View Full Version : How can you soften water?

11-25-2007, 02:32 PM
I would like to wash a knitted neckwarmer in Alpaca Light for the first time in a mild water. If I boil a certain quantity of water on the stove and use it once it is lukewarm, does it soften the water in any way?

11-25-2007, 02:44 PM
Probably not. Water is `softened' by running it through a machine which takes rock salt and somewhat neutralizes the minerals in it. All that softening water does is make the soap suds more. You could use distilled water which doesn't contain minerals, but I don't know that it would soften the scarf any better than using plain tap water. Some people soften up wool by adding a little bit of hair conditioner to the water.

11-25-2007, 02:53 PM
I will use tap water or distilled water. I am just new to washing hand knitted garnments not made in machine washable wool. The neckwarmer is soft and I don't want to harden it in any way. Thanks Suzeeq. I appreciate your explanations.

11-25-2007, 04:29 PM
Water is `hard' in that it has a higher mineral content. It doesn't affect anything washed in it at all.

11-25-2007, 04:59 PM
Mineral content, especially iron oxide, can stain materials.

Using a good distilled water would avoid this problem. Also, you could soften the water through boiling but it would require building a still. :mrgreen:

11-25-2007, 06:12 PM
Tell me about it!

Hard water is the bane of my life - it's so bad in this particular area that it b*ggers up washing machines, kettles and irons in no time. It costs me quite a bit in de-scaling products.

If I don't have any Calgon to soften the water in the washing machine, the laundry has to wait until I've bought some.

I don't know whether it's true but I have heard that hard water can, over time, matt the fibres of clothing.


11-25-2007, 06:16 PM
Boiling water only concentrates the minerals in it--it makes it harder rather than softer. You can add baking soda or salt, or buy a commercial water softener that's added to the laundry to soften it. I used to have to buy that when I had babies and wanted to use Ivory. The hard water made the clothing gray with the soap buildup, but the softener got them clean again.

11-25-2007, 06:16 PM
My home is in Florida and the water contains high concentrations of lime. It can be murder on certain fabrics. Calgon does help a lot.