Use the Right Laundry Products for Your Water Conditions

One of the most important, yet commonly overlooked, factors to consider when choosing a laundry detergent is water hardness.

Water hardness is defined as the total amount of calcium and magnesium salts in water and is typically expressed as either grams per liter or grains per gallon of calcium carbonate. Hard water can lead to overall greying or dingy discoloration and roughness due to mineral build up on linen and can even diminish your laundry detergent’s ability to remove soils and stains. If linen becomes discolored or stained, it must be discarded or converted to rags to avoid decreased guest satisfaction.

Only around 15% of water municipalities in the United States have naturally occurring soft water, which is defined as having less than 3.5 grains per gallon water hardness. The remaining 85% will need to select the appropriate laundry products to control the water hardness or utilize a commercial water softener to artificially soften their water.

Low to moderately hard water, 1-10 grains per gallon, can be controlled by using a laundry detergent formulated with ingredients to control water hardness. Sequestering ingredients are commonly used in laundry detergent formulations to help tie up the calcium and magnesium ions and prevent them from interfering with the cleaning performance and soil removal process. Most Ecolab laundry detergents are formulated with enough sequestering ingredients to sufficiently control up to 10 grains per gallon of water hardness.

Hard water that is higher than 10 grains per gallon is best controlled by utilizing a commercial water softener, but when installing a softener is not feasible, specialty water conditioning products should be used. These are products specifically formulated to control high levels of water hardness, and should be added along with a laundry detergent to provide the best possible cleaning performance in a high water hardness environment.

Using the correct detergent and water conditioning product, when necessary, will ensure that your linen remains clean, white, soft and fresh, by preventing mineral build up and allowing the detergent to target the soils and stains on the linen instead of the water hardness minerals.


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