How To Remove Hard Water Build Up From Hair

How many times have you come out of the shower with freshly washed hair that feels sticky or heavy?

Do you often try out different hair care products, but your hair is still dry and unmanageable? Has your hair lost its shine and feels rough, no matter how much you care?

If you’re saying yes, the culprit is most likely your tap water.

Did you know that hard water is not only damaging to your water pipes and faucets, but can also have a very damaging effect on your hair and scalp?

Now that you know what could be causing this build up on your hair, we’ll tell you how you can remove it to get hair that is soft, manageable and full of life. Read on to find out five very effective and easy ways that will show you how to remove hard water buildup from hair.

What does hair that is heavy with hard water build up feel like?

wash your hair with hard water

Hair that has been washed with hard water over a prolonged period of time will eventually become extremely damaged.

In fact, even if you wash your hair with hard water only once, the effects will start to show up on your hair very soon. Your scalp and hair are very fragile and sensitive to the water that you use, and the difference between using soft and hard water can be significantly visible.

How does washing your hair with hard water cause damage?

Here are some of the ways in which your hair will get damaged, if you regularly use hard water to wash it:

  • Dry and rough: Hair will get noticeably dry and will feel rough when you touch it.
  • Tough split ends: There can be split ends at the bottom of the hair strands and no matter what products or treatments you use, these cannot be treated. The only solution for removing the split ends will be cut the hair where the split ends are.
  • Dirty and greasy: When you use hard water to wash your hair, you will never be able to form a good lather, and your hair will always have that unwashed and greasy feeling.
  • No use of hair products: Even when you use the best hair care products on your hair, it will not give you the desired results as the water will not work well with the products.
  • Frizzy and unmanageable: Your hair will become frizzy and unmanageable, and even if you use the best conditioner or serums, your hair will not remain smooth or in place.
  • Repeated wash and damage: Because your hair will continue to feel greasy and dirty, you will have to wash it more often than you would if your hair felt clean. This means that, you will have to use the hard water more often to wash your hair, and the entire cycle of damage will keep repeating. Instead of getting better, your hair will only suffer more and more damage.

5 ways to remove hard water build up from hair

Here are five effective and easy ways you can try, that will help to remove the hard water build up from your hair. To get the best results, boil the water first before you add any of these ingredients to it. This will reduce the harsh contents of the hard water to some extent. You could also try to make the following rinses by using purified water or soft water, so that it does not cause any further damage to your hair.

1. Using apple cider vinegar:

What you need:

prevent hard water build up in hair
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • Empty bottle

How to:

1. Mix the vinegar and the water and keep aside.

2. Shampoo your hair the way you do and wring out the excess water.

3. Start applying the vinegar and water mix in your hair by massaging it through the scalp. Start from the roots to the tips.

4. Let the mixture stay in your hair for about five to six minutes. This will help the vinegar to break up the residue so that it comes out easily from your hair.

5. Use cool water to rinse your hair.

How it works: Vinegar has acidic properties that help to break the hard residue on your scalp and hair and remove it without breaking the hair.

2. Using a lemon rinse

What you need:

prevent hard water build up in hair
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cups of water

How to:

1. Mix the lemon juice and the water and keep it aside.

2. Shampoo your hair the way you do and wring out the excess water.

3. Gently start applying the lemon and water rinse all over your scalp and massage it through your hair. Make sure to apply it all over the scalp and cover your hair entirely, from root to tip.

4. Let the rinse sit for about three to five minutes and rinse it off with cool water.

How it works: Lemon also contains strong acidic properties that will help to break the hard build ups in the scalp and hair without damaging your hair. It is also a natural remedy to fight off dandruff and reduce any itching you may have on the scalp.

3. Using baking soda

What you need:

prevent hard water build up in hair
  • 1 part baking soda
  • 3 parts water
  • Small squeeze bottle (optional)

How to:

1.  Add the water and the baking soda in the bottle and give it a good stir.

2. You can use this mix on dry hair, or use it after you have shampooed and rinsed your hair. Doing this on damp hair is preferable, as it will make it easier for you to massage the mix thoroughly through the scalp and hair, and also make it easier for the build up to come off your hair and scalp.

3. Once you apply the baking soda and water mix on your scalp and hair, massage it through and let it sit for about two to three minutes.

4. Wash it off with cool or warm water.

How it works: It acts as a natural cleansing agent and removes build up without damaging or drying your hair or scalp.

4. Using club soda

What you need:

prevent hard water build up in hair
  • A club soda can

How to:

1. Shampoo your hair and pour the can of club soda over your hair and scalp.

2. Let it fizz and stay for about five minutes.

3. Rinse off with cool water.

How it works: The soda in the club soda will help to break the build up from your hair and scalp and remove it without damage.

5. Using chelating shampoo

You can easily buy these at a regular store or online.

How it works: It works by removing the minerals, slime and residue from hair and scalp.

Beyond treatment, what can you do to prevent hard water build up in hair?

hard water build up in hair
  • When you’re trying to remove the build up from your hair, it doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. While you can go for various hair softening or cleansing treatments, there is a lot that you can do at home too.
  • Install a water filter in the shower – this will help to give you cleaner and softer water and remove the harshness from the shower water.
  • Use the above DIY methods – these are very effective and cost-effective ways, and the best part is, most ingredients will be easily available in your kitchen.
  • Condition your hair regularly – this helps to retain the natural moisture of your hair.
  • Do a home oil massage therapy using oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil – a warm oil massage can help to maintain the pH balance of your hair and protect it against external damage.
  • Install a water softener – this may be an expensive option but it works too.
  • Use filtered water to wash your hair – if you have access to it, try using this at least for a few washes a week.

Make sure to regularly use the options mentioned above to ensure your hair is healthy and happy, even if you live in an area that has hard water.


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