Making Hard Water Clean Water

fountainFountains are a gardener’s dream. It is a sign that your garden has arrived and is worthy of a water feature. Birds splash in delight, butterflies sip from the edge, and the soothing coo tells all your neighbors within earshot that your garden is Eden. The fountain is the pièce de résistance.

But here in Arizona there lurks an enemy. It is most insidious. It starts out invisible, and for weeks—even months—you never see it. Then it begins to build; The chalky white residue is a reminder. But leave it too long and your beautiful fountain will be ruined, eaten away like it was attacked by a concrete eating aphid. The enemy is Hard Water.

Hard water is a combination of minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium, dissolved in our city water. Even though it’s safe to drink, it is a fountain killer for sure. As the water splashes or evaporates the minerals are left behind. If you let too much of the residue build up, it will form mounds of minerals that can ruin a pump or begin to eat away the surface of the fountain. (The only fountain material impervious is metal, but the white stuff still makes a mess.)

An easy solution exists, and it’s not expensive: household vinegar. You can buy gallons of it at the grocery store and it isn’t poisonous to you use. A splash every week when you refill (either because of evaporation or after emptying it for cleaning) should keep your fountain looking new and fresh. And if you need to clean your fountain use a diluted, warm vinegar water solution. Everything will be spic and span!

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