Soft water is essentially free of dissolved calcium or magnesium. A small percentage of homes are supplied with naturally soft water. But since naturally soft water usually has not been neutralized by passing through mineral layers in the ground, it can be quite corrosive. Softening water mechanically, such as with a home water softener, does not make it corrosive, however.
Since calcium and magnesium are not present in soft water, no adverse reaction with soaps and detergents occurs. The result is the virtual elimination of soap scum and the corresponding reduction in time spent cleaning. Hair and skin can "breathe" more readily.
And the School of Consumer & Family Sciences at Purdue University recently conducted a study which proved that the life of clothing and household textiles was prolonged up to 15 percent when they were washed in conditioned water.
Soap usage can be dramatically reduced with soft water. Since the water is already soft, the cleaning agents have no hardness minerals to react with and overcome, lather more readily and work more effectively. In fact, a large proportion of the ingredients in most soaps and detergents consist of chemical "water softeners" added to prevent the reaction between the detergent and the hardness minerals present in most water (the reaction that forms a sticky residue or soap curd). Since such chemicals are not necessary for cleaning with soft water, less soap is required.
Soft water households experience considerable savings on laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, bath soap, hand soap, shampoo and many other cleaning products.
Many soft water users purchase pure soaps, products that do not contain additional chemicals or perfumes. These supplies are generally less expensive but clean just as well as (if not better than) their heavily advertised counterparts.
Since soft water contains no scale forming minerals, it leaves the inside of plumbing and water using appliances free of solidified rock. Appliances operate more efficiently and last longer when using soft water. Leading appliance manufacturers have recognised the problems that hard water causes and recommend the use of home water conditioners to help their own products operate more efficiently.