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How to Soften Water in an Apartment

Renting an apartment and dealing with hard water can be quite challenging. Hard water affects your skin and hair, along with making it tougher to clean your bathroom and kitchen.

In short, hard water stinks.

But what are your options?

Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to soften hard water. The reason is that hard water must go through an ion exchange process that alters the calcium and magnesium within the water to make it soft – and this can only be done by a point-of-entry water softener.

However, not all is lost.

If you are renting an apartment, there are a few, albeit limited, options at your disposal.

Here’s what they are:

Will Shower Filters Help?

person showering

Shower filters, which often attach between the shower arm and shower head, provide multi-stage filtration of water to help reduce the amount of chlorine, iron, lead, rust, and sediment.

Many have found that the amount of limescale on their tile, faucet, and shower head has been significantly reduced after installing a shower filter. However, it bears repeating shower filters will not, nor cannot, soften hard water. So that sticky or tacky feeling on your skin after rinsing off the soap, commonly known as soap scum, will persist.

Shower filters are easy to install and likely won’t cause any issues with your landlord. But, of course, we still recommend that you double-check your lease agreement to ensure there is no clause forbidding the installation of such a device.

When speaking to clients, we recommend that they check out this post sharing some shower filters that work well for hard water.

Note: If you take baths, you may want to consider a bathtub filter instead.

Related: Can you Install a Shower Filter in Your Apartment?

What About Tap Water that You Drink?

filling a cup with water from a filter

Whether you have a filter installed underneath your skin or a jug in your fridge (i.e., a Brita filter), these consumer-friendly options are a great way to enjoy the taste of crisp, clean water.

But do these filters do anything for hard water?

No. Again, the water must go through the ion exchange process for water to be softened.

Instead, these filters target contaminants, including heavy metals, chlorine, and VOCs. In addition, they will also remove common odors, including chlorine and sulfur.

Electric Descaling is an Option

One alternative to installing a water softening system is to use an electric descaler, specifically the Eddy Electric Water Descaler. This system doesn’t necessarily change the properties of the hard water; the water will remain just as hard pre and post-installation, but rather changes the properties of the water, so limescale is less likely to build up on the inside of your pipes, appliances, or on clean surfaces.

An electronic descaler works by sending an electromagnetic wave through the water pipe. This wave changes the way calcium and magnesium crystals attach themselves to surfaces, so instead of latching on and building up over time, the crystals just pass harmlessly through the system without doing any damage.

EDDY Inductive No Salt Water Softener Alternative | Electronic Water Descaler for Whole House | Reduces Limescale | Electromagnetic Water Conditioner
  • WHAT EDDY DOES: Eddy is a NO-SALT household electronic water descaler, far healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to a water softener. Uses our unique micro-chip generated true magnetic pulse waveform. Eddy is BRITISH built, refined and perfected over 25 YEARS in the water treatment business and comes with our renowned customer service
  • WHO EDDY IS FOR: Eddy is for anyone who wants to reduce or eliminate the effects of costly limescale from their whole house water system. Makes water heaters more efficient. Increases lifespan of appliances. Stops clogging of faucets and showers. Makes hair and skin feel softer. Trial for at least 60 days to see full benefits
  • EASY DIY INSTALLATION: Simple step-by-step guide supplied with Eddy whole house water descaler shows how to fit Eddy yourself. No need for a plumber. Extra-length cables available in our Amazon store for pipes larger than 1” diameter. Treats the whole house. Eddy can be fitted to any pipe, copper or plastic, iron or steel

This point-of-entry solution will work on all the water going through your pipes, including the kitchen sink, toilet, bathtub, shower, and more.

Of course, if you live in a high-rise apartment building, or the hot water tank isn’t in your apartment, you may need to consider a point-of-use filtration system instead.

Managing Hard Water

limescale buildup on faucet

Given that there is very little you can do to soften hard water, we recommend to our clients that they simply use different soaps while bathing and the right cleaners for removing limescale throughout the bathroom.

Often with soaps, those made from natural oils tend to feel more sticky or tacky when bathing. Instead, we found mass-produced soaps from brands like Dove, Aveeno, and more, which feel much better on the skin when rinsing. Body washes can also be a great alternative.

When cleaning your bathroom, avoid an all-purpose cleaner or bleach. While they effectively remove bacteria, they aren’t the right products for limescale. Instead, products like CLR (Calcium Lime Rust) rely on water, lactic acid, and gluconic acid, removing limescale relatively easily. As a result, what may have required a bit of elbow grease to remove can now be accomplished with little effort.

If you are looking for a more natural solution, we like to recommend white vinegar. Its acidic nature helps to break down limescale quickly.


While there is no silver bullet for solving hard water, we hope this post has given you some ideas on ways to make your experience a little bit better. If you have any questions, please contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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Mark Williams

Mark Williams is a renowned author and expert in the field of shower filters, with an extensive background in plumbing. With over 20 years of experience, Mark has dedicated his career to helping people improve their water quality and overall well-being by providing reliable and efficient shower filtration solutions.

Before embarking on his writing journey, Mark honed his skills as a certified plumber, working on numerous residential and commercial projects. His vast knowledge and experience in plumbing have given him a deep understanding of water filtration systems, making him a highly sought-after authority in the industry.

Mark's passion for water quality and filtration led him to pursue a successful writing career, focusing on shower filters. In his work, he shares valuable insights on the latest technology, installation techniques, and maintenance tips, empowering homeowners, contractors, and fellow industry professionals seeking advice on shower filtration systems.