Most of us are painfully aware of how hard water makes our clothes look dull, aren’t we?
Last year, I bought tailor made office wear that cost me half a month’s salary. A year later, they’ve all lost their original shine and have a dull, muted look, thanks to regular washing in hard water.
Not to say anything about how tough the fabric feels to the skin than how it was originally.
I’m sure, if you’re reading this article, this is probably the issue you’re facing as well.
And what about the effect hard water has on our washing machines?
Hard water is essentially made up of calcium and magnesium salts, which, on coming in contact with surfaces, form a crusty layer called limescale.
These limescale deposits are what cause a washing machine to break down in hard water. They form around the coil and inside the drum of the machine, making it harder for it to function and decreasing it’s efficiency.
Generally, washing machines only come with a sediment filter at the inlet that removes some micro-contaminants in the supply water, but does nothing to stop hard water minerals.
You spend so much money on an expensive washing machine with so many features- but there’s not even a single one that can make your clothes brighter in hard water.
Until I came across Waterscience’s Iris washing machine filter for hard water, I had no option but to live with the fact that my expensive clothes would slowly turn shabby.
Everyday, this small filter protects my clothes and washing machine from hard water. That’s the reason I wrote this article- this product is genuinely useful and I’m certain it’ll be as helpful to you, as it is to me.
How To Install The IRIS WMF 617 Hard Water Washing Machine Filter
Installing the filter is quite simple really. Here’s what you do:
- Remove the inlet pipe to your washing machine
- Now, take the top end of the filter and screw it onto the inlet of your washing machine
- Attach the inlet pipe to the bottom end of the filter
Keep in mind though, that you’ll need a fully automatic washing machine– the IRIS filter is not compatible with semi-automatic or manual washing machines
Also, do keep a bit of space behind your washing machine to fit the filter. In case you’ve arranged the washing machine right next to a wall(like I have)- you’ll need to make some space, about 5-6”
Common Questions About The IRIS WMF-617 Washing Machine Filter
#1 Does The IRIS hard water washing machine filter reduce Total Dissolved Salt(TDS) Levels In Water?
Nope. And it doesn’t need to either.
If you have hard water and you need to drink it, then you probably need to decrease TDS to make it tasteful. This is because excess dissolved salts/minerals can give water a bitter taste.
But you’re not going to be too concerned with how the water in your washing machine tastes, are you?
No, all you care about are the limescale deposits from hard water that clog the washing machine drum and coil, and, at the same time, dull the color of the clothes.
And that’s exactly what the IRIS washing machine filter acts against. It works like a salt-free water softener does(To know more about that, read this article on salt free water softeners)
In a nutshell though, it converts the hard water minerals(calcium and magnesium) into a less aggressive form that does not stick to surfaces and so, does not form limescale.
SO while it doesn’t reduce TDS, turn out- it doesn’t need to.
#2 The IRIS filter cartridge inlet and outlet both have pores large enough for sediment such as dirt and gravel to pass through. How does it filter them out?
That’s simple. It doesn’t.
The IRIS filter is meant to reduce scale formation from hard water minerals, and that’s ALL it does. So, the gap you see is intentionally designed so to let water out faster.
Secondly, most automatic washing machines actually have an in-built sediment filter, that removes micro dust and dirt particles. The IRIS filter acts as a primary washing machine filter by reducing the load on the in-built sediment filter.
Also, a fun fact:
Our dirt clothes bring in more dust and grime inside the machine than the inlet water supply!
#3 Does the IRIS washing machine filter remove Iron?
No, it does not- but in a reply to a customer online- Waterscience mentioned that they will be coming out with an Iron filter soon, so I guess we can expect one later this year!
#4 Why is there a small gap between the actual filter and the filter housing from which the water can pass through?
This is because if there weren’t a gap, then it would decrease the flow of water to a large extent. So, there’s a tradeoff- about 50-60% of the water passes through the filter and gets processed while the rest just flows around the filter body and into the washing machine, unprocessed.
Effectively, this filter offers 50-60% sediment reduction than you would normally have. Given that this is a one of it’s kind filter, I don’t think that’s too bad at all( I couldn’t find any such product online, try googling washing machine filters yourself and see!)
Just A Few brands The Iris Hard Water Washing Machine Filter Is Compatible With:
Firstly, if you have a fully automatic washing machine- your machine is absolutely going to be compatible with the Iris filter. Waterscience designed this filter keeping this specification in mind and so, you do not need to worry.
However, a lot of people still prefer to be doubly sure, so I spent some time going through Waterscience’s answers to customers in the Amazon Q&A section.
Here are the washing machine brands that Waterscience personally confirmed work with the IRIS hard water filter:
Like I said though, even if your washing machine brand isn’t here, if it’s automatic, the IRIS WMF-617 filter will fit.
Maintenance Tips For The IRIS Hard Water Washing Machine Filter:
The #1 thing to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining any filter really, is that the water flow is going to reduce over time due to sediments getting trapped inside the filter cartridge.
If that happens, here’s what you do:
Remove the cartridge and clean it with a brush or scrubber under tap water. Re-install it now and the water flow should improve. It’s best to do this every other month, as a routine.
Secondly, you’ll have to replace the filter cartridge after it runs its course. Waterscience says the IRIS filter lasts 6 months for a top load washing machine and 9 months for a front load washing machine.
These are just a rule of thumb though, and the actual lifetime may vary a bit from the 6-9 month period, depending on the water quality in your area.
So, how do you know when it’s time to replace the IRIS filter cartridge?
When, even after cleaning out the cartridge regularly, you don’t see any improvement in flow rate of water, you should replace your filter.
The IRIS replacement filter’s priced the same as the filter cartridges for Waterscience’s other products(not expensive at all for something you’ll be buying every 6-9 months).
You can find the replacement cartridges for IRIS WMF-617 washing machine filter on Amazon.
Are There Any Alternatives To The IRIS Hard Water Washing Machine Filter?
In case you’re still not sure if you want to buy the IRIS filter, here’s some tips for washing your clothes in hard water:
Use more detergent
Kind of common sense, but there’s a fine line here. Use too much and you’ll end up with nasty white spots on your clothes from detergent that didn’t properly mix into the water.
Get a water softener
An expensive option, and really out of the budget of most people. Get it only if you’re going to be living in one house for the next 10 years and want a permanent solution.
Water softener tablets
A lot of these present online, such as this one on Amazon. Not sure about how well they work though, never used them myself.
So Is IRIS Really The Best Hard Water Washing Machine Filter?
Well, since I just got this product recently, I don’t want to say anything on this for now. I’ll be testing out how my clothes and machine respond to this filter over the next two months, so watch this space for more!
I’ve been using Waterscience’s other products- the CLEO shower filter for close to a year and more recently, bought the CLEO Tap Filter. Given how amazing those two products turned out, I have high expectations from the Iris filter.
Now, while I’m busy testing the product, do remember to check out the IRIS WMF-617 filter on Amazon!