Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Hard-water shaving

with 4 comments

Hard water works against good lather, and very hard water can make lather almost impossible. The ideal solution (for shaving, doing laundry, showering, doing dishes, and so on) is to buy a good water softener (that recycles based on volume of water used and not on time) and plumb it so that all the water in the house goes through the water softener except for the kitchen cold-water tap. By having all water soft, the pipes will say clear, the taps will operate better, and hard water deposits will be a thing of the past.

But installing a water softener is not cheap, and if you live in an apartment, it may be impractical. A good fallback is to buy “purified” water at the drugstore (essentially distilled water), which costs about $1/gallon and is sold for use in humidifiers and steam irons and the like. Then get something to heat it with—and my recommendation is the Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle, which will heat water to the temperature you specify: from a full roiling boil down to moderately warm. You will have to experiment a little to locate the setting that brings the water to the ideal temperature for shaving, but then you have hot water that will produce a flawless lather and will rinse razor and face with no traces of soap scum.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 May 2008 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

4 Responses

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  1. Hmm good solution for those that can’t use water softening machines, din’t know you could buy purified water for that cheap!

    water softener salt

    25 March 2010 at 2:10 pm

  2. Yeah, check the drugstore—this is not the chemically pure triple-distilled water, but it’s plenty good enough.

    LeisureGuy

    25 March 2010 at 4:50 pm

  3. I’m using an old kettle that’s perfect for me, it works…

    Usher

    30 January 2011 at 6:16 pm

  4. FROM LEISUREGUY: The comment below was left anonymously, and I believe it is a joke (at best). First, I’m informed that ättiksprit has the fragrance of fecal matter, so probably not a good shaving choice. Second, on Wicked_Edge, a commenter observes:

    Good god, don’t do this.

    Your skin’s ph is about 5.4. Cosmetic formulas (shaving products included) are manufactured to range from 4.5 – 5.5 to account for the variation between individual skin tyes. The ph of vinegar is around 2.5-3, depending on what you use. By adding vinegar to water, you could be putting acid on your face for a prolonged period of time. I do not recommend that.

    This idea is likely assembled under the premise: vinegar removes hard water deposits from my sink, so adding vinegar to water removes the hardness, making my soap work better.

    Additionally, why spend money on vinegar, when you can just buy distilled water and get a better shave? If you’re eager to mix stuff, just mix the distilled water with your regular water.

    Here’s the original comment that appeared in this space:

    I’ve found a much simpler and cheaper solution. Add a little vinegar — or better, distilled vinegar (called ättiksprit in Swedish) — to the hot shaving water. This will in effect soften the water by releasing the emollient properties of the soap previously bound up by the minerals in the hard water.

    Obviously, the above is not a good idea. – Leisureguy.

    Anonymous

    3 May 2012 at 6:04 am


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