How to test water hardness at home (6 easy methods)

The hardness of water is an important property to consider when selecting a water softener. The simple way to find out if your water is hard water without mailing samples and waiting for laboratory results is by using a water hardness kit. In this article find out how to test water hardness at home.

how to test water hardness at home

The water hardness test method at home

  1. Emailing or giving a call to your local municipal water
  2. Quick testing at home using liquid soap
  3. Use a water hardness test kit.
  4. Use of a water hardness digital meter
  5. Ask the water softener company for a free test.
  6. Check for signs of hard water in your house.
  • Emailing or giving a call to your local water municipal 

One of the easiest methods to know your water hardness at home is by emailing or giving a call to your local water municipal.

They can provide detailed information on where your water comes from and what contaminants it contains. If it is hard water, they can tell you the level of hardness.

Most local water municipal post reports online. These results do not reflect the water quality directly from your faucet but as it leaves the water treatment center.

They give results in common units. For instance, they can give you a number like 3.5–7.0, meaning moderately hard. To learn how to interpret the units, use the details below.

Soft: 0-3.5 grains per gallon (GPG)

moderate: 3.5-7.0 (GPG)

hard: 7.0–10.5 (GPG), and

very hard: over 10.5 (GPG)

  • Quick testing at home using liquid soap

Using liquid soap is one of the simple ways to tell whether your water is hard.

You only need pure liquid soap, not the one labeled with perfumes, detergents, or dyes because it has added additives that may give you bad results (you can use Castile oil). You will also need a clean, empty, clear bottle or container with a cap.

Fill your clean bottle with one-third full of water (sample water) and add a few drops of liquid soap. Close the bottle and shake it for a few seconds. If there are no bubbles and the water appears milky or fluffy, then your water is hard.

Using liquid soap is not the most accurate way to find out your water hardness level.

Video on how to test water hardness at home using liquid soap

  • Use a water hardness test kit

A water hardness test kit is the ideal way to test water hardness if you want to install a softener system, such as a cabinet style or traditional water softener.

If you want to know the exact number of grains per gallon or parts per million water hardness test kit is best to use.

Test kits are available in most local stores, or you can order them from online stores like Amazon. The price ranges from 5 dollars to 20 dollars.

The kit mostly tests total hardness in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (ppm).

Some brands, like Baldwin meadows test kit 9 in 1 sell more advanced test kits that evaluate more comprehensive assessments for well water, spas, pools, hot tubs, and aquariums for copper, PH, lead, nitrite, alkalinity, iron, chloride, and nitrate.

The hardness test kit contains everything needed for testing, such as a test strip, color chart, test tube, or bottle, making it easier to test your water at home.

The test strip is simple to use. You need to fill water from your water sink in the testing bottle/tube, then dip one end of the test strip pad in water for 2 seconds, remove, shake off excess water, wait for 40 seconds, and match the strip color using the color chart.

You should not use a test strip on running water from the tap because it may give inaccurate results.

Best water hardness test kit

 NameImagetest forcompatible waterWhere to buy
1Hach 145300 test kittotal hardnesstap waterCheck price at Amazon
2Watersafe WS425Whardness, test for iron, chlorine, copper, lead, nitrates, bacteria, pH, nitrites and pesticideswell waterCheck price at Amazon
3LaMotteChlorine, Bromine, Alkalinity, pH, Total Hardness swimming pool or spaCheck price at Amazon
4Hach 2745250 test striphardnesstap waterCheck price at Amazon
5Industrial Test Systems Test Striphardnesswater treatment, food, beverage, spa, pool, and medical industriesCheck price at Amazon
6Test assured Bulk Test Stripshardnesstap waterCheck price at Amazon
7Hone Forest Test Stripshardnesstap water, fish tank/aquariumCheck price at Amazon
8JNW Direct Test Stripshardnesstap water, well water, spa, pools, hot tub, and aquariumCheck price at Amazon
9Baldwin Meadows 9 in 1 test stripshardness, PH, lead, copper, alkalinity, Iron, Nitrite, nitrate & Chlorinewell water and tap waterCheck price at Amazon
  • Use of a water hardness test meter

The water hardness digital meter is an electronic gadget that tests your water hardness and gives a result on an LCD.

The hardness test meter is more expensive than test strips and can be found in most online stores.

Watch the video on how to use the water hardness test meter

  • Ask the water softener Company for a free test

Most companies that manufacture water softener systems offer a free water testing service. Some of these companies may request that you send the samples, but others may come to your home to test the water.

  • Checking signs of hard water in your house.

There are simple signs that you can spot in your house to signal that you have hard water. The signs include

  • You may find your soap does not lather well when bathing, during laundry, or cleaning dishes.
  • Your bathtub, shower, or sink is covered with soap scum, and you see signs of spotty home appliances.

Testing your water hardness may help you choose the appropriate water softener system or let you know whether the already installed system is working effectively.

Back to you, which method do you use to test your water hardness at home? Share it with us in the comment section below.