • Add a small amount, 1/2 a cup or so, of vinegar to the rinse cycle. This has helped many people with hard water issues. Use caution, however. Sometimes adding vinegar to hard water actually makes the situation worse! It just really depends on the mineral makeup of your water. If you notice your diapers getting really stinky, stop using vinegar and see if the stink goes away.
  • Use a water softener in the rinse cycle of your wash. Calgon and other water softeners can be found in the laundry aisle at the supermarket.
  • You can purchase a water softening tank that you attach to your water supply. This is an expensive option but will be noticed throughout your household, from cleaner dishes to shinier hair.
  • Try using a little more detergent in your wash. Experiment. Sometimes you just need a little more soap to get things clean with hard water.
  • If you do have hard water, you will probably have to strip your diapers more often than those lucky moms with soft water.

The name of the game here, as always, is to experiment! How to clean cloth diapers with hard water depends on many factors, and it may take a little bit to figure out what works best in your household.

So let’s break these down.

When Washing Cloth Diapers in Hard Water Try:

1. Vinegar

White vinegar is not highly acidic, but it can be used to remove some stains and break up hard water when doing the laundry. White vinegar helps get out detergent residues, restore the pH balance, whiten whites, and soften the diapers when added to the wash/rinse in the fabric softener dispenser or Downy Ball.

2. Liquid Water Softener

Calgon is a liquid water softener that you add to your wash load. It comes in a rather small bottle. We tried this method and used 2 bottles every week. At $5+ per bottle, we decided to find a better solution.

3. Water Softening Tank

Water softeners are usually total home water treating systems, employed to reduce water hardness and are also regarded as the 1st step for improving the quality of water used in your household. Water softeners are traditionally used to improve hard water, which carries dissolved calcium and even magnesium, making your cloth diapers stiff, smelly and sometimes discolored.

Water Softening Tanks are a hassle to maintain! We were constantly adding salts! We eventually removed ours!

4. Install An Electrical Water Softening Device

YARNA Whole House Electronic Water Softener & Descaler – Available on Amazon

5. Detergent

Use more detergent than the manufacturer recommends. I mean really lay it on! This method only works if your water is slightly hard. Using the right laundry detergent for your cloth diapers helps also.

6. Stripping Your Cloth Diapers

We have an excellent article on stripping your cloth diapers.



Precipitating water softeners

Precipitating water filters work by putting a solution into a large amount of water, such as a washing machine or a dishwasher.  When you run the machine, the solution mixes with the water, and the minerals create non-soluble particles that have the Calcium and Magnesium ions in it. After things have been washed with these separated particles, they have to be washed to get the particles off. This keeps the particles from hurting the clothes and dishes. The bad side is that the particles make the water cloudy; they can cling to the fabric of clothes. If this happens, the deposit can make the fabric harsh, and it can also change certain dyes.

Non-precipitating water softeners

Non-precipitating water softeners are also solutions that you put into the water. These break up the minerals in the water and keep them from depositing on the clothes, dishes, or whatever is in the water. Because this type of water softener holds the minerals, there is no need to rinse things after they have been washed to get particles off of them. Non-precipitating water softeners have fewer disadvantages to them than precipitating water softeners, and they can even deal with the problems that precipitating water softeners create. They are able to restore colors and fabrics to their original state by taking the Ca and Mg from them, and the water stays clear.



Precipitating and Non-precipitating Water Softeners. http://www.angelfire.com/amiga2/linde4723/precip.html

Ecowater Systems – News. http://ecowatersystemsla.weebly.com/news.html