8 Effortless Tips for Washing Hair in Hard Water

Hair is the most prized possession of all women on this Earth. Everyone wants lustrous, smooth, and shiny hair, but this is always not possible. And believe it or not, the area that you live in has a major role to play in the way that your hair looks.

The water especially has a lot to do with the appearance of your hair. Most areas have hard water, which is the main culprit of ruining your hair and making it all dry, brittle, and damaged.

So today, we are going to share with you some tips for washing hair in hard water as changing the water is inevitable.

tips for washing hair in hard water

What Is Hard Water?

Before we begin anything, let us first learn what exactly is hard water. Hard water is the water that contains high amounts of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. It forms when rainwater filters through soil, rocks, and sand and picks up all these salts naturally.

Hard water might be beneficial for drinking, but they are really hard on your hair. These minerals react with the ingredients present in your conditioner, masks, shampoos, and other hair products, making all their goodness dissipate. This is why no matter what product you use on your hair for whatever hair concern, it seems to have no effect at all.

Hard water in laymanโ€™s terms is when you feel your hands to be greasy or dry after washing. Then it is quite evident that your area has hard water. Hard water is not typically dangerous, but it definitely can have adverse and severe effects on the health of your hair.

If you are suffering from dry and frizzy hair along with extreme hair loss, then this might be the reason for it.

How hard water affects the health of your hair?

When you wash your hair with hard water, it makes it difficult to lather and rinse, and it also accumulates buildup after you wash your hair.

Post-washing your hair with hard water makes your hair scales stand up, thereby causing tangled, dry, and frizzy hair. Hard water also makes your hair less tameable and greasy, which makes it difficult to style your hair.

The minerals which are present in the hard water can make your hair roughย and leave residue behind, which does not allow you to have a thorough rinse.

Several shampoos contain surfactants, which make the shampoos lather, and they react with the minerals present in the hard water leaving a film of soap on your hair. These minerals are insoluble in water, which is exactly the reason why your hair appears to be greasy right after washing.

You might be of the misconception that the more you wash your hair, the cleaner it will appear to be. But the truth is that it will only make your condition worse. The more the hard water touches your hair, the more damaging it will be. If you have colored hair, then hard water can also make your hair color fade quicker than usual. It also facilitates hair loss and thinning of hair, ultimately leading to baldness.

A study was also conducted to show the aggravating effects of hard water on your hair. In this 2013 study hair strands of about 15-20 cm long were taken from female volunteers, and they were cut into half to show direct comparison.

The samples were kept in distilled water and hard water, respectively, for about a month. However, they were only submerged for 10 minutes a day. After one-month, a strength tester was used to determine the strength and elasticity of the hair strands.

The study, however, did not show any negative impacts on the elasticity or strength of the hair. Despite this, it is mentioned that it is best to take appropriate measures while washing your hair with hard water.

8 Tips For Washing Your Hair With Hard Water

If you are living in a hard water area and it is bringing you daily grief, then here are some tips for washing hair in hard water listed below. This will not eliminate the problem, but it will compensate for your situation to a huge extent.


This is one of the most effective tips for washing hair in hard water. Apple Cider Vinegar is the best choice for this. However, you can choose any vinegar as per your liking.

The acidity of the vinegar will effectively remove any excess buildup, thereby making your hair clean. It also softens and smoothens your hair.

Dilute equal amounts of ACV and water depending on the length of your hair and rinse with it as the last step of your hair wash routine. Towel dry your hair after it.

Lemon Juice

Just like vinegar, lemon also has acidic properties that remove buildup from your hair.

ย All you need to do is mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with 3 cups of water to make a mix. After shampooing your hair, pour this mixture to your scalp and tips and gently massage it. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes and then rinse it off with cold water.

Also, you will want to ditch the conditioner for best results. You will instantly feel your hair to be a lot smoother, shinier, and manageable.

Water Softener

A water softener is an excellent way to solve the problems with hard water. It is an expensive solution, but it is worth it.

It is used to turn the hard water into soft water by eliminating magnesium and calcium along with any other minerals present in the water.

Soft water can make your hair happy and healthy, and it can get rid of dandruff, build up, and other hair related issues. It is one of the best tips for washing hair in hard water.

Shower Filter

A shower filter is yet another option to convert hard water into soft water. However, this is much cheaper than the water softener.

It works considerably by reducing the amount of chlorine and limescale in the hard water. It filters these minerals and prevents them from coming out of the shower.

Bottled Water

If nothing works for you, then you can use packaged mineral water for rinsing your hair for the final time. It is also a cheap option, and it can be a temporary solution for your hard water worries.

Instead of bottled water, you can also use filtered water to get temporary relief from your problem. This is one of the cheap and best tips for washing hair in hard water.

Rain Water

Rainwater is by far the best tip for washing hair in hard water as it is entirely free. There is no investment required, and you can obtain the benefits of expensive products for free.

Rainwater is the purest form of water available, and you can store this water in a bucket, or you can harvest it for future use. The only limitation of this method, however, is that it is not available all the time.

Clarifying Shampoo

Apart from all the natural methods, there is one more thing you can do. And that is changing your shampoo. Switch to a clarifying shampoo made of natural ingredients and wash your hair with it.

These natural ingredients not only thoroughly cleanses your hair but also add volume and luster to your damaged and dull hair.

Also, when you are buying a shampoo from the drugstore, make sure to look at the ingredients and chose something natural and safe.

Leave-in Conditioner

Conditioners, when not applied correctly, can also lead to greasy hair. Instead of applying your regular conditioner, which requires rinsing to switch it up with a leave-in conditioner.

It will eliminate the problem of residue buildup and will also help style your hair. You do not always need to purchase conditioners from the market; instead, you can use essential oils such as coconut oil or argan oil.

Apply any of these oils to your damp hair, and this will lock the moisture in keeping your hair soft, smooth, and shiny.

How do you soften hard water for washing hair at home?

We all saw what hard water could do to your hair. We also saw some tips by which you can protect your hair from hard water. Here are some ways by which you can soften hard water at home to wash your hair. Here are the methods you can try at home:

Shower Softener

A shower filter is an extra attachment that is fitted on your shower system. It is a cheap option, and it can reduce the lime content and also magnesium from the hard water. These shower filters also come with an inbuilt softener that converts hard water into soft water.

These filters allow you to wash your hair instantly once you install these filters. These filters are ideal for confined spaces, especially if you have an apartment.

Water Softening System

It is a softening system that can be installed to convert the hard water of your entire house. It provides long-term results, and this is exactly why it is an expensive option as compared to the shower filters.

The water softening system does not only confine the conversion of water to the bathroom, but it converts the water of the entire house. This system eliminates all the minerals from the hard water leaving only sodium in the water.

This method changes the hard water into soft water, and it also increases the benefit of clean water.

DIY Homemade Chelating Hair Rinse

Making your own clarifying shampoo is way easier and cheaper than buying it from the market. The best part about this is that you will be well aware of the ingredients and you will know whether or not these ingredients will be suitable for you.

Citric Hair Rinse

Using citric acid is the most basic and preferred chelating recipe, which can be easily made at home. For this, you need:

  • Lemon juice
  • Distilled water

How to prepare?

  1. Mix one part of lemon juice with four parts of distilled water.
  2. Wash your hair as you usually would and then apply this chelating solution to your hair.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off with cold water and use conditioner.

Baking Soda Hair Rinse

Another method uses baking soda. For this, you need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Distilled water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

How to prepare?

  1. Take one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 500ml of distilled water and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
  2. Scrub your hair with this mixture, especially your scalp, and leave it on for 2 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with warm water and use conditioner as normal.

Do this once a month to get rid of all the buildup and freshen up your hair.

How can I protect my hair from hard water naturally?

You don’t always have to treat hard water with expensive methods. You can also deal with it the natural way.

The natural methods include ACV rinse. For this, you need one tablespoon of ACV with three cups of water and shampoo your hair as you normally would. Wash your hair as usual and use this concoction as the final rinse. Apply this mixture to your hair and leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it off.

You can also use lemon juice, which has acidic properties. Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with 3 cups of water and rinse your hair with this after you are done shampooing. Massage this mixture on your scalp and leave it on for a few minutes and rinse off with warm water. Do not forget to use the conditioner after both these methods.


Hard water can be extremely damaging to your hair. If you are suffering from extreme hair loss and thinning of hair, then it might be because of your water. So, for the best results, follow my tips for washing hair in hard water and keep your hair healthy by trying out my hair softening DIYs.


A happy wife. Coffee and make-up makes her alive and kicking. She always had a knack for writing and so here she is โ€“ awe-spiring her readers from all over the world.

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  1. Viola says:

    I never knew about hard water wow. That is so interesting. I need to take care of my hair better. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jamie says:

      Yes, hard water is almost everywhere and we really need to protect our hair from it.

  2. elly paunoska says:

    My 14 years washing her hear with lemon mixed with water. Her hair is amazing. thanks for other tips.

    1. Jamie says:

      Yeah, lemon actually balances the hard water so, in the end, the hair is softer!

  3. Traci Edwards says:

    I have always struggled with trying to have beautiful hair, thank you for sharing these tips!

    1. Jamie says:

      Oh, you definitely will get beautiful hair by following these natural tips for washing hair in hard water. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Jimmy John says:

    great tips to keep your hair nice and neat and from damage

    1. Jamie says:

      I’m glad I helped!

  5. Vasundhra says:

    WOW! This was really insightful and well-expressed. Hard water is a problem in my city, New Delhi, and it’s a constant battle with dull, dry hair, hairfall and being able to properly clean out the gunk! Will try out some of your tips for sure, thanks!

    1. Jamie says:

      Oh yes, hard water can change the hair texture so fast but we have our own ways to deal with it naturally. Chelating hair rinse surely helps. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Crickette, The Things I Have to Say says:

    Sometimes when I travel for missions, I have to deal with hard water. I condition as much as I can but I know it isn’t enough. I will a good note of this.

    1. Jamie says:

      Conditioning helps but only when you use the lemon or ACV to rinse hair with hard water.

  7. Amelia Pollock says:

    Thanks for the wonderful tips. Will try next time

    1. Jamie says:

      Do try it!

  8. Ashli Ferguson says:

    This is so true! My friend is a hairdresser and has told me these tips too because our town has hard water!

    1. Jamie says:

      I’m glad I helped! We can’t stop hard water but we can use one of the mentioned methods to deal with it naturally.

  9. Sally Pederson says:

    These are some great tips. Many places have hard water and people don’t know about some quick and easy solutions.

    1. Jamie says:

      Most people do not know about the bad effects of hard water on hair. The minerals present makes it worse when you combine it with a surfactant-based shampoo so always go for a natural rinse after shampooing.

  10. Stephanie says:

    These are such great tips! We don’t have hard water at home but have been on vacations where we had to use hard water for an extended time. Definitely going to remember these tips!

    1. Jamie says:

      Occasional exposure of hard water on hair won’t make a big difference but if you’re extra conscious you can DIY a chelating rinse and take it with you to vacations. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. siennylovesdrawing says:

    thanks for sharing this, i have picked up some tips after reading this, let’s enjoy keeping our hair healthy ya ๐Ÿ™‚ cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. Jamie says:

      Cheers, Sienny! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Francisco says:

    Hard waters a real issue with my shower, will try some of these out!

    1. Jamie says:

      In case you use a shower, a shower softener will help you deal better with hard water.

  13. I have been suffering from tangled and frizzy hair. This article is really helpful, will definitely going to try this!

    1. Jamie says:

      For frizzy hair, using a deep conditioner is a must!

  14. Saadiya says:

    Hard water has just destroyed my hair! Let me try one of these remedies to see which one can work.

    1. Jamie says:

      I’m so sorry about it. Now you know how to deal with hard water so you can reverse the damage naturally. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Cyndi Buchanan says:

    Excellent tips. Hard water can be terrible for you hair. It’s good to have ways to help.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hard water isn’t something you should be scared of but something to avoid. I’m happy you liked my post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. WanderlustBeautyDreams says:

    Thanks for sharing these options. I don’t think I’ve washed my hair in hard water but these are great things to keep in mind.

    1. Jamie says:

      Lucky you! Hard water is a common problem almost everywhere in the world and we are coming up with our own remedies to deal with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Suanlian Tangpua says:

    Very informative post! I use Vinegar and it is very helpful for dandruff and infection.

    1. Jamie says:

      Yes, even after you settle on a chelating hair rinse that you really like, itโ€™s important to make sure that youโ€™re not washing your hair too often.

  18. Hackytips says:

    I know! Also, hard water causes lots f hair damage. I will remember your tips and try to avoid hard water as much as possible.

    1. Jamie says:

      Yes, it’s one of the main culprits of damaged hair. I recommend purchasing a chelating shampoo or a hard water shampoo.

  19. Thank you for these great tips, my girls and I were just talking about our hard water situation today. I think we will try the shower head option. Thanks great article.

    1. Jamie says:

      Yes, and if you ever feel lazy, the easiest way is boiling hard water to wash hair!

  20. Adventures with Shelby says:

    I like to use spray in leave-in conditioner!

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