Water quality across the UK can vary significantly, depending on where you live. This can be due to water in some areas containing a build-up of minerals such and calcium and magnesium, which is known as hard water.
Hard water doesn’t lather up with soap, and can impact our washing and cleaning, and leaves on sanitaryware. However, research on water quality across the country has helped to create a map of the UK’s hard water areas.
Hard water can cause problems with kettles, washing machines, showerheads, and pipes, and those living in hard water areas are more likely to suffer boiler breakdowns. Hard water can cause hair dye to fade faster, and a higher level of calcium ions in water can even change the colour of the dye.
Nine areas in England and Wales were named as having ‘very hard water’, and 16 areas were said to have ‘hard water’, with most of the areas in East Anglia, the East Midlands, and the South East.
Essex was found to have the ‘worst’ water for skin, hair and teeth, as the analysis found that the county has some of the hardest water and the highest levels of turbidity (the cloudiness of the water) in the UK.
This was followed by Hertfordshire with the second-worst water for skin and beauty, alongside Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in joint third position.
The ‘best’ tap water for beauty, skin and hair health was found in Shropshire and Powys. The soft water and low nitrate levels common in these Welsh border counties were some of the best out of those analysed.
The North West did well in the rankings for soft water, with Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, and Greater Manchester all coming at the top of the table.
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