Hard water!

I’m fortunate enough to live in a gorgeous little village in the Herault area South of France, but unfortunate enough to have ridiculously hard water.

Why does this bug me? Here goes…

  1. Kettles, coffee machines & steriliser needs descaling nearly every week (I’m on my second Coffee machine & kettle in 2 years)
  2. My lovely tiling in my showers is covered in white stuff that is tougher than anything Mr Muscle can throw at it
  3. The showers get blocked with horrible solid white stuff (not just the usual squashy soap suds which is easy to remove)
  4. I need to use a litre of washing up liquid or Monsieur Propre to get the floors clean
  5. The kids can’t have bubble baths without me using half a bottle of bubble bath
  6. I miss having lather when I shower - it just doesn’t happen
  7. Toilets need a lot of scrubbing to keep that horrid white stuff from sticking & going blue with the loo cleaner forever
  8. At some point my washing machine & water tank will become clogged & will need replacing
  9. When I call out the Plumber, they just shrug and say ‘c’est le calcaire madame’ as though nothing can be done
  10. Tap water doesn’t taste nice & nor does it make a decent up of tea

    So what can be done? All ideas welcome…

    I’ve been told we can fit an adoucisseur (is that how you spell it?) but I’ve also been told this is not good for children as it removes all the minerals in the water. We have a filter on our american fridge freezer which does help improve the taste but even the pipes on the fridge get all chalky & need cleaning somehow). I don’t want to buy bottled water, it’s expensive & the bottles create too much waste…it’s not eco!

    For appliances, My dishwasher came with an ‘anti-calcaire’ thing fitted so hopefully that won’t go bang. I descale everything else with white vinegar regularly. (I don’t want to use chemical things).

    I’m considering a steam cleaner to see if that helps clean the tiling in the bathrooms and I’m going to try the eco-magnetic balls from Lakeland for the washing machine (I’m not paying for those add in tablets with every wash, it would be cheaper to buy a new washing machine over its lifetime than to use them! Even at French prices)

    And I’m going to keep buying bubble bath for the kids from the UK & get it shipped over - can you imagine if I bought the French baby stuff either the kids would be playing spot the bubble or I’d be skint at going through a bottle a week.

    AND finally, Yorkshire Tea have now brought out a tea specially for hard water…my UK order is on it’s way!



    UK Stores Delivering Overseas

This is how we softened our water, an economical and effective solution.

Hi did you solve your hard water problem? Know of a salt less system that works well.

Or start distributing the tea in France…

Theres also a few pages of explanations on their site on the different softeners, methods, filters and so on. All useful stuff to us hard water drinkers! Good luck!

@ Miles - thanks will look into that!

I was looking at a job at one point that involved fitting a softener. These chaps were really helpful on the phone, from which model to have, maintenance, and would even lead you through installation. Also, the box itself is about 2/3rds the price in the Uk than here. I havn’t used them, but was impressed at the service given to someone who didn’t even buy one! Oh, and they run with salt so less chemically obnoxious than Cillet Bang etc :slight_smile:

ok that was lovely, first decent cup of tea in ages! I recommend Yorkshire Tea HARD WATER! Perhaps I could start up a tea shipping business if I ever get to London :slight_smile:

my Hard Water Yorkshire Teabags are here…off for a cuppa x

@ Sam - I’ll have to put vinegar in the steam cleaner too! Did you all smelt of fish & chips at school? :slight_smile:

Won’t the steam cleaner clog up too? Use vinegar on the tiles, it should work. My mother always used to put a bit of vinegar in the bath. I wonder if that was so we could have bubbles.

yes I like the idea of it being free! We have a spring on a road near here between 2 villages, there are often french cars filling crates of plastic bottles with water, we used to think they were mad, but now I can see why they do it, much cheaper than Evian/Volvic & the likes plus it’s local & free.

Suzanne - I am imaging the scene - you amid huge pots of boiling water!!! We use the water for everything, it is boiled in the kettle - but only if we are making drinks - we don’t boil for the sake of it. We were advised to have it checked but like most things in France getting round to is always something that happens tomorrow - not sure if the cost of the electricity required for the pump each time we turn a tap on outweighs the savings we make on not paying for water - but if feels good - not too many things fro free these days.

mmm, @ Sue - it’s enough work boiling the kettle x times a day for baby bottled water, I can’t see me using a well & boiling 100 kettles to have a bath…do you really use the well for bathing?

I know this will no doubt lead to lots of comments - but here goes - we don’t seem to have a problem despite living in a hard water area ! Perhaps that is because despite what everyone says all the inhabitants of our very small hamlet share and use the water from a well! I have not been brave enough to drink it straight from the tap - boiled is okay! but our French neighbours use nothing else! so perhaps head out and find a spring… Oh and hair needs little conditioner!

We have the same problem in Burgundy, great for the wine but not for anything else. Our dishwasher broke down recently and it turned out it was purely the hard water. The repair mans advice was to fit a filter behind the dishwasher and washing machine where the tap is, these need the salt? refilling every 6 months or so. they are currently on promo at Castorama for 19€ and apparently the refills are about 6€ a time. He also told us that the anti calcaire tablets are a total waste of time, especially with the cost of them.
The calcaire drives me mad - like you say, the shower never looks clean - I’ve bought Cillit Bang to try this month, hoping I find something to shift it.
We have a filter on the main water inlet and all the water for the kettle or cafetiere goes through a water jug - which needs a new filter every 3 weeks - at 6€ a filter
We moved here from the ALps and I so miss the mountain water - it made my hair really soft and shiney - here it’s just like straw. And like you say - what bubbles for the kids.

Try the filter behind the machines and a water jug for the kettle, if you go for the adoucisseur it does help and each time you change the filter on it you will be horrified how revolting it is!

There is one up-side, hard water is supposed to better for your heart than soft…

Hi there, I’ve been in water treatment for 22 years and unfortunately there is no evidence that hard water is better for your heart. This was started in the 1970’s with a campaign from the British Heart Foundation regarding salt. They targeted softened water as it is slightly higher in sodium than hard. The reason for this is that artificially softened water uses Ion Exchange to replace the calcium with sodium at a ratio of approx 2 calcium to 1 sodium. In reality water with a hardness level of 300ppm would give an increase in sodium equivalent to 2 slices of white bread per 2 litres of water. To put it in perspective, 1 portion of gravy granules contains an equivalent sodium content of approx 12-15 slices. Water with a hardness if up to 480ppm would be considered potable (drinkable)
The official line in the uk is that all households should have an unsoftened tap where practical, however many of my customers have no hard taps by choice in their homes.
If anyone needs any advice I would be happy to repl


We have a water softener fitted so all bathroom and utility water is soft, but we have kept the kitchen tap ‘off’ the softener due to concerns about lack of minerals in drinking water. My plumber said it’s a myth but was happy to link the kitchen tap to the mains inlet, rather than after the softener. We had a softener for years in the UK and I’ve always noticed the difference in other people’s homes and hotels, etc. Have to use much more shampoo and soap and skin always feels dry. The softener really does make a difference.