Washing Your Hair With Hard Water

June 24, 2013

You can buy special shampoo and conditioner for hard and soft water areas. Try the brand AreaH20 at or other places online.



8 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 3, 2011

How do I keep the iron in hard water from ruining my hair?

By Stacy from Milton, DE


February 4, 20111 found this helpful

I also have very hard water. I keep a small bottle with an applicator tip ( like the hair color bottles) in the shower with about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in it filled the rest of the way up with water. When you are done shampooing, squeeze a little all over your hair and apply your regular conditioner. Leave on a min or two then rinse. I read this tip on a hair dresser's web site and it works for me.


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February 4, 20110 found this helpful

Ditto with using the apple cider vinegar rinse. :-)


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February 4, 20112 found this helpful

Boil the water before your use it to get all of the 'yuckies' out of it. That is also how 'distilled water' is made if anyone wants to know, why buy distilled water when all you have to do is boil it, cool it off and use it.


Good luck with your situation!

February 4, 20113 found this helpful

Just a quick clarification to the response by Paula Jo Carr. Boiling water doesn't turn it into distilled water, it just kills any bacteria. Distillation is the process of boiling the water and re-condensing the steam into a clean container, leaving contaminants behind.

To make distilled water from boiling water, you have to capture the steam created during the boiling process and direct it into a second vessel, such as through those coiled tubes you see in a laboratory. The steam re-condenses into water in the second vessel and that water is distilled.

The boiled water in the pan is bacteria free, but not free of all of the original metals and elements, such as iron and manganese which make the water "hard." Those are still present after simply boiling.


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February 4, 20112 found this helpful

My mom lives where ther is so much iron in her well water that you can see it, & she has to buy her drinking water. She has always used a cider vinegar rinse on her hair after her shampoo & even though her hair is very fine, she is always complimented by her hairdressers on how soft & pretty it is.


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February 7, 20112 found this helpful

Try taking a little shampoo and mix in some salt. I have read that this is very helpful as the salt softens hard water.

March 23, 20191 found this helpful

Boiling water does not remove minerals, like iron

September 1, 20231 found this helpful

Boiling water does not get hard water minerals out. It concentrates them. Distilled water is the essentially the steam that rise from the boiled water leaving behind all the 'yuckies' as you call them in the water that has been boiled.

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November 13, 2019

Does anyone have some tips for washing hair with hard water?


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November 13, 20190 found this helpful

We have always had hard water. I use as little shampoo as possible. No conditioner (too hard to get it out of my hair) and I don't use a blow dryer (but that is not because of the water, but because it was really damaging my hair).


When I was younger and more into hair styles and hair health (BG--before gray), I would use a lot of homemade hair masks, especially those made with bananas and honey. They kept my hair very bouncy and shiny! . I can find some of my old recipes if you want them.

Then I also used to gather rain water for my rinses (to rinse out the masks). I would take a new (clean) bucket--we get a lot of rain in Pittsburgh and put it in the back yard during a storm. Rain water left my hair really nice after the masks.

One time I tried a beer rinse--which I had read about in a ladies magazine of the day. It was supposed to be the best for those who had hard water. My dad had some rot gut beer that was skunked and he gave it to me to try. Sadly it did not make my hair soft and left a terrible smell. Maybe it needs to be fresh...I never tried it again!


Hope you find things that work for you!! My system of today with a minimum amount of shampoo is the best!!


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November 13, 20190 found this helpful

Make a solution of 1T of vinegar with 3 cups of water and wash with that.


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November 13, 20190 found this helpful

Use a clarifying shampoo. If possible, do your very last hair rinse with purified water.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
November 13, 20190 found this helpful

Baby shampoo is always a good way to keep your hair clean with hard water. I also found out if you water down your shampoo just a little this also helps so much.


It makes it a lot easier to get your hair clean and all the shampoo out of your hair.


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November 15, 20190 found this helpful

Use chelating shampoo to avoid mineral build up on your hair.
Install a water filter.
Make an apple cider vinegar rinse.
Use argan oils helps stop build up on your hair.
The acid in lemon and vinegar helps reduce build up.

November 22, 20190 found this helpful

To make your hair softer and it is also dye friendly and good for hair when using hard water is when you are going to wash your hair, put a few tablespoons of mayonnaise onto your hair while it is wet and let it sit for 15-20 minutes on your hair before washing. Then wash with a gently dye friendly shampoo. This is what I do because I have hard water where I live and it makes my hair look great.

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December 29, 2009

We have hard water in our home. Having a water softener is a long way away. So I was wondering if anyone can suggest a shampoo that can handle hard water? I find my hair is dull and flat with the build up. Any suggestions?

By Sheila from Ontario, Canada


December 30, 20090 found this helpful

We have hard well water too. I have fine hair but lots of it. It can get fly-away pretty easy if I let it get too dry. I use Aveeno Nourish + Revitalize daily and then about once a week or so I wash my hair with Neutrogena anti-residue shampoo.


I buy both shampoos at Walmart. Also, I never use really hot water on my hair and I rinse, rinse, rinse because it seems like it's harder to get all the shampoo out with hard water.

December 31, 20090 found this helpful

Douse your hair with vinegar after shampooing, to close the cuticle,then rinse with cool water.


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January 1, 20100 found this helpful

We have hard water also. We use sunlight dish soap to wash our hair. Works great.

January 1, 20100 found this helpful

Ion purifying solutions Hard Water Shampoo. Made by: Professional Products, Inc.


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January 1, 20100 found this helpful

We have well water so our water is hard also. I use no special brand shampoos but I do use a different shampoo once a week to wash out the hair oil, hairspray build-up, gels & mousses, etc & if wish to, put white vinegar in a spray bottle to keep in the shower & after done washing hair, spray hair all over, distribute with fingers then leave in or rinse out. The smell of the vinegar will dissipate & does not stay plus it makes your hair shiny & soft. Hope this helps,

January 12, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, Sheila,
I got this suggestion from ThriftyFun last year and I have used it satisfactorily ever since: Mix baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) into liquid shampoo (I use SunSilk 'anti-flat' shampoo) to make a paste. Wet your hair very well, then scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture, rub it between your hands, and work it through your hair. You might need to repeat this for the first time or so until your hair is rid of the hard-water buildup.

The baking soda is really cheap, so it extends your shampoo. You can add a little warm water to the mixture and put it into a bottle; be sure to shake it up (end over end) before using to mix it well. You can use a vinegar spray if you want, but even with our very hard water, I get good results with a small amount of SunSilk conditioner ('anti-flat' formula) rinsed out very well, and my naturally wavy hair is soft and bouncy.

Good luck, Nancy in NC

July 12, 20230 found this helpful

Never use White Vinegar in hair! White Vinegar is for cleaning and washing clothing.
Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar be the only Vinegar in your hair! Only the best is correct. 1/3 cup in 6 cups of Water in pitcher.
Or a 1/4.
Shiny clean hair! Use monthly. Or once a month or so.

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March 18, 2014

I just moved into my new apt. and it has really bad hard water. My hair feels like it's covered in wax, when I get out and it takes 10x longer to blow dry. I use Tresemee shampoo and conditioner everyday, but should I switch it up to a shampoo that will help me with my hair dilemma? If so what kind?

By Jenna E.


March 20, 20140 found this helpful

A vinegar rinse each time (google to find the proper proportions of vinegar and water) If it doesn't help try using a clarifying shampoo once a month, more often if you shampoo more than a couple times per week. Your usual shampoo brand likely also sells a clarifying formula as well. Both of these things help remove buildup on your hair. Also, look at your shampoo, conditioner, and any styling products you use-read the ingredients, looking for silicones and other -cones or -ones: these can coat your hair and make the effects of hard water even more difficult to handle.

March 20, 20140 found this helpful

If you have any way of collecting it, you'd be best off washing your hair with rainwater, which is naturally soft.

March 20, 20140 found this helpful

Try rinsing your hair with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water. 50/50

March 21, 20140 found this helpful

I heard wash with baking soda and rinse with vinegar, vinegar smell goes away as you rinse. Please let us know how this went.

March 21, 20140 found this helpful

Try rinsing with a capful of vinegar. Pour on, rub and rinse with water. This will help make your hair softer and it will feel cleaner. Be careful not to get it in your eyes.

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April 27, 2005

Does anyone know how to get well water build up out of hair?



ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 3, 2011

Does anyone know of a good way to neutralize the effects hard water has on hair?


December 29, 2009

Has anyone found a natural, organic daily shampoo and/or conditioner that works well with hard water? Our hair is so dull. Thanks.

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