Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hard water issues

The water in the UK is considered to be ‘hard.’ This means that it is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. It is not a health risk, but can be a nuisance because it causes mineral buildup (lime scale) on fixtures and poor soap and/or detergent performance. Be sure to read the instructions for your dishwasher if you are lucky enough to have one - special salts must be added to the machine from time to time to prevent limescale build up on its parts. You’ll see limescale on your glasses if you don’t.   

Cloudy drinking water  
Because of a high concentration of natural minerals, you may notice that your tap water is rather cloudy. This is caused by the presence of suspended chalk. There is absolutely no health risk associated with these deposits, but its appearance can be unappealing. To combat cloudy water, try one of the many domestic water filters and jug filters on the market. These are designed 
to remove various compounds from tap water, improving both its taste and appearance.  

Removing limescale 
The simplest and most common way to remove limescale is with malt vinegar or lemon juice.  These methods are fine for cleaning out your kettle or polishing your taps and silverware but a heavy duty option may be required for larger appliances and stubborn build up. My friend, Lauren has kindly recommended 'Viakal,' (available online at Ocado) and 'Harpic 100% Limescale Remover' for toilets. The advertised '100%' is a bit misleading, but it's the best we can find for now. (Please email me if you've found something better.)

Dry itchy skin? 
If your skin has become excessively dry and/or itchy since arriving in the UK, don’t worry you’re not alone.  This is a result of your body not being used to hard water. It will eventually settle down, but in the mean time, buy yourself a tub of E45 and thank me later. (E45 is a dermatological moisturizer available at most pharmacies from as little as a £1).

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