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How to Stop Natural Shampoo in Shampoo Bars Reacting with Hard Water

The natural shampoo in shampoo bars can be affected by the minerals occurring in hard water... Learn about the ways to stop the reaction of natural soap and hard water...

By, Gavin Whale | Uploaded: 07/02/2020 | Edited: 07/02/2020

How to Stop Natural Shampoo in Shampoo Bars Reacting with Hard Water

The natural shampoo in shampoo bars can be affected by the minerals occurring in hard water. If you live in a hard water area and are keen to reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce, switching to shampoo bars can be a bit more challenging, but fear not, if you are dead set on making the switch you can just move house... Just kidding, though that is an option, be it a tad extreme! There are a couple of simpler things you can do, but it involves more effort, so if you do live in a hard water area you should consider whether the switch from liquid to solid shampoo is for you.


Why does Natural Shampoo in Shampoo Bars React with Hard Water?

The answer is not all that complicated, there is a high concentration of minerals within hard water that is considerable enough to cause a chemical reaction with the ingredients within the traditional shampoo bars, and prevent them from working to their full potential. The minerals responsible are usually the pesky duo of calcium and magnesium. When the traditional natural soap within the shampoo bars comes into contact with the hard water, it causes a chemical reaction to occur with the sodium salt within the shampoo. As a result the sodium salt becomes calcium and magnesium salt, which is an insoluble light grey residue.



How to Stop the Reaction of Natural Soap and Hard Water

The chemical reaction that occurs when the natural soap in the traditional solid shampoo comes into contact with hard water can be stopped by softening the water.

You can soften water by adding sodium carbonate, which is commonly known as washing soda. The sodium carbonate will bind to the minerals in the hard water and change their chemical structure in such a way that they become insoluble. So you can simply add washing soda to your bath water, or to a bowl of water to wet your hair and rinse the shampoo out of it afterwards. There are many other water softeners out there; note that these will only help soften your water to stop it reacting with soap, they will not stop limescale build up if that is what you want to achieve.

The best way of softening water is to use an ion exchange filter. You can buy small ones that fit directly onto your taps. The water passes through the filter which is made from zeolite beads that contain sodium ions. The magnesium and calcium compounds in hard water split apart and form magnesium and calcium ions. The sodium ions in the beads swap with the magnesium and calcium ions therefore softening the water.

How to Wash Residue Out of your Hair if you Have Used Untreated Hard Water and Traditional Solid Shampoo

The residue left by traditional soaps in your hair can be hard to rinse out, especially if you are trying to rinse it out with hard water. Do not worry, it is not actually that hard to remedy! There are few ways you can reduce or get rid of the build up of residue left in your hair. One way is to buy a specialist shampoo to use once a month to give your hair a good clear out, but this will come in a plastic bottle and might defeat the object of switching. A popular method is to use apple cider vinegar - all you have to do is wash, condition, and rinse your hair as normal, then use 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of the apple cider vinegar as a last rinse. The vinegar will strip the residue from your hair - a bit like how white vinegar is great for removing soap residue around the house. The problem with vinegar is its strong distinctive smell so some people opt for this as their final option. Within the solid shampoo users' community, one of the favourite methods to remove residue from your hair is baking soda. In a container, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to some water then simply rub the solution into your hair. This will not only make the shampoo lather a lot easier, but also help with the rinsing process. If you have really stubborn residue, you can try using both the baking soda and apple cider vinegar methods simultaneously, but this is not normally necessary.

20 Areas of the UK with the Hardest Water

Below is a list of the top 20 areas of the UK with the hardest water so if you live in one of these areas take particular care when using any products containing natural soap:

01. Ipswich

02. Colchester

03. Luton

04. Norwich

05. Watford

06. Stevenage

07. Swindon

08. Harrow

09. Hemel Hempstead

10. St Albans

11. Reading

12. Cambridge

13. Dartford

14. Hull

15. Bath

16. Bromley

17. Milton Keynes

18. Canterbury

19. Bromley

20. Slough


Natural shampoo bars are a fantastic alternative to liquid shampoos that most of us are used to. At the KnowledgeIsKey Store we offer a variety of eco-friendly, vegan products at an affordable price, so if you're willing to try out something new and help protect the environment at the same time, look no further!


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