Thread Number: 72818  /  Tag: Detergents and Additives
Water softeners(Calgon etc.)-Do they really make washing machine live longer?
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Post# 962119   10/12/2017 at 10:03 (345 days old) by GRWasher_expert (Athens)        

Water softening additives, such as Calgon, are often advertised through greek tv channels, and I think that the same happens in the rest of the europe too(most Calgon ads we see here are french or german ads dubbed in greek).They promise to stop limescale deposits and to remove any dirt and soap residue from the washer, thus making it live longer.The stuff is pretty expensive at most greek supermarkets and I was wondering if it really does make the washing machine live longer or is it just a marketing fraud.I think that such products are not sold at all in american market.Has anyone used this stuff and noticed any difference than using detergent alone?

Post# 962121 , Reply# 1   10/12/2017 at 10:16 (345 days old) by MrAlex (London, UK)        

Which decided that it wasn't necessary, I mean.. If it's just used in the wash cycle, what happens in the rinse cycle? That water isn't softened. Might be better to get a AEG with water softener built in. If Hard water and limescale is a concern.

I've spent so much time thinking about it and just decided to stop worrying lol

Post# 962133 , Reply# 2   10/12/2017 at 12:11 (345 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        

Not only do all detergents include water softening additives, but there are far cheaper options.

For example, with the AEG that has build in softner, a pack of normal dishwasher salt is less then 1€ for 2kg here, sometines even cheaper if you buy in bulk. That is enough for about 60 wash cycles if I remeber correctly.

Or, just run a descaling wash once a month. A pack of powdered cutric acid is about 2€, and that stuff is far cheaper if bought in bulk, and is multi purpose.

Post# 962136 , Reply# 3   10/12/2017 at 12:14 (345 days old) by liamy1 (-)        
Total con

They’re really not needed, a good quality laundry detergent already has water softeners built it, and provided it is dosed correctly, this will soften the water for washing.

One benefit I suppose is that if you do live in a hard water area, then you could use calgon and then dose your detergent as per a soft water area, allowing your detergent to go further (but the cost of calgon would probably negate any saving).

I am extremely lucky in the sense that I am in an extremely soft water area, and always have been (softest water area in UK - you can barely get a reading)

I don’t claim to be that knowledgable on this, but I did hear that calgon does contain a certain ingredient /ingredient combintaion which is useful for stripping mineral/ build up from towels (as opposed to the softening agents in detergent)

But using calgon as advertised - waste of time, use a good proper detergent does or have a water softener installed.

Post# 962165 , Reply# 4   10/12/2017 at 15:45 (344 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Oh I don't know

launderess's profile picture
It's a toss up.

If you have moderate to very hard water using a packaged water softener *might* prove of some benefit, if only because you could use less detergent. OTOH as already mentioned simply using more detergent accomplishes the same thing.

Main noise about packaged water softeners and laundry came from days when soap was still the dominate detergent for laundry. There without an abundance of soft and clear water an already drudge of a job became more difficult.

Modern surfactants and builders found in detergents are largely unaffected by water hardness and or can over come same, again if used in proper qualities.

Calgon itself no longer is phosphate based so really don't see the need. If and when one is going to bother with packaged water softener; phosphates are what one reaches for as nothing else will do.

Post# 962167 , Reply# 5   10/12/2017 at 15:57 (344 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
Calgon is so expensive overhere that it's cheaper to use extra detergent.

Post# 962178 , Reply# 6   10/12/2017 at 16:57 (344 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
for 'Launderess'

'Launderess' - I purchased and have read the delightful Bendix owner's manual for their first automatic. As I suppose was necessary in those days, it appears to be essential that the operator be able to evaluate soap suds. It even gets down to showing "lively" (sic) suds versus lifeless, weak suds.

You're obviously a person of knowledge on here--do you consider yourself a good judge of suds?

Post# 962190 , Reply# 7   10/12/2017 at 18:03 (344 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Judge of suds

launderess's profile picture
Usually a layer at least one to two inches of thick "lively" suds was considered minimum.

Post# 962245 , Reply# 8   10/13/2017 at 03:02 (344 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

mrboilwash's profile picture
From an environmental standpoint the use of a seperate phosphatefree watersoftener does make sense in very hard water areas because you only increase the load of builders in the wastewater vs the whole bunch of chemicals if you simply increase the amount of detergent.

From an economical standpoint considering how overpriced everything Reckitt Benckiser is it is probably cheaper to increase the detergent dose instead.

As to your question whether they really make washing machine life longer I don`t know. Calgon ads have been around for decades in Europe trying to scare housewives of expensive repairs caused by failing heating elements covered in thick coats of limescale.
Rather recently they even added stinky washers to their scare tactics in their ads.

Again as long as the detergent is sufficiantly dosed, none of these scenarios should ever happen.

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