Parents can quickly become concerned and overprotective, especially with their first child. The fear of doing something wrong is great. In certain areas it is important to obtain extensive information and to adhere to certain “rules”. For other problems, it’s better to listen to your gut feeling. We answer the most important questions about the use of water  in baby food. So that you know when to listen to your intuition and when it is better not to.


Can i use tap water?

Basically, this question can be answered with a clear yes. The tap water  in Austria is principally of high quality and is more strictly controlled than mineral water. The controlled limit values are based on adults. If you are unsure whether the quality is also suitable for babies, you can easily ask the waterworks. This is a little more difficult with a domestic well. Here is a water test  advisable, which is geared precisely to the needs of babies and toddlers.

However, the last few meters, i.e. the water pipes in the house, are decisive for the water quality. The water supplier cannot guarantee this. In some old houses these days there are still lead pipes, if the water comes out of them, it is definitely not suitable for baby food. Copper tubing can also be problematic. You should be careful here with new buildings, as relatively much copper is released into the water through the pipes in the first three years. In case of doubt, a water test saves you unpleasant surprises or lugging around with purchased water.

In principle, always let the water run off first. If it has been in the pipe for a long time, we speak of so-called stagnation water, which absorbs many substances from the pipe and sometimes also has a higher number of germs. Even if the tap has not been turned on for an hour, standing water is already unsuitable. Let it drain until it is evenly cool. Usually it takes between two and five liters. Whether tap water has to be boiled before use is controversial. Some doctors recommend boiling the water during the baby’s first six months of life. Others believe that it promotes allergies. 


Our water at home is very hard. Will that harm my child?

Lime looks unsavory when it is in the kettle  deposits. But don’t worry: the white coating consists of the minerals calcium and magnesium, which pose no danger to the human organism. In principle, they are even healthy. However, in the small amount in which they occur in our drinking water, this has hardly any effect on the human body.

However, the body of babies can sometimes not handle the minerals that well. Hard water can therefore lead to gas and constipation in sensitive children. When preparing bottles, some parents also have bad experiences with hard water. The milk powder does not dissolve well in it. This is why some parents soften their water. But be careful with filter jugs  required: These germinate very quickly and can thus burden babies much more than the unfiltered water.


Should my baby drink water in addition to breast milk or a bottle?

Babies who are breastfed or who are given milk mixed with powder do not need additional fluids. As soon as complementary food is started, it makes sense to offer the child a drink. But don’t despair if he doesn’t want to drink at first. As long as you still feed it predominantly with milk, no further liquid is required. Only when the baby is given more porridge or complementary food than milk should it drink more.

Even in hot summers, no additional drinking is necessary at the beginning. If it is really very hot, simply offer the child the breast or the bottle more often. A bad idea is to dilute baby formula with water. The powder should always be mixed with water exactly as specified, as it is perfectly adapted to the needs of the baby. Sometimes there are still doubts as to whether the child is drinking enough fluids. If the diaper is wet three times a day, there is no reason for such doubt.


What should my child drink with complementary food?

The following applies to the first drinks in baby’s life: the more natural, the better. If your tap water is suitable for babies, it is perfect as a drink. When buying water, you should pay attention to the values for nitrate and sodium. Nitrate should contain a maximum of 10 milligrams per liter, sodium 20 milligrams. The values for sodium in particular are often far higher, as there are no limit values for this in mineral waters. Carbonated water is also unsuitable. The acid can cause flatulence or attack the enamel of the first few teeth.

Some parents like to use special baby teas as a drink. Here it is important to pay attention to natural ingredients and not to sweeten the tea. Some teas are more likely to be considered medicinal products due to their ingredients. It is best to ask your pediatrician which tea he recommends. Caffeinated drinks such as black tea or cola are definitely not suitable for the little ones. Lemonades are also taboo due to their sugar content and carbon dioxide. Fruit juices, on the other hand, are fine when diluted. But they should rather be an exception. If the child drinks sugary drinks from an early age, this can lead to tooth decay even before the first teeth break through.

Our skin is our largest organ. It regulates body temperature and defends us against bacteria and viruses. She comes with water every day  in contact – when washing hands, showering and cleaning the apartment. Perhaps your skin has already seemed completely different to you on vacation. It may be tense, flaky, or red. Perhaps you have noticed improvements and have been able to do without moisturizers and the like. Why is that so? The answer lies in the hardness of the water.


What does hard water mean for personal hygiene?

Hard or chalky water has a high mineral content. The minerals calcium and magnesium are responsible for the hardness of the water  are responsible. These additives are healthy to drink. If you have hard water at home, you will certainly be annoyed by calcified surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. Lime not only looks unsavory, it can even seriously damage appliances such as coffee machines or irons. How calcareous the drinking water  is different from place to place. Test in our water category  learn how to find out water hardness.

Just as minerals are deposited in the kettle or on the bathroom tiles, they can also remain on the skin. Some people don’t even notice the difference between soft and hard water, others react very strongly to it. In general, problems are less common with soft water. Since it contains only a few minerals, it feels softer on the skin. In principle, however, hard water is not unhealthy.


Calcareous water and our skin: these problems exist

While every skin reacts differently, there are a few typical effects of hard water. If the skin is not used to the calcium, it is usually tight and itchy. You may have had such experiences while on vacation or after moving. Soap consumption also increases with hard water. The minerals in the water combine with the cleaning agents in the shower gel or shampoo and partially neutralize it. You can tell by the fact that it no longer foams as well. So we automatically need more to get skin and hair clean.

Our skin has a protective barrier. It has a moisturizing effect and is intended to prevent drying out. The minerals in hard water attack this barrier and cause many people to have dry skin problems. At the same time, the lime can be to blame for skin impurities. Minerals and product residues clog the pores, resulting in blackheads and pimples.


Study shows: lime promotes eczema

Children’s skin is particularly sensitive. A study by scientists at Nottingham University found that there is a direct link between calcium and eczema. Medical water softeners have been installed in the household of children with neurodermatitis. After a few weeks it could be observed that this significantly alleviated eczema. Medicines are not always necessary to alleviate skin diseases.

Other studies also come to the conclusion that atopic dermatitis occurs more often in regions with hard water. All you have to do is ask at the pharmacy. Far more eczema products are sold in areas with hard water. Researchers see a direct connection here.


Solutions against limescale – bring a feeling of wellness into your bathroom

If your skin feels as calcified as the walls of your shower look, a water softener is the only reliable solution. Such devices are available in a wide variety of designs. You can choose a softener that is only installed in the shower, or you can buy a system for the entire house.

Certain care products can also help. Special creams fight itching and dryness. If you have problems with acne or dry facial skin, cleansing water may help. They cleanse the skin sufficiently that you don’t have to put tap water on your skin. Alternatively, washing your face with filtered or distilled water may help. If problems occur mainly on vacation, it makes sense to wash your face with water from a bottle that is low in mineral content.

If you do decide to switch to softened or filtered water, you will notice some changes. The skin will sometimes feel a little “greasy” after washing. Don’t worry, this is normal and your skin will get really clean too. You only feel – probably for the first time – the natural skin barrier! To make sure that your skin problem is really related to the tap water, it is best to ask a doctor. Dermatologists can give you reliable tips for your personal situation.

As different as people are, so are hair and the right care. When choosing the right care product, one thing is often neglected: the water. Every tap water has a different composition. The water hardness, which indicates the lime content of the water, is primarily important for shampooing. Depending on the degree of hardness, there are a few “typical” reactions of the hair.


That makes hard water on your hair

Hard water contains a lot of dissolved calcium and magnesium. To drink  it is superb. The dissolved minerals are important for the body and give the water a good taste. However, hair can become rough and brittle from hard water. Lime can also cause a dry mane. Colored hair often does not last as long if washed with hard water. Some don’t like lime because it makes the hair look dull, others love it because the hair becomes more voluminous and easier to style.

The degree of water hardness also affects the shampoo. Hard water partially neutralizes the washing performance. So you need a lot more care products than with soft water. The shampoo foams little or no foam, but it can easily be washed out of the hair. When styling you can usually confidently do without mousse and hairspray. With thin hair, hard water can be beneficial.


How soft water affects hair care

In contrast to hard water, soft water contains little calcium and magnesium. Some find the taste rather sour, but there are hardly any problems with cleaning or with calcified appliances. Soft water also makes the hair soft. This is definitely an advantage for thick, unruly hair.

The shampoo lathers well, a small amount is enough to get the hair clean. It becomes problematic when rinsing out. It has to be rinsed for a long time and thoroughly until care products are completely gone. This usually leaves residues of shampoo, conditioner and treatment in the hair and weighs it down.

After washing with soft water, the hair usually has less volume. Many feel that hair also becomes greasy faster. This is sometimes due to the product residues that could not be completely rinsed out. Products are usually needed again for styling: mousse and hairspray are only the basic equipment.


Remedy for hard water

On the one hand, you can help yourself with special anti-limescale shampoos that remove mineral residues. These are available in normal drugstores as well as in specialist shops at hairdressers.

Many also swear by a homemade conditioner. To do this, mix two tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice with one liter of normal tap water. Use vinegar and lemon juice rather carefully, otherwise the acid they contain will quickly dry out the scalp and hair.

Another option is to rinse your hair with boiled or filtered water. Some also buy bottled water. However, care should be taken to ensure that it is mineral water with as little calcium and magnesium as possible. Otherwise, the problem may get worse.

A more practical alternative is to install a water softener  – so only soft water flows through your home. Purchasing such a device is a bit more expensive, but it pays for itself quickly. In addition to the hair, you will also thank the coffee maker and shower.


When the hair strikes in other places

Perhaps you have already noticed while on vacation that your hair reacts very differently to normal care. The decisive factor is the unusual hardness of the water. The bad news is that the hair usually does not adapt or only slightly to the new water hardness. Are you moving and know that you will find a different water hardness in the new location? Then you may have to change your hair care routine. Before you experiment for a long time and possibly strain your hair, it is better to ask the hairdresser. There you will receive professional help.

You probably know it – the little red descaling symbol on the coffee machine. It often flashes for weeks until you eventually take your time, buy decalcifier and look for the instructions for use. If you descale regularly, you protect your device. If the pipes are calcified, the water flows through more slowly and is not heated up as quickly. The coffee machine needs more energy, is louder and can potentially result in high repair costs. Many manufacturers also state that the guarantee is void if you do not descale your coffee machine regularly.


Four hundred cups of coffee – or a thousand?

How often the coffee machine needs to be descaled is not that easy to say. Some manufacturers state that the descaling symbol starts to light up after four hundred cups, with others it only flashes after a thousand. So these are only rough approximations. In truth, it depends on how hard the water is  together, hard water must be descaled more often than soft water. If you use softening technology in your household, it will save you a lot of work. The descaling symbol is a good reference point. If you stick to it, you will at least regularly descale.

Another rule of thumb is to descale the coffee machine two to four times a year. Your own coffee consumption can also be used as a guide. With average water hardness and two cups a day, you should descale every six months, with eight cups or more every two months. But you may also notice yourself when it is time to descale. A dull taste, a cup that is less full or the coffee is less hot can be signs of limescale build-up inside the machine. With filter coffee machines and older models without a descaling symbol, you have to rely on such assessments anyway.


Chemical descaler and descaling with home remedies

An acid is required for descaling. Whether this is in a chemical product from the supermarket or you are using a home remedy  use does not matter in principle. Most coffee machine manufacturers recommend a specific product that they have tested their equipment with and that they can guarantee. But that doesn’t mean that any other remedy is bad for the coffee maker. Universal descaler often have the same ingredients as more expensive branded products. It is important to observe the correct mixing ratio according to the manufacturer.

Make the descaler yourself

If you want, you can make a chemical descaler yourself. Many branded products work with sulfamic acid, which can be ordered online in large containers. You should be careful with the dosage – if the coffee machine heats the descaling solution, it must not be too concentrated. Otherwise it can lead to failures, which means that acid crystals settle inside. The heat intensifies the effect of the acid so that it decalcifies effectively even in low concentrations. The following mixing ratio should not be exceeded:

  • Hot decalcification: 15 grams of sulfamic acid per liter of water
  • Cold decalcification: 100 grams of sulfamic acid per liter of water

Home remedies only at your own risk

Home remedies are often used for descaling. What about the kettle  works well, but doesn’t necessarily fit the coffee maker. Machine manufacturers advise against using vinegar, for example, as it can damage the rubber seals in the devices. It can also remain in the coffee’s taste. Citric acid is not necessarily suitable for descaling the coffee machine. If the acid is heated, it combines with lime and can form even more stubborn deposits. You can have success with it, but at your own risk. One cup of vinegar is mixed with two cups of water; for citric acid, one tablespoon is added to the full water tank. Some swear by dissolving a denture cleaner tablet, an aspirin or a packet of baking powder in a full water tank and running the descaling program with it. This can definitely work for less stubborn calcifications.


Descaling the coffee machine – this is how it works

The first thing to do is to clarify whether the coffee machine has its own descaling program. This is the case with most espresso machines and fully automatic coffee machines; modern filter coffee machines usually also have such a program.

These notes are very general because every coffee maker is different. We have summarized some special features of the individual manufacturers. Perhaps they can help you, otherwise you will also find links to the manufacturer’s pages.


Descale the Senseo coffee machine

Philips, the manufacturer of Senseo, recommends descaling at least once every three months. After four hundred cups of coffee, the descaling light with the inscription “CALC” starts to glow. When the coffee is just lukewarm, the cup is not as full as usual or the finished drink has no foam, it is time to descale. You can find detailed videos on descaling the individual models here on the Philips page .


Descale the Dolce Gusto coffee machine

According to the manufacturer, a Dolce Gusto coffee machine should be descaled twice a year. With most models, you can switch to descaling mode by pressing and holding the power button for five seconds. The maximum must be selected for the dosage, then either hot or cold can be decalcified as desired by pressing the corresponding button. The manufacturer also offers video instructions on the own page .


 Descale the Tassimo coffee machine

A red descaling LED also lights up on Tassimo coffee machines when the machine thinks that a lot of limescale has already deposited. A special decalcifying disc is required for descaling. This is a small, yellow or orange disc that comes with the coffee maker. You can usually find this behind the water tank.  The cleaning disc is inserted like a normal coffee disc; only then can the process be started. To do this, keep the start button pressed for a few seconds. On the Tassimo page you can choose your model and find a detailed description.


Descale the Nespresso coffee machine

Nespresso recommends descaling the coffee machine at least twice a year. Almost all models draw attention to the upcoming decalcification anyway. Before starting the process, all capsules must be removed and the decalcifying liquid added. You can switch to descaling mode by pressing and holding the buttons for the coffee size at the same time. Some models have two such buttons, some three. Start the process by pressing the Lungo button. To return to normal mode after the process, simply press and hold the coffee size buttons again for a few seconds. You can find detailed information on this directly at Nespresso .


Descale the Cafissimo coffee machine

Cafissimo coffee machines also have a descaling lamp that draws attention to itself at regular intervals. Depending on the model, there are different options for entering the descaling mode. To do this, either the top and middle coffee type buttons or the steam button and the ON button together or the caffe crema button are held down. You can find a detailed video description of your model on Tchibo blog .


Descale the Delonghi coffee machine

A red LED lights up on Delonghi when it is time to descale. In principle, this works via the frothing nozzle. The descaling liquid is added, the descaling mode is selected and the steam knob is fully opened. The program then runs by itself. Anyone who has misplaced their operating instructions and no longer remembers how to get into the descaling mode can find all the information on here Delonghi coffee machines .

Whether kettle,  coffee machine  or iron. Household appliances that work with water will sooner or later want to be descaled. Some chemical agents are available commercially for this. As is so often the case, the tried and tested home remedies of the mother or grandmother do the same. The secret to getting rid of limescale is quickly revealed – all you need is an acid. Most lime cleaners work with acids that you may already have in your kitchen cupboard at home and that are definitely worth trying to decalcify.


Why should you (not) use home remedies?

There are of course some advantages and disadvantages to using home remedies. If you do not use chemical decalcifying agents, it protects the environment. Most home remedies are more easily biodegradable as they do not contain any additional fragrances or detergents. Home remedies are cheaper compared to conventional descaler. Savings are particularly noticeable with very hard water, as the limescale has to be removed much more often. However, you may pay dearly for these savings later. Many manufacturers of equipment such as coffee machines recommend a specific descaler that they have tested their equipment with. The use of other means often invalidates the guarantee. Descaling with home remedies is always at your own risk.

The problem with home remedies is that the correct dosage cannot be clearly stated. Chemical decalcifying agents indicate exactly in what proportion the product has to be mixed with water, with home remedies it is usually “learning by doing”. A slow approach to the correct dosage is advisable. It is easy to find some instructions on the Internet. If you have no problem with math, you can try to adjust the mixing ratio to chemical descaler. Commercially available agents usually have an acid content of around 15% and are mixed with one or two parts of water, depending on the degree of calcification. The solution that ends up in kettles etc. has between 5 and 7.5% acid. This corresponds roughly to the acidity of an ordinary lemon. However, chemical agents descale more effectively, so that the acid concentration of the home remedies must probably be above this value.


Which home remedies are suitable for descaling?

Depending on the desired application and device, different home remedies are differently suitable.

citric acid

One of the most popular means of descaling is citric acid. It leaves a pleasant smell, but no annoying aftertaste. It must be noted that the acid is only suitable for cold decalcification. If it is heated to 40 ° C or higher, it can combine with the lime and form calcium citrate. This mixture is even more difficult to dissolve than lime and, in the worst case, can seriously damage equipment.

acetic acid

Acetic acid works effectively, the concentrated vinegar essence is even stronger. But the effectiveness also has its disadvantage – coffee machines should not be descaled with vinegar, as the acid can attack sensitive hoses and rubber seals. The intense smell is annoying, and vinegar can also remain in taste. Caution is also advised with the vapors, they should not be inhaled.

baking powder

The all-round talent from the kitchen also removes lime. Baking powder has the positive property that it does not attack chrome and is therefore ideally suited for cleaning calcified chrome fittings. Incidentally, when heated, it foams very strongly, so you should use it sparingly.

Denture cleaner or aspirin

Acid is also found in denture cleaners or aspirin. If you dissolve a tablet in water, the mixture is ideal for descaling. However, some denture cleaners contain flavorings such as mint, which can be difficult to get out of the device.


The popular drink contains phosphoric acid. Cola is primarily suitable for cold decalcification. If it is boiled in a kettle, for example, the sugar it contains can burn in. Since the acid is weaker than in other home remedies, it is not bad to let Cola soak in overnight.

Baking soda

Soda cannot be seen as a classic descaler. This is because it is not an acid, existing limescale deposits cannot be removed with it. But if you add baking soda to the water, it has a softening effect and can prevent limescale deposits. This can also improve the taste of tea and coffee. A tip of a knife every time in the full kettle or the tank of the coffee machine should be enough.

Amidosulfonic acid

This “home remedy” sounds very chemical. In principle, it is not a home remedy, as it is the active ingredient of most chemical descaler. But many swear by ordering the acid in bulk packs on the Internet and using it to mix a decalcifier themselves. That can be cheaper than buying conventional descaler. But it is not an environmentally friendly alternative.


How do I use home remedies correctly?

With strong acids such as acetic acid or citric acid, caution should be exercised when decalcifying. Wear gloves and be careful not to come into contact with the acid. If you heat the acid, you must not inhale the resulting vapors. Under no circumstances should children handle the descaling agents.

Home remedies can also be used wherever a descaler or detergent against limescale is usually used. Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider with the individual devices.

To a washing machine  To descale, the machine can be run without washing with the descaler solution. If the faucet has calcified, it works well to simply fill a balloon or condom with the solution. Placed over the tap, the home remedy can work well and the lime is dissolved. Parts that can be removed – like a shower head – are best placed in a bath with the descaler. Of course, this also works with larger components such as a removable boiler basin or toilet cistern. It is important to rinse or rinse everything well after descaling.

As already mentioned, you have to slowly approach the right dosage for home remedies. Better to start with a low dose and increase if necessary. Incidentally, you can use a decalcifying solution that has already been used again without any problems. After a descaling process, the acid is usually not yet saturated and can dissolve further lime.

Water is treated for a variety of purposes. For example as part of the normal drinking water supply. In the technical area, water often has to meet special purity requirements. Or in the outdoor and camping area, where not always enough water supplies can be carried along. This is especially the case on multi-day trekking tours – apart from civilization, it is part of the daily ritual to treat water.


Looking for water in nature

Before you can treat water, you have to obtain it first. In some areas it is easy. You can skim water from rivers or lakes and simply collect rainwater. However, arid areas present a challenge. Your creativity and thirst for adventure are required here. If dew forms in the morning, you can collect it with a clean piece of cloth and wring it out into the water container. The cool water is also hidden in the ground. With a simple device, you can condense the soil moisture and collect water.

Regardless of which method you choose – you should definitely treat the water obtained.


Visible and invisible problems

Dangers can lurk in the water. The most obvious signs of pollution are Suspended solids . They make the water cloudy and float as soon as they are stirred up. They can usually be found in natural groundwater and spring water. Specifically, it is dust or whirled up mud, even the finest particles from the air can float in the water. Such pollution is not necessarily healthy, but usually does not cause any serious health problems.

bacteria and Viruses are a lot more dangerous. They can cause various diseases and should be removed carefully. Other microorganisms, so-called Protozoa . They often come from sewage and are also responsible for diseases. You can only rule out any health risk with careful disinfection.

Also Chemicals are among the most common problems. These are often drug residues or residues of cleaning agents and fertilizers. Such substances can get directly into the groundwater – be it through wastewater from companies or from waterworks. Not all reprocessing options are effective against chemical pollution. You should pay attention to this when purchasing a product or, at best, seek out secluded natural sources.


The four ways of water treatment

In principle, water can be treated in four different ways. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, and a combination of different routes often makes the most sense.


Heat is an easy way to kill microorganisms. There is not much you can go wrong with using this method. You will need suitable fuel and a heat-resistant container for this. Let the water boil for about 10 minutes, longer in higher areas. Because of the high air pressure, water boils at lower temperatures, the method is only safe up to about 1,000 meters altitude.

Boiling the water renders all microorganisms harmless, but not solids. This means that minerals, metals or suspended matter remain in the water. However, these substances sink to the ground over time, so that clean water can be skimmed off. In any case, you have to let some time pass before the water can be drunk, and when it is boiling there is also some time to cool down. The main disadvantage is the high fuel consumption. In addition, the water quickly germinates again after boiling, so it is not intended for storage.


Disinfectant tablets for water treatment are even easier to use. You can buy them in sports and outdoor stores. The tablets kill both bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Make sure to use the correct dosage – too low a dosage may not kill all pathogens, too high a dosage you consume unnecessarily many chemicals.

The tablets are characterized by a long shelf life, they work either with iodine or chlorine. You can taste that too. Chemically treated water does not necessarily taste good, but the method is reliable. However, if there are suspended particles in the water, you should remove them beforehand, as otherwise the chemicals cannot work properly. You have to be patient for the tablets to take effect. The chemicals require around two hours of work. They usually work optimally at a water temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. Very cold water can reduce its effectiveness.

You should be careful with tablets that state silver ions as the active ingredient. It is often assumed that such disinfect. In truth, you cannot sterilize, but are only suitable for preserving water that has already been treated.


Several manufacturers now offer water filters for outdoor use. Clear advantage: filtering is the only method that works against suspended matter. Not all microorganisms are always removed for this. However, this is very different from model to model. Outdoor water filters are available in a wide variety of designs for a wide variety of needs. The lightest variants look like thick permanent markers and are straws that you can use to drink directly from polluted waters. Drinking bottles with built-in filters are also popular. For larger camping projects, there are large models that can easily supply several caravans.

With outdoor water filters, you should definitely pay attention to the service life.

If the filter is used beyond that, it threatens to germinate and the substances that have already been filtered out can get concentrated in the water. It is therefore essential to follow the instructions for use, also with regard to cleaning and maintenance. For your stay in nature we recommend that you only use special outdoor filters. If you’ve already thought about packing your normal household filter, you’d better forget about it. Such filters are made for other conditions and are generally not effective against pathogens in natural waters.

UV light

One method that has become more and more handy in recent years is exposure to UV light. This variant is based on a physical principle. UV rays have the property of killing microorganisms quickly and effectively. Bacteria, viruses and protozoa can no longer multiply or cause infections. UV light is also used for disinfection in hospitals and sewage treatment plants.

There are handy models for the outdoor area. These are often made in pen form and have to be immersed in water. The application time depends on the amount that you want to prepare. But it doesn’t take long. Your daily need for drinking water  you can disinfect most models within one to two minutes. Water treatment using UV light works relatively quickly and easily. In addition, you do not pollute yourself or the environment with chemicals. Make sure, however, that you have enough batteries in your luggage!


This is how it works: Instructions for treating water

So much for theory – now it’s time to put it into practice. Once you have found water, you need to find a suitable way of treating it. At the beginning you make the distinction between cloudy and clear water. There are suspended particles in cloudy water, which must be filtered out.

If your camping equipment already includes a water filter, you are already well prepared against suspended matter. Alternatively, it doesn’t hurt to pack a couple of coffee filters in case you just find cloudy water. In an emergency, a piece of fabric also filters. Make sure you only use clean fabric. True to the motto “twice is better”, it is advisable to let the water run through several layers. After filtering, the water should be clear.

However, clear water is not yet drinking water. You can only drink the filtered water if you use an outdoor water filter. Otherwise there are still numerous microorganisms in it. Which method you choose for sterilizing depends on your personal preferences. In warm water and away from the mountains, boiling, chemical disinfection and UV light are about equally effective. On long tours you will ask yourself questions about weight, waiting time, reliability and many other factors.

Our conclusion: which option is the best for treating water cannot be said across the board. Usually it depends on the right combination. If you follow our tips, hopefully nothing will stand in the way of correct processing!

Have you ever been annoyed because the new washing machine broke after a few years? Lime is often to blame for defective machines. How quickly deposits form depends on the hardness of the water  together. Soft water is ideal for washing. If medium-hard or hard water comes out of the pipes in your home, you must be prepared for problems with calcification.


Descaling extends the life of the washing machine

The washing machine washes constantly. That is why many believe in some kind of automatic self-cleaning. However, detergent residues, hair or dirt accumulate and must be cleaned away regularly. Limescale deposits are usually less visible. They can be noticed by white stains on the laundry or in the drum. However, the fastest parts of the machine that you normally cannot see are usually calcified.

The heating rod in the washing machine is most susceptible to limescale. Lime has the property of primarily settling where water is heated. With every heating, a little lime is deposited on the heating element. If you have your kettle  If you use it regularly, you can observe how a layer of lime also settles here. The deposits on the heating element of the washing machine grow just as quickly or slowly – provided, of course, that you also fill the kettle with tap water.

The problem with calcified heating rods is that they can no longer transfer the heat directly to the water. On the one hand, this increases energy consumption – you need more electricity to bring the washing machine to operating temperature. On the other hand, the heating element can be broken. If he can no longer give off the heat, he himself will get hotter and overheated at some point. A new heating element is needed.


Descaling the washing machine – what you should keep in mind

As a rule of thumb, the washing machine should be descaled twice a year. With soft water, once a year is probably enough; with hard water, limescale should be removed from the machine every few months. If the power consumption increases or the washing machine no longer heats properly, these are signs of a very calcified heating element. You may be able to save the device with intensive descaling.

Regular descaling makes sense even with soft water. Even small amounts of limescale deposits on the heating rod increase power consumption. Descaling is cheap and quick. This will save you heating or repair costs in any case.

For fear of limescale deposits, many consumers turn to water softeners for the washing machine. Such softeners can delay the calcification of the machine, but do not stop them. Most commercial detergents, however, already contain softening substances. With hard water, you can either use a higher dose of detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions or use a water softener and only use the amount of detergent for soft water.


This is how descaling the washing machine works

Before you descale the washing machine, you need to decide on a suitable descaler. Washing machine cleaners are available in stores that also descale. If you only want to descale, agents are also sold for this.

But home remedies are just as effective. The advantage is that they are usually cheaper and you may already have them at home. Acetic acid or citric acid are often used to descale the washing machine. But be careful – the use of home remedies is always at your own risk. Some washing machine manufacturers state that they can attack sensitive rubber seals. In the worst case scenario, if there is any real damage, the guarantee may expire. One way to cover yourself is to simply ask. Call customer service and find out about using home remedies to descale your washing machine.

To descale, simply run a wash cycle without laundry. As a rule, the cooking program is selected for this, i.e. at 90 or 95 degrees Celsius. It is different when using citric acid. If you heat it, it can combine with the deposited lime and form even harder deposits. You probably can’t get rid of them at all. Therefore, when descaling with citric acid, the cold program should be selected. Play it safe when the temperature is below 40 degrees Celsius.

Simply put the selected descaler in the dispenser and start the program. A good tip is to interrupt the program for about 30 minutes in between. This allows the descaling solution to take effect.


Prevent limescale – reduce deposits

Descaling the washing machine is not difficult. With hard water, however, constant descaling takes away your nerves and time. A simple way to prevent limescale build-up is to use the right amount of detergent. To do this, you should know your water hardness level. You can achieve a similar effect by adding a water softener. However, a softener is not a descaler. So with such a means you cannot remove existing calcifications.

If your hard water bothers you in other areas of the household, you should purchase a water softener  worth considering. This is how you get soft water. It is also possible to set up a service water system for your house. Such systems are mostly used to collect rainwater that can be used for irrigation, toilet flushing and washing machines. Rainwater has a hardness level of almost zero. In any case, you should be careful with this: Water that is so soft can quickly attack pipes and metal parts because it is slightly acidic.

Even with these means and methods, you will not be able to completely avoid descaling. With a washing machine that is regularly descaled, you will definitely enjoy it longer.

We all know them: the pictures of calcified heating rods from advertising. What looks unsavory in the first place also increases energy consumption and detergent costs. Calcareous water can also clog pipes. When faced with such problems, many think of water softeners. These are available in liquid form, as tabs or as a powder. Read here what limescale does in the washing machine and how well a water softener works.


How calcareous water affects washing

Before deciding for or against a water softener, it is important to understand what the limescale is doing in the washing machine. Lime comes from the tap water  in your home. However, not all water is equally calcareous; a distinction is made between different degrees of water hardness. With hard water  Far greater problems are to be expected than with soft water.

The lime affects the washing machine in two ways. Firstly, it is deposited on the heating rod, in pipes or in the washing drum. Lime is dissolved in the water in the form of calcium and magnesium. If water is heated, the lime precipitates and then settles on surfaces. It works the same way when the water evaporates. In any case, limescale deposits shorten the service life of the washing machine. The quality of the device and how often it is in use have the same effect. A second unpleasant effect unfolds with the detergent dosage. Hard water makes water solubility more difficult. This means that the limescale “neutralizes” the detergent and with hard water you will have to use a lot more of it to get the laundry clean.


Problems with the calcified heating element

If limescale is deposited on the heating element, this increases energy consumption. It works like the down jacket in winter. The lime or the jacket prevent heat from being transferred directly to the environment. If the calcified heating rod is heated up, it gets hotter itself, but the water only heats up slowly. This means that more energy is used to bring the washing machine to operating temperature. At some point, however, the heat will become too much for the heating element – it will break.

How long a heating element survives depends on several factors. This primarily includes the hardness of the water, but also how energy efficient the machine is and how often it is used. Do you live in a region with soft water, have high-quality equipment and wash twice a week? Then your machine will likely survive for a long time. To protect against calcification, special water softeners are advertised. Very few consumers know, however, that most heavy-duty detergents already contain such substances. However, they can only delay calcification. After a certain service life, the machine simply cannot withstand the lime.


Does a water softener for the washing machine pay off?

One thing is certain: from a certain degree of water hardness, your washing machine suffers with every wash. Even with moderately hard water, you have to increase the amount of detergent to achieve the same washing performance. If you rely on high-quality detergent, you are probably already working with a water softener. Alternatively, you can also use a softener for each wash and dose your detergent for soft water. It’s not cheap in either case. Some calculation examples can be found on the Internet. If you use a softener for every wash, you could pay for a washing machine repair for the same money after a few years.

But even if you use a softener, the inside of the washing machine calcifies. Lime stubbornly sticks to the heating element in particular, as it burns in from the heat. The heating rod is hidden inside the machine, so you cannot reach it for cleaning. Unlike in advertising, you can only delay decalcification with a softener, not prevent it completely.

Another option is to use a water softener. This is installed for the entire house or apartment and only allows soft water to flow through your own four walls. This significantly extends the service life of the washing machine. Less detergent is required and there is no need for water softening additives. But also here the lime settles after the time. A water softener is an expensive business, but by reducing the amount of detergent and softener additives you protect the environment.

A somewhat curious approach is the use of rainwater. Some specialist blogs recommend this. Rainwater would actually be perfect for washing clothes as it has almost a degree of hardness  of zero. How practicable and hygienic this access is remains to be seen.

For lovers of gently steamed vegetables or tender fish dishes, the steamer is indispensable in the household. In modern kitchens, the devices are often part of the standard equipment. Limescale is deposited inside just like in kettles and coffee machines. Descaling is part of proper care, extends the life of the appliance and improves the quality of the food. If the process is carried out correctly and then a rinsing process is started, food safety is also guaranteed.


Descale the steamer step by step

If the steamer wants to be descaled, it will draw your attention to this. There are devices with a lock mode that can no longer be used if they have to be descaled. Most cookers have a descaling program. How to start this can be found in the instructions for use. Some devices guide you step-by-step through the program with instructions on the display, and the dosage of the descaling agent is sometimes specified here. It is important to let the descaling process run completely. If it is canceled, it usually has to be restarted completely.

Even devices without a descaling function want to be freed of deposits on a regular basis. Usually these are smaller table-top devices. Here it is advisable to simply clean the interior with a lime cleaner. If it is very dirty, let the cleaner soak a little and use a soft cloth. The rough side of a cleaning sponge, for example, can damage surfaces. However, sensitive parts and the outside of the device should not come into contact with the cleaner. In addition, only cooled devices should be descaled – regardless of whether they are built-in or tabletop devices. If the steamer is still hot, caustic vapors can form. Individual parts of the cooker can often also be cleaned in the dishwasher. This makes general cleaning easier, but does not replace regular descaling.


The right decalcifying agent – purely a matter of taste

Many manufacturers recommend a specific descaler. These remedies are available in tablet or powder form and are often anything but cheap. Various home remedies are just as effective. Vinegar or diluted citric acid are often used to descale the steamer. But you do this at your own risk. If the manufacturer does not expressly recommend such home remedies, they can damage the hoses or rubber seals in the device. Vinegar can also leave traces of taste. Chemical descaler from the trade are more expensive, but also safer.


Avoid limescale from the start

Limescale deposits can be prevented with a few simple steps. Simply wipe the interior dry after each use. The condensation can easily be wiped away with kitchen paper, then leave the door open until the interior is completely dry. Lime remains when the water evaporates. Careful dry wiping prevents deposits or stains from forming in the first place. Another option is to use a water softener in the home. This will increase the water hardness  regulated, limescale deposits can generally be avoided.

You iron your favorite dark blouse, and suddenly small, white spots appear on the fabric. To blame – the iron. Or more precisely, the lime that is deposited inside. Your favorite blouse usually ends up in the laundry again, and the iron has to be descaled.


Descaling agent or not?

There are basically three approaches to decalcifying the iron. Most of the more modern models have their own descaling function and do not require any additional agents. Other devices need a descaler. Many swear by vinegar as a tried and tested home remedy because it reliably dissolves the lime. Some manufacturers advise against it, however, as the acid it contains can attack components inside the iron. It is advisable to take a look at the instructions for use, as descaling with vinegar may void the guarantee.

Citric acid is a popular household remedy for descaling, but it is completely unsuitable for the iron. It combines with the lime due to heat and can clog the pipes from the inside. In the worst case, the iron ends up in the trash. If you use a chemical descaler from the drugstore, it should not be based on citric acid. Here, too, lumps that are difficult to dissolve can form. Apart from that, universal decalcifying agents from the trade reliably remove the deposits. However, to be on the safe side, take a look at the instructions for use. We strongly advise against using any decalcifying solution, especially for irons with a modern descaling function.


Regular descaling is gentle on the iron

White lime stains on the ironed laundry are the clearest sign that the appliance needs descaling. Even if it no longer steams properly, the lime can be to blame. However, it is better not to let it get that far. Some manufacturers recommend descaling after 15 ironing operations. But this is only a guideline. How quickly the device calcifies depends on the hardness of the water  together. If you live in an area with hard water, the iron needs to be softened much more often than in areas with soft water. Deposits are also formed when using distilled water. Regular descaling also extends the service life of the iron here.

Modern devices usually have a descaling lamp. This reports when too much lime has already deposited.


Descale the steam iron – this is how it works

A normal iron without a descaling function can be descaled in a few simple steps. Allow at least 45 to 60 minutes for the process.


Iron with descaling function

Most common models today have a descaling function. You can find out exactly how this works in the instructions for use for the iron. In principle, however, the process is similar for all devices:


Descale the steam ironing station

Steam iron stations often contain a limescale collector or cartridge. Collectors just have to be removed and cleaned. Both a bath with a home remedy and a chemical descaler are suitable for this. Lime cartridges usually have to be replaced. Not sure how to descale your steam generator iron? The instructions for use will certainly provide information and can probably also be found online.


Ways to prevent lime scale

Every iron sooner or later calcifies. However, there are a few tricks that can be used to delay limescale deposits.

Softened or filtered water

Use a water softener in the household  or a water filter, the tap water causes significantly fewer deposits in all devices. Some iron manufacturers also offer special filter jugs. These should produce an optimal ironing water.

Distilled water

Many use only distilled water for ironing. This is demineralized and therefore leads to less limescale deposits. However, some manufacturers advise against using distilled water, as it has a low pH value and can therefore attack the metallic sole of the iron.

Ironing water

This is usually distilled water with a laundry scent. In theory a good way to kill two birds with one stone. However, some manufacturers warn that the fragrances could be bad for the device.

Water from the dryer

Do you have a dryer that requires you to empty the condensation by hand? Perfect! This is good for ironing. On the one hand, it leads to less limescale deposits, on the other hand, it gives the laundry an additional smell. However, there is often lint residue in the dryer water. So that these cannot clog the iron, the water is filtered with a simple coffee filter. This water should expressly not be used in steam stations.