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Top 10 Best Laundry Detergents For Hard Water (Updated)

Top 10 Best Laundry Detergents For Hard Water (Updated)
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Have you ever come across stiff clothes after a long laundry session?

If so, you could be dealing with hard water in your home that is affecting your clothes.

If you have not yet figured out what hard water is and how it differs from normal soft water,  this article will be particularly useful for you.

 

Top 10 Best Laundry Detergents for Hard Water 

 

Tired of dirty laundry?

Here are top 10 detergents that will help you break through the hardness of water, giving you a fresh and soft laundry with every wash!

1. All Liquid Laundry Detergent

all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear for Sensitive Skin, 46.5 Fluid Ounces, 2 Count, 62 Total Loads
575 Reviews
all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear for Sensitive Skin, 46.5 Fluid Ounces, 2 Count, 62 Total Loads
  • all Free Clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin.
  • 100% free of perfumes and dyes, all Free Clear is Tough on Stains, Gentle on Skin.
  • Use with all Free Clear fabric softener and dryer sheets for clean and soft clothes with static cling reduction in the dryer.
  • This laundry detergent is safe to use in any washing machine and at any water temperature.
  • This pack includes two 46.5-fluid-ounce bottle, enough for 62 total loads.


This laundry detergent has been manufactured to prevent stiff clothes that are common in hard water laundry. If you have a hard water supply at your home for laundry, your clothes might feel harsh on the skin, leading to rashes and other skin problems.

This liquid detergent has been made considering just how important softness is to the clothes and eventually to your skin. This ‘tough in stains and gentle on skin’ remedy is all you need to combat fabric stiffness resulting from hard water.

Pros

  • Recommended by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin
  • Free from artificial perfumes and dyes
  • Tough on all types of stains, especially hard water stains
  • Comes equipped with a fabric softener and dryer sheets to provide a fluffy feel to all clothes
  • Safe for use in any washing machine
  • Suitable for any and all water temperatures
  • Can last for up to 62 loads

Cons

  • The design of the container has been an issue
  • Leakage complaints have been prevalent

 

2. Method 4X Concentrated Laundry Detergent


This popular laundry detergent has been the choice of many households owing to its hypoallergenic properties. If you have family members with allergies, this detergent will serve you well.

Not only has it been made using a hypoallergenic formula, but it is biodegradable too. This makes a detergent which is free from artificial fragrances, dyes, brighteners and other non-natural ingredients. If you are all for an organic lifestyle, this laundry detergent fits perfectly in it.

Pros

  • Tough on coffee and tea stains and can remove dirt easily
  • Keeps colors bright and intact with no yellowing effect on clothes
  • Comes equipped with a biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula
  • Protects all white fabrics owing to its clear form
  • Works well in all machine types and water temperatures

Cons

  • Overpowering fragrance can cause allergies in some people
  • The bottle is too compact to carry sufficient detergent for a month’s laundry requirements

 

3. Wisk Deep Clean Laundry Detergent

Wisk Deep Clean Laundry Detergent, Fresh Breeze, 50 Ounce
30 Reviews
Wisk Deep Clean Laundry Detergent, Fresh Breeze, 50 Ounce
  • Attacks trapped body oils and sweat
  • With micro-cleaners
  • Safe for all washing machines
  • Lasting clean and freshness
  • Gives you up to 33 loads


Kid’s laundry can be a really challenging task, especially with those tough stains from playing in the mud, which is why you end up looking for laundry detergents that are powered with micro-cleaners.

If you are also on the lookout for something similar, the Wisk Deep Clean Laundry Detergent has you covered!

Not only does it perform exceptionally well in hard water, but it also ensures freshness to the fabric and uses its micro-cleaning technology to trap body oils and sweat.

This reasonably priced laundry detergent can take care of your month-long laundry, washing up to 33 loads.

Pros

  • Powered with micro-cleaners to clean trapped body oil and sweat from the fabric
  • Works well with all machine types and water temperature
  • Can wash up to 33 loads
  • Ensures a lasting freshness, cleanliness, and fragrance
  • Tough on visible and invisible stains
  • Available in 2 differently sized containers: 33 loads and 66 loads

 

Cons

  • People have complained the product is overpriced
  • Available in only one scent: citrus.

 

4. Rockin’ Green Natural HE Powder Laundry Detergent

Rockin' Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder | Hard Rock (for Hard Water), Lavender Mint | HE, 90 Loads - 45oz Perfect for Cloth Diapers
444 Reviews
Rockin' Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder | Hard Rock (for Hard Water), Lavender Mint | HE, 90 Loads - 45oz Perfect for Cloth Diapers
  • BEST LAUNDRY SOAP - Gentle yet powerful, Rockin Green Hard Rock Laundry Detergent is a safe, strong, clean rinsing natural detergent for people with hard water. Great for weekly basics, bedding or as a cloth diaper detergent.
  • KID-FRIENDLY - Our natural laundry detergent is ideal for sensitive skin. Baby and kid safe, it also rocks on delicates and as a cloth diaper detergent too.
  • CONCENTRATED FORMULA - Rockin Green Hard Rock Laundry Detergent powder is highly concentrated and kicks butt as a laundry soap HE for efficient machines. Contains no fillers or dyes, so all you need is a few tablespoons per load. One bag is enough for up to 90 loads.
  • ROCKIN NATURAL DETERGENT - Our Classic Rock Laundry Detergent powder is free from phosphates, bleach, dyes, optical brighteners, parabens and SLS / SLES. Vegan, gluten free, biodegradable, and never tested on animals.
  • JOIN THE ROCKIN FAMILY - We can all do our part to make the Earth a better place we do ours by rockin the clean so YOU can rock the green!


This one has been nominated as one of the best laundry detergents which are tough on stains and work well in hard water.

If you live in a hard water region, this laundry detergent will take care of all your laundry requirements without the need for a fabric softener.

It has been reasonably priced, so it’s affordable by most and cleans up to 90 loads. This natural laundry detergent contains no chemicals, making it safe for those with allergies and for use with baby clothes.

Pros

  • Made from safe and natural materials and contains no filler or dyes
  • Comes equipped with a clean rinsing formula for a fresh, clean and soft laundry
  • Ideal for sensitive skin
  • Comes equipped with a natural lavender mint scent for fresh smelling clothes
  • Perfectly safe for baby clothes, especially for diapers
  • Free from phosphates and parabens and has never been tested on animals
  • Works well with all machine types and water temperatures

 

Cons

  • Lavender fragrance may be too strong for some people
  • Not as effective in removing tough, dried out stains

 

5. Water Boy Liquid Laundry Detergent

Water Boy Liquid Laundry Detergent- Hard Water Concentrate, Fresh Fragrance- 2 Pack (1 Gallon Total)
4 Reviews
Water Boy Liquid Laundry Detergent- Hard Water Concentrate, Fresh Fragrance- 2 Pack (1 Gallon Total)
  • Hard Water Concentrate by Bubble Bandit
  • All Water Boy products are enzyme based and phosphate free.
  • Formulated for hard water but works in all water conditions
  • Safe for all washing machines including high efficiency
  • ALWAYS FREE SHIPPING! Made in the USA


This particular detergent has been manufactured for HE washers, but it is safe to use on all other machines as well.

If you have a HE installed at home, bring home this liquid laundry detergent that works wonders in hard water.

Hard water laundry is prone to stiffness, and white fabrics can never retain their original color due to the high mineral content of the water.

However, with the Water Boy laundry detergent, you can have your whites looking and feeling as good as new after every wash.

Pros

  • Comes equipped with hard water concentrate, making it perfect for use in hard water
  • Safe to use in all washing machines but especially made for HE washers
  • It can be used in both soft and hard water conditions
  • Comes equipped with biodegradable surfactants and enzymes to fight tough stains
  • Comes in a 2-bottle package at a reasonable price
  • 1 bottle can wash up to 64 loads

Cons

  • Packaging can be improved
  • It does not contain a measuring cap

 

6. Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent

Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent Plus Clorox2 Stain Fighting Enzymes, Original Fresh, 128 Ounce (71 Loads)
61 Reviews
Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent Plus Clorox2 Stain Fighting Enzymes, Original Fresh, 128 Ounce (71 Loads)
  • Works with 100 stains
  • Safe for colors (contains no chlorine bleach)
  • For all machines including HE


This is another laundry detergent that has been manufactured keeping in mind the need to remove tough stains, especially the dried ones, from coffee or tea spills and blood.

A new formula has been introduced with this Purex laundry detergent that claims to combat as many as 100 different stains without causing discoloration and fading.

It has been powered with Clorox 2 stain-fighting enzymes to ensure perfect cleaning inside and out. If you want your fabrics to retain color and fluffiness after every wash, this is a must-have detergent for you.

Pros

  • Works well with all machines, even HE washers
  • Can combat as many as 100 different tough stains
  • Does not cause discoloration or fading
  • Contains no chlorine bleach
  • Leaves your clothes smelling fresh and clean
  • Can wash up to 71 loads

Cons

  • Packaging is questionable as leakage problems have been identified
  • The scent goes away after a while, sooner than it should!

 

7. Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Laundry Detergent

Sale
Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Original, 75 Fluid Ounces, 96 Total Loads (Pack of 2)
1,121 Reviews
Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Original, 75 Fluid Ounces, 96 Total Loads (Pack of 2)
  • Powerful detergent for an exceptional deep clean
  • Great for everyday laundry and to fight tough stains
  • Also available in Power Caps
  • Persil ProClean laundry detergents have been optimized for great performance in all types of machines, including HE
  • This package includes two 75 fluid ounce bottles of Persil ProClean liquid laundry detergent in Original scent, enough for 96 loads


Persil has been among the leading brands when it comes to fabric softeners and detergents. Another product from its diverse portfolio is this impressive laundry detergent that had been powered by a powerful stain-fighting combination to ensure a premium wash.

If you cannot get rid of tough stains such as coffee spills or blood spots, bring home this pack of 2 ProClean detergents and forget stains!

Not only do you get unmatched, premium cleaning, but you get all this at a reasonable price too.

Pros

  • Safe to use on colored clothes and whites
  • Ensures multidimensional cleaning with its Pro10 technology with stain fighting, odor fighting, whitening, anti-graying, brightening, long-lasting freshness, clean rinsing, fresh scent, cold water cleaning, and fiber care
  • Perfect for use in standard and HE washers
  • Available in 2 different packaging: 96 loads and 110 loads
  • Available in power caps for measuring

Cons

  • Packaging has had issues with leakage
  • The scent has been tagged as weird by some customers.

 

8. Tide TotalScent Care Liquid Renewing Rain


Tide has been a popular name in detergents and fabric softeners and has been a premium brand that provides unmatched cleaning and maintains smoothness and fluffiness of fabric.

There are a number of different options to choose from when it comes to this brand, but Tide’s Total Care Liquid Renewing Rain Scent is different.

It helps reveal 7 signs of beautiful clothes: clean thoroughly, protects color, maintains finish, preserves shape, enhances softness, fights stains and prevents pills.

This is an all-in-one detergent that you must have if you are tired of graying and yellowing of clothes owing to hard water.

Pros

  • Helps to preserve the shape and softness of the fabric
  • Protects color and does not contain chlorine or mineral deposits
  • Maintains fabric finish and overall texture
  • Can combat tough stains from dirt, soil, coffee, tea and blood spots
  • Comes equipped with a renewing rain scent, making clothes feel clean, fresh and fragrant

Cons

  • The scent may be overpowering for some people
  • Overpriced for a mere 30 loads only!

 

9. Tide Coldwater Clean Liquid Laundry

Tide has numerous options available for hard water laundry detergents. This phosphate-free and biodegradable detergent has 6 times the cleaning power of an ordinary detergent.

It ensures a brilliant cleaning process while protecting the texture and color of the fabric.

This particular detergent has been formulated to be used in cold, hard water, thereby saving energy.

When you switch clothes from a warm to cold water wash, you are essentially saving up 50 percent of energy. This has been another objective for the creation of the Tide Coldwater Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent.

Pros

  • Provides a deep clean with cold water
  • Safe to use for septic systems and comes in recyclable packaging
  • Can work on tough stains without causing discoloration or fading
  • Keeps fabric texture and finish intact
  • Ensures a modern floral scent in clothes while making them fresh and fluffy
  • Suitable for whites, colored and delicate fabrics
  • Available in 2 packages: 24 loads and 48 loads
  • Free from chemicals such as phosphate

Cons

  • The product is overpriced according to some customers

 

10. Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent

Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent, Fragrance Free, 93 Ounce (Pack 4)
50 Reviews
Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent, Fragrance Free, 93 Ounce (Pack 4)
  • Contains (4) 93 ounce bottles of free and clear laundry soap
  • Plant based, fragrance free laundry detergent.
  • Tackles tough stains even in cold water.
  • Dermatologist tested & hypoallergenic.
  • Biodegradable, plant based ingredients and fragrance free.


Ecover has introduced this laundry detergent which is an all-natural, fragrance-free laundry soap made for white and colored fabrics.

This biodegradable detergent is ideal for hard water washes.

If you are living in a region that supplies nothing but hard water, you ought to switch to Ecover’s Zero Laundry Detergent to ensure fluffiness and color retention in your clothes, which hard water takes away.

Pros

  • Has received A-rating in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning and is, hence, safe for your health and the environment
  • Free from dyes and artificial scents
  • Can be used for sensitive skin with its hypoallergenic properties
  • Can combat tough stains in cold and hard water
  • Packaged in recycled plastic and Plantplastic
  • Dermatologically tested
  • It has never been tested on animals
  • Available in 2 sizes: pack of 4 and pack of 6

Cons

  • Bottles design has been an issue for some customers
  • Some have complained about suds in the rinse cycle

These are just a few of the best detergents you can use to wash clothes with hard water.

Choose according to the features you prefer in your choice of detergent and then purchase one. The purchase decision will also depend on whether or not you wish to use an eco-friendly laundry detergent and whether or not it fits your monthly budget.

If you are living in one of those American regions where the water supply consists of only hard water, instead of spending huge amounts on an expensive, high-quality detergent, you may choose to install a water softener system at home.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water deposit on a tap with blurry background

 

Hard water is one that is high in mineral content.

These minerals comprise of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.

This is different from water in rainfalls, which does not contain any minerals, and is considered soft water.

It is only when water comes in contact with the ground that it takes in chalk, magnesium, and calcium and is then delivered to your home.

Hard Water vs Soft Water

Hard water is the preferred choice for drinking water due to its high mineral content.

On the contrary, soft water contains a high salt content, making it salty to the tongue.

Salty water does not make for good drinking water, and it is especially bad for people who are suffering from high blood pressure issues.

However, excessive use of hard water can lead to stained sinks and bathtubs, higher water bills and stained clothes.

Soft water is the preferred choice when it comes to doing household chores because hard water is tough and would leave your hair feeling dull and sticky after a bath.

Its mineral content makes hard water less friendly for taking showers, washing dishes and doing laundry.

This is when you should go for soft water.

Generally, city water is hard water, so if your home is supplied with hard water, you should not be surprised.

Most regions in America have hard water supplied to their homes and offices, and this is perfectly normal.

There are no health issues related to hard water. In fact, these minerals are good for the human body in the following ways:

Magnesium for the Heart

Magnesium is good for the heart in a number of ways.

A low magnesium concentration in the body can lead to hypertension, coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

Magnesium can be used to help keep blood pressure low, which is good for the heart.

In fact, magnesium supplements are prescribed to those suffering from conditions such as ischemic stroke.

In 1980, a study was conducted in the US where an inverse relationship was established between the likelihood of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and levels of dietary magnesium.

People who had higher levels of magnesium in their blood had a lower risk of SCD than those who did not.

Hence, if you have a fresh supply of hard water in your taps, simply replace bottled water with tap water and reduce the likelihood of heart risks like SCD and other cardiovascular diseases.

Hard Water and Cancer

According to studies, the calcium carbonate found in hard water is good for the human body as it prevents gastric cancer.

In another case study, a connection between colon cancer and hard water has been discovered; decreasing the hardness of water led to an increase in the risk of colon cancer and vice versa.

Magnesium intake can also reduce the risk of esophageal cancer and ovarian cancer while keeping the liver safe and healthy.

While statistical evidence is lacking when it comes to establishing a relationship between magnesium concentration in water and rectal cancer, the evidence that pertains to a positive relationship makes hard water an essential requirement for all human beings.

 

Common Laundry Problems with Hard Water

Woman behind a table covered with clothes to be ironed, displays a sign with help

We have already established that hard water can leave stains on your clothes while making them stiff. Let’s talk about this in detail.

If you have been using hard water for laundry purposes, you must have come across a few of the following issues, which can all be effectively attributed to the hardness of water:

  • Soil builds up on fabric, which is hard to get rid of.
  • Soft fabric turns stiff, and fabric softeners have to be used to ensure retention of softness in clothes.
  • Fabric weakens and tears down easily.
  • White and gray streaks appear on colored fabrics.
  • Clothes become dingy and yellow, despite regular washing and this yellowness is hard to get rid of.
  • The fabric becomes stiff and feels harsh on the skin, which may lead to rashes in extreme cases.

These are the normal issues related to hard water laundry. Hence, people who live in hard water regions have no choice but to use fabric softeners and hard water detergents to ensure soft and fluffy fabric that feels good on the body.

 

Using the Right Detergent for Hard Water

Hard water requires detergents that are specially made to remove stains in hard water laundry.

Stain removal is a tough job, especially with hard water, so detergents have to be tough cleaners if they are to achieve this.

Plus, with heavy-impact washing, there is a higher risk of losing the texture and color of the original fabric. This ought to be avoided at all costs.

Now that we have established the different laundry problems caused by hard water, it’s time to identify solutions to prevent them. In doing so, you need answers to the following questions:

Should I Use a Liquid or Powder Detergent?

Powdered detergents are more likely to attach to the minerals in hard water, making it even more difficult to remove stains. Hence, the cleaning function becomes secondary.

This makes water temperature an important factor to achieve enhanced cleaning.

When powdered detergent is used at a higher water temperature, cleaning will be the main and primary objective.

The best way to achieve optimal results is by mixing water in a powdered detergent and then using it in a liquid form. Liquid detergents are also good for the environment and are, thus, highly preferred.

 

How Much Detergent Should I Use?

If you are using a heavy-duty detergent, there is no need to add more than a spoonful for each load.

Even in case of hard water laundry, you must follow the instructions laid out on the detergent packaging.

Each detergent comes equipped with the number of loads it can successfully wash.

Hence, use it in accordance with the instructions given, and you can achieve optimal results.

Using more detergent will only stiffen the clothes, making the texture rough on the skin. This could lead to skin rashes and other allergies.

Which Detergents Are Best for Sensitive Skin?

When you are making a choice about which detergent to use in hard water, you must take into account if you or any other family member has skin allergy or irritation.

If so, try not to go for laundry detergent options that include the following compounds:

  • Enzymes
  • Brighteners
  • Dyes

 

Many detergents come equipped with enzymes that can speed up the dirt removal process and are particularly useful against tough stains.

However, enzymes can cause irritation and other skin allergies if you have a sensitive skin type.

Brighteners are also used to ensure color retention and to make clothes bright after a rigorous cleaning session.

The lesser known truth about optical brighteners is that they consist of fluorescers that can be a leading cause of skin irritation.

Similarly, dyes are rich in chemicals that can cause rashes and other skin problems if your choice of detergent contains too many artificial dyes.

Thus, you need to make a rational and wise decision not based on the hardness of the water alone but considering your skin type as well.

 

Should I Wash Clothes in Cold or Warm Water?

This decision will depend on the type of detergent being used.

If you have decided upon a detergent that works best in cold water, you should use cold water.

An advantage of cold water laundry is that it saves as much as 50 percent of energy, so if you seek energy efficiency, cold water it is!

Your water temperature is just as important as your choice of laundry detergent.

It does not really matter if warm water or cold water is used when washing with hard water. It depends mostly on the type of detergent you are using.

Moreover, the water temperature is a decision that will take into consideration the type and toughness of stain that you are trying to target.

Some come off easily in warm water, while others require cold water for heavy-duty washing.

Should I Use Eco-Friendly Detergents?

Laundry detergents come equipped with phosphates to ensure heavy-duty dirt extraction. However, phosphates are bad for the environment.

The packaging is also essential to consider when you want to go for an environmentally friendly option.

Recyclable packaging should be given preference over other packaging material. There are cost-effective and eco-friendly options available for hard-water laundry detergents.

How to Make Laundry Water Soft?

Woman with clean towels, basket and various washing detergents

Treating hard water is another way to achieve optimal laundry results.

In addition to using the right detergent, you can try to soften the water that you have planned to use for doing laundry.

There are several ways you can achieve this, a few of which have been mentioned in the paragraphs that follow.

Water Softeners

There are many water softeners available on the market to treat hard water.

However, if you do not want to rely on these manufactured products, you can make your own water softener. It’s simple and easy.

You will need water, borax and washing soda.

First, rinse and dry an empty milk bottle. Pour in ¼ lbs. of borax and ¼ lbs. of washing soda into the container. Then, add warm water and secure the lid.

Give the container a good shake to mix all these ingredients until the borax and washing soda are dissolved in water.

Use the solution in every load by measuring 1 cup. This will soften the laundry water, making it more suitable for preserving the color and texture of clothes.

 

Water Softener System

Another method that has been popular in homes that have a hard water supply is to install a water softener system.

This system can be connected to all water supplies in the home. It exchanges sodium for calcium and magnesium, thereby turning hard water into soft water and making it reasonable for dishwashing, laundry and cleaning purposes.

Soft water reduces detergent usage by 50 percent, as per a recent study.

Moreover, with soft water, water temperature may be reduced to achieve optimal stain removal that would otherwise require higher water temperatures.

However, there are health concerns associated with excessive sodium intake.

People with blood pressure issues cannot drink soft water, so its consumption must be minimal. It is recommended that you consult your physician before you decide to purchase and install a water softener system.

 

Fixing Hard Water Stains on Clothes

 

If you had been doing laundry with hard water and want to get rid of the tough stains and yellow and grayish spots, the following tips will help you achieve the best results:

Use a Good Detergent

The detergent choice is of crucial importance to combat hard water stains.

Choose a detergent, either biodegradable or non-biodegradable, and remove these yellow and gray stains with ease.

You can choose from Tide’s range of high-quality laundry detergents to ensure optimal cleaning without ruining fabric quality, texture, and color.

Use a Conditioner

Add one cup of liquid conditioner to 4 times the normal detergent quantity and soak clothes in this mixture overnight.

Drain and spin these clothes once before putting them into a regular wash.

Then, place these clothes for regular washing into the machine, but this time around, avoid using any detergent.

You shall see the results once your clothes have air-dried.

Do a Vinegar Rinse

The vinegar rinse is probably the most used home remedy for treating tough stains.

All you need to do is add one cup of vinegar to the detergent slot of your high-efficiency (HE) washer or normal washing machine.

Then, turn on the machine on ‘rinse’ setting. Once the cycle is complete, wash the load on normal mode and add a high-quality, heavy-duty detergent.

This may be repeated with bleach added to the detergent slot, but it applies only to clothes that are bleachable.

These were just a few ways you can try to get stains off your clothes.

However, make sure you air dry clothes once the normal wash cycle comes to an end. Heat produced in the spinner can make the remaining stains stick and result in discoloration.

 

Conclusion

 

Now, you have a clear understanding of what hard water is and the possible effects of it on your daily laundry. The article talks about different aspects of doing laundry with hard water and how to deal with the problems.

A list of top 10 laundry detergents has also been provided to help you make an informed and feasible decision. If you live in an area where the well water or city water is rich in magnesium and calcium carbonate, you now know what to do!

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Last update on 2019-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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