How to Test for Hard Water

Most homeowners may have a lot of complaints about water quality. And one of the most common is the issue of hard water.

As a homeowner too, you need to know what hard water is and how to test for it.

In this article, you will learn what it is and how you can test for it so that you quickly find solution to it if you have it in your home. However, if you know that you already need one, you can see our review of the best water softener.

Hard water is a kind of water that contains high levels of natural minerals and metals, notably magnesium and calcium.​ Generally, hard water is not considered a health concern – if it is, the disaster would have been greater than what we have now. However, it can cause excessive buildups in your hot-water heating systems, water pipes, sinks, and other equipment that uses water. It can be a great nuisance to most homeowners as it does not clean dishes and laundry as much as soft water does. An even greater nuisance is that it usually requires more soap and detergent to clean suds, often leading to extra cleaning cost.

Now that you know the negative effects of hard water, the next question that should come to your mind is, how can you test for it? Well, there are many ways to do that. The most efficient way is through a laboratory test. You provide a sample and the test is drawn. However this can be costly and even takes a long period to get the result. If you don’t want to experience the wait, you may want to find out faster and more inexpensive was of doing this. The methods below will give you a less precise, but faster result:​


The Soapsuds Test

Testing for hard water can be a simple exercise like examining soapy water. With a soapy water solution, you can easily test for the hardness of water in your home. Follow these steps to complete this test:

  • Obtain a plastic bottle with a tight fitting cover
  • Add about 8 ounce of water to the cup (which should be about 1/3 of the space in the cup).
  • Make sure this water is directly from the mouth of your faucet.
  • Add 10 drops of pure liquid soap (don’t use detergent) and shake well for a few seconds (preferably more than 10 seconds).
  • Put the bottle down and examine the result.

If the water foams up quickly, with lots of suds and water below the suds is clear and obvious, then this is an indication of water that is not hard. However if the result is contrary such as having cloudy water below the suds, then this indicates that you have hard water.


DIY Test Kit

When you look through many online retailers like and other home improvement and hardware stores, you will find a disparaging number of home test kits. You are looking for a home test kit that is produced by a reputable water testing manufacturer. This kit should be able capable of testing for hardness of water.

This is a specific recommendation, choosing any other test kit may not give you the result you want. Some test kits will only test for contaminants while some others will test for the overall quality and safety of water. The latter is much closer to what you are looking for. When you see one, grab it and you are ready to carry out your test. You will be performing a wet-strip test, by following these steps:

  • Fill a container with tap water.
  • Bring out the paper test strip and submerge into the water.
  • Next compare the color of the paper with that of the kit’s chart.
  • Look at the instructions to see the level of hardness of your water.
  • You should be able to see not only the level of hardness but also how safe or harmful the water is.

As you see from the tests above, you can easily test for hard water without spending a fortune in the process. After you have determined the level of hardness of your water, the next step is to determine whether you need to take further steps or not. If your tests show that you have hard water, the next step is to find a solution to the problem. One of these is to install a water softener system, which has been proven to solve the hard water problem for many people. We have reviewed the best models on the market here to make it easy for you to choose one that suits your families needs

About the Author Harry Thompson

Gaining a BSc Honours in building/ property maintenance at the University of Portsmouth Harry went into the field of renovating properties. Along the journey, he has developed a wide variety of home & garden DIY skills such as installing new kitchens and landscaping gardens.