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5 Best Laundry Detergents for Hard Water – (Reviews & Guide 2021)

Laundry detergents started their development in response to soap shortages during World War II. Today they are a given and every household uses them. However, there is a lot to consider before buying one, especially if you have to overcome the negative effects of hard water supplied to your home. That is why we have taken the time to investigate the best laundry detergents for hard water and compiled them neatly for you. Not only that but we will share some interesting facts and information along with laundry detergent for hard water reviews that give details about each product.

Arm & Hammer Odor Neutralizing Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard Water

Arm & Hammer Odor Neutralizing Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard Water

  • Price: $
  • Load: 50
  • Benefit: It has strong odor removing abilities
  • Form: Powder
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Calgon 3 in 1 Water Softener Tablets for Hard Water

Calgon 3 in 1 Water Softener Tablets for Hard Water

  • Price: $$
  • Load: 75
  • Benefit: Helps to prolong the life of your washing machine
  • Form: Tablet
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Nellie’s Laundry Soda for Hard Water

Nellie’s Laundry Soda for Hard Water

  • Price: $$$
  • Load: 100
  • Benefit: Free From: SLS, SLES, gluten, phosphates, fragrance and chlorine
  • Form: Powder
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Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster and Hard Water Treatment

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster and Hard Water Treatment

  • Price: $$
  • Load: 1 Pack
  • Benefit: Removes problem minerals from your water
  • Form: Powder
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Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard Water

Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard Water

  • Price: $$
  • Load: 90
  • Benefit: Free from phosphates, bleach, dyes, optical brighteners, parabens and SLS / SLES
  • Form: Powder
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Best Laundry Detergents for Hard Water – (Newest Models)

This is the part where you really get informed on the subject of laundry detergents for hard water. Our crew has handpicked the top products and we have analyzed them for you. Check them all out and make an informed decision.

1. Arm & Hammer Odor Neutralizing Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard Water

Arm & Hammer Odor Neutralizing Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard WaterBeing a quality proven brand Arm & Hammer delivers a powerful yet gentle formula for laundry washing that can solve hard water problems once and for all. Equally effective in hot and cold water, the Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent allows you to use it on short cycles, which usually run at lower water temperature.

Detergent can cause skin irritation and allergy development more than often. Arm & Hammer have found the key to eliminate such possible effects without sacrificing any other qualities that one may look for in a detergent.

This is a dyes and perfume-free detergent with sodium, potassium, and carbonate ingredients allowing it to regulate pH levels and maintain stable alkaline conditions. It is absolutely safe to use on both white and colored clothing.

Another good use aside from laundry is to eliminate bad odor around the house (like if your cat goes where it wants to).

Not only is it safe for the septic system but it will make it smell much better.

There have been complaints about the packaging, which is more susceptible to damage during transportation


  • Perfume and dyes free.
  • Effective in hot and cold water.
  • It has strong odor removing abilities.
  • Suitable for sensitive skin and hypoallergenic.


  • Poor packaging.

2. Calgon 3 in 1 Water Softener Tablets for Hard Water

Calgon 3 in 1 Water Softener Tablets for Hard WaterThe 3 in 1 reference is to the three actions performed by the tablet formula. Namely, odor removing, anti-dirt action, and limescale protection.

The bad odor usually comes from build-up in the washing machines, which accumulates from undissolved detergent and dirt. Speaking of dirt, this is the second act of the tablets. By helping the detergents overcome hard water constraints its full power is unleashed upon the dirt and it is removed much more thoroughly, hence no dirt build-up.

Last but not least – limescale. This hard chalky deposit, which can clog any appliance is prevented from forming with each use of the tablets thanks to their water softening effect. They are not a descaler but they do a fine job in prevention.

Calgon tablets are suitable for all kinds of fabrics and you just need to add one on top of your detergent in the main compartment of the washing machine. They work perfectly with High-Efficiency washing machines as well as with the traditional ones and they are safe for the septic system.


  • Prevents limescale deposits.
  • Highly effective for softening water.
  • Removes bad odor from the washing machine.
  • Suitable for all fabrics.


  • The packaging is hard to open.

3. Nellie’s Laundry Soda for Hard Water

Nellie’s Laundry Soda for Hard WaterWhen you start using Nellie’s Soda you no longer need fabric softener, and you don’t need to worry about allergy and skin irritation.

It works wonders with hard water regardless if it is from a well or the supply in your city. Dark color clothes are not affected and there is no fading when using Nellie’s Soda but you should always check the labels for any specific instructions.

Adding a scoop of the powder directly in the drum with the wash load is recommended, especially if your washing machine is a High-Efficiency one because they use less water pressure, and it is not enough to rinse out the detergent compartment.

The concentrated formula with four ingredients allows for quick and efficient dissolving in hot and cold water, so no residue can harm appliances or leave spots on clothes.

Nellie’s soda is free from SLS, SLES, gluten, phosphate, fragrances, and chlorine, which doesn’t decrease its performance but makes it healthier and safer to use.


  • Overcomes all hard water-related problems.
  • Efficient in hot and cold water.
  • There are no hard chemicals in the content.
  • A self-sufficient stand-alone laundry detergent.


  • Occasionally customers receive Nellie’s Soda without the tin box.

4. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster and Hard Water Treatment

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster and Hard Water TreatmentCharlie’s soap is created to treat hard water by removing minerals, like calcium which refrains detergents from working properly. Hard water scale is prevented, and your appliances are safe from corrosion, clogging, and eventually grave damage.

This booster can be used on colored fabrics and the one tablespoon measure of the scoop is perfectly sufficient for a standard wash load. You don’t have to fill it up even and if you use it this way you may get up to one hundred loads of use from one pack.

There would be no problem adding it to the detergent compartment because it is as efficient in hot water as it is in cold. However, if you prefer you can also spatter it in the drum of the washing machine.

The laundry booster is septic safe so even if you have a septic tank you will have no problems with it. Adding it to your homemade laundry detergent is not a problem but it is recommended that it is used separately and added to the laundry directly.


  • Economical use.
  • Works well in hot and cold water.
  • The scent is very subtle.
  • The booster is septic safe.


  • Packaging may arrive damaged

5. Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard Water

Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder for Hard WaterWhat stands out about the Rockin’ Green Detergent is its hypoallergenic nature and skin sensitivity concern. It contains no dyes or fillers and is completely safe for the kids’ clothes, delicate fabrics, and even cloth diapers.

The Rockin’ Green laundry detergent is a stand-alone one and you won’t need to use any supplement even if your water has very high levels of hardness. It works well in High-Efficiency and top-loading washing machines because it is a residue-free product.

A natural scent is accomplished by essential oils that are potent enough and maintain a perfect balance, unlike many detergents that are strongly scented. If, however, any sense of scent is not to your liking the product is also offered unscented.

Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent is made of safe and phosphate-free ingredients that are capable of sanitizing and killing bacteria. No hard chemicals are used and no animal testing. The detergent is also completely safe for your pets’ bedding or clothes.


  • Phosphate, gluten, SLS, SLES – free product.
  • Never tested on animals and the bag is recyclable.
  • Self-sufficient in very hard water.
  • Hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin.


  • The scent may be too light for some preferences.

Does It Matter What Laundry Detergent I Use?

Best Laundry Detergents for Hard WaterThe short answer to the question ‘’Does it matter what laundry detergent I use?’’ is ‘’Yes, it does matter’’. If you get a detergent that is made to work with hard water, you will immediately tell the difference. Here are a few reasons:

  • Hard water can prevent your detergent to dissolve entirely and leave a residue. Having chalk-like sticky stains on your clothes might be a sign of hard water not allowing the detergent to do its job.
  • Your towels and clothes will feel stiff and look dingy. If the detergent hasn’t dissolved, then your clothes are probably not washed properly.
  • Unclean and stiff clothes will make you use hotter water and more detergent.
  • The interaction between hard water and a simple detergent can lead to deposits in your washing machine that can damage it with time.

If you don’t have a water softener like the ones from this review of top-class water softeners, then you might want to think about getting one. Meanwhile, you can turn to detergents that can overcome water hardness.

How do I Know If My Water is Hard?

There are usually signs of hard water everywhere on the joints and spray wholes of your water running installations. Either hard water stains which are caused by the oxidation of the hard metals or soap scum which forms because the hard water doesn’t allow the soap to dissolve. What is more, every municipality will give you information about the hardness of the water supply.

Also, the company which is running the local water supply should be able to give you that information. If you don’t trust them just get a water test kit and see for yourself.

Can Hard Water Cause Any Harm?

The answer is yes. With time it will cause harm to your appliances, make them rust and clog. If you have sensitive skin, you can develop an allergy and not even know what is causing it. Hard water doesn’t allow soap to dissolve completely and it will remain on your skin causing it to irritate and with the time you can develop an allergy.

If you are thinking of trying to avoid this by using a water softener shower head, you should first read this review of water softener showerheads.

Hard water will prevent your detergent from reaching its full effect and diminish its qualities. Your clothes will not have a fresh look but seem dingy and feel stiff. This will make you wash again and use more detergent.

All these factors lead to a greater expense. Instead of saving water, energy, and money, you will be wasting more of all three.

What Should I Look For In a Laundry Detergent If my Water Is Hard?

Laundry Detergents for Hard Water ReviewsDetergent manufacturers have advanced in developing products with more natural ingredients that won’t fail at cleaning well. The high demand for such types of products has drawn their attention to consider people’s health.

Liquid vs Powder

Powder detergents outperform liquids in soft water because nothing is preventing them from fully dissolving and reaching their full potential. They have now developed drastically and have an advantage over liquid ones in terms of cost. So, they shouldn’t be overlooked entirely when speaking about hard water.

According to experiment results, the key ingredient that helps powder detergents perform better in hard water is a bleach additive.

The lower cost of powder detergents can be deceiving when they have to perform in hard water. Statistics show that due to their bad performance the users are made to us 30% more product.

Extensive experiments and research do prove that a liquid detergent deals better with hard water. The main reason for this is that they contain nonionic surfactants and no electrical charge. That is how they dissolve well under different temperature and water hardness conditions.


It is most common that the ingredients are not well registered on the packaging and even if some of the ingredients are listed in there, they would be hard to understand unless you dig into them online. You can however learn more about the ingredients from the manufacturer or the state department in charge of licensing or certification.


There are many qualities in a laundry detergent that must be taken into consideration or are simply what customers are looking for:

  • Amazing scent options
  • Great stain removal power
  • Hypoallergenic qualities
  • Natural ingredients – Eco-friendly
  • Economical use
  • Low or moderate price

All these factors can make the choice very hard and eventually something must be sacrificed.

If you have an allergy to detergent scents you will have to go with a hypoallergenic detergent and you will not have perfume-smelling clothes. You will however lose that resistant dry cough and skin itching.

Don’t be fooled that a water softener shower head can help you get rid of skin irritation caused by hard water. Read this review of water softener shower heads and find out why.

All-natural detergents tend to be more expensive, so if they are not suitable for your budget you will have to settle with some chemical content.

If you have kids, you would most probably be looking for a detergent that can do magic with stains and you would have to sacrifice natural ingredients.

Hard water is not a problem only in the bathroom, but also in the kitchen. Learn how to safely remove hard water stains from granite, too!


There are a few things you can do yourself which require less money and not so much effort:

  • Use vinegar – Vinegar is an acid that can increase the solubility of powder detergent and so help it reach its full washing potential.
  • Add Borax (Sodium Tetraborate) – a white mineral used for removing stains, mildew, and mold. It has a proven effect on clothes washing and has been used for decades.
  • Pre-soak in washing soda – a chemical compound often used to treat hard water

Wrap up

Investing more money is not the only solution and it might not always give you the result you are looking for. That is why we try to serve the important facts and information to you. We hope that our best laundry detergents for hard water research facilitate your choices and make you come back for more. This is after all that we try to achieve by gathering and modeling all the information available out there.

Our team has prepared laundry detergent for hard water reviews to help you gain a better understanding of what is available on the market in terms of the best quality and not only. Leave us a comment to let us know if it was useful for you. Thanks for reading and as always -stay put!

Are you having trouble with hard water in your kitchen too? Check out our dishwasher detergents for hard water reviews, as well!

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