Ionized, Deionized, Soft, Hard – What Does it All Mean?!

The water that comes out of the tap can be a little confusing at times. The water that comes out of the tap can be a little confusing at times. What exactly does it mean to have “hard water”? Is there something wrong with my regular, old tap water? And what about “soft water”? These are questions you may have asked yourself before, but don’t worry! We’re here to help explain these words and more so that you can make sense of your H2O.


Ionization is the process of separating electrically charged particles from a solution. To do this, you must apply a voltage to the solution—either positive or negative. Positive ions are generally referred to as cations and negative ions as anions; if you have a positive charge on one side of your substance and a negative charge on the other side, it’s called ionization.

If you’re trying to purify water, for example, electricity can be used to separate out the ions in your liquid so that they’re easier to remove with filters or boiling methods. This is also useful when dealing with gaseous materials like air or gases emitted by combustion engines (like CO2).


Deionization is the process of removing dissolved ions from a solution. In deionization, an ion exchange filter (often called a DI cartridge) is used to trap the ions through a chemical reaction. The filter has two sides: one side has negatively-charged particles on it and the other side has positively-charged particles. To remove ions from water, you pass it through the cartridge in such a way that all of your water passes over both sides of the cartridge at once.

The negatively charged particle will attract any positively charged ions in your water while simultaneously repelling any negatively charged ions (since they are already bonded with another). This leaves you with clean water free from all dissolved minerals or contaminants including things like salt, metals, minerals, and more!

Deionization is often used in commercial and industrial applications. It’s most often used in medical settings, where water free of impurities and bacteria is used for a range of things from cleaning equipment, to surgery prep, and even dialysis treatments.

The Benefits of Switching to Soft Water

Soft water can rid your home of all the pain points that come with hard water. Switching to soft water, through the installation of a water filtration system, gives your home an endless supply of clean, filtered water proving beneficial for both your family and your home’s appliances. Water softening utilizes a process called “ion exchange” to remove dissolved hard water minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Water softeners have resin beads that hold onto sodium, and as the hard water flows through the resin, the sodium is swapped for the hard water minerals. The hard water minerals are then trapped in the softener.

Soft water can help extend the life of your dishwasher, washing machine, air conditioner, water heater, and refrigerator by lowering the amount of mineral buildup in the components of your machines. Additionally, your skin will thank you for switching to soft water. Soft water can be helpful in the treatment of acne and other conditions where it is vital to minimize any form of skin irritation. Soft water not only makes it easier to rinse off any soap you may have used on your body or hair, but it also prevents excessive skin drying and is less likely to clog your pores.

Hard Water

Hard water is water that contains dissolved minerals, most commonly calcium and magnesium. These minerals give hard water its “hard” reputation; they also cause problems for homeowners when they’re in the plumbing system. When you have hard water, it can clog pipes, boilers and dishwashers; it can cause scale build-up on fixtures and appliances; it can leave a white residue on dishes; it can cause soap to be less effective, and it can cause skin and hair to feel dry.

Hard water isn’t just an annoyance—it’s also expensive! Hard water leaves you with higher utility bills because your appliances use more energy to function properly. And if you’re not sure if your home has hard water, Culligan Water of Greater Kansas City can test for free!

Soft Water

Soft water is the kind of water that you want to use in your home. It has a low mineral content, which means it’s good for washing clothes, dishes and hair. Soft water is also great for skin and plants because it doesn’t leave any residue behind on any surfaces.

You might not be able to tell by looking at the person in front of you that they have soft water coming out of their faucet but you can certainly tell if they don’t! Individuals with hard water often find themselves with dry skin, dull hair, and even rashes after taking baths in regular tap water—especially when combined with soap products containing chemicals such as sulfates (SLS), parabens and lanolin derivatives (lanolin).Fortunately, there are a number of ways to have better water available for your family. At Culligan Water of Greater Kansas City, we work directly with you to find the perfect solution to your water needs: water deliverywater softenersunder-the-counter RO systems, and even whole-home systems are available. Schedule a FREE water test with one of our experts today!


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