Green and Organic Cleaning series: Part I, Hard water solutions

Hard water solutions are not always easy.

Cleaning with greener products should be the goal for every aspiring treehugger out there, but the penny pincher should not forget to do the same. When you go about stocking your cabinets for cleaning supplies, you should always consider the environment, but not at the cost of getting the job done effectively, or draining your bank account.

Some of the best cleaning products are inexpensive and easy to use. One of the biggest challenges to some parts of the country is the super hard water that comes into the home and businesses. One can acquire a water softener, but many do not want the maintenance and cost of such a device. You need some hard water solutions!

So what is a treehugger to do? Yes, we can use toxic cleaners and sprays, but there are cheaper and safer alternatives.

First a little chemistry- hard water leaves behind minerals.

These minerals are basic, or higher pH in nature. So what will dissolve a base? Why an acid of course.


For automatic dishwashers you do not want to be without a good rinsing aid. Choose something lemon based. Why? Not for the fresh scent, but for the acidity that lemon based products provide- citric acid. Acids dissolve the buildup.


For a dish-soap, you may wish to use a combination of products to keep your dishes spot free. In very non- scientific studies, the writer has discovered that a combination of Seventh Generation soap tablets in the prewash and fine sodium citrate granules in the wash segment of the soap dispenser work the best. The Seventh Generation tablets are pricier than most, but they consistently clean even the grungiest dishes and leave no spots, nor did they leave nasty haze on the glasses.


For any other caked on mineral deposits, use straight white vinegar. If the shower heads are caked up, fill a baggie with vinegar, secure the baggie around shower head or faucet, submerged in vinegar. Tie a rubber band around the baggie, and let it soak a few hours. When you come back, remove the baggie, rinse the water through the faucet/head and see all the debris that was removed easily.


Vinegar and dish tablets are easy to find. Sodium citrate takes a little more effort- however, a website such asĀ inexpensive materials and a little powder really goes a long way.

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