Recent Posts

IRIS WMF 617 Review: Is It The Best Hard Water Washing Machine Filter?

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

Iris Hard Water Washing Machine Filter
The top end is the one with the blue cap and is supposed to be screwed into the inlet of your washing machine. The lower end is where your inlet pipe to the washing machine is supposed to be attached

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?

Gap Between The IRIS filter & body
Tilting the filter body downwards a bit to make the gap seem clearer. Effectively, a bit of water will end up flowing around the filter cartridge and about 50-60% will flow through it

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:

  1. IFB
  2. Whirlpool
  3. Bosch
  4. Siemens
  5. Videocon
  6. Samsung
  7. Haier

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!

CLEO SFU 717 Shower & Tap Filter Review: Bye Bye Hairfall

Isn’t it frustrating that we have to deal with year round dandruff and hair fall just because of hard water?

For me personally, years of hard water damage really reduced hair growth on my scalp- how I wish I could get that thick growth back!

A lot of you, like me, might be struggling with hard water hair damage or maybe even skin problems like rashes and acne caused by hard water.

Until the CLEO SFU 717 and SFW 815 shower and tap filters were launched last year– there literally were no real solutions in India.

I have friends who would buy bottled water, or carry buckets of RO water from the kitchen just to rinse their hair every day. While good for the hair, doing that is just too costly and inconvenient in the long term for most of us.

There is a better way now:

One that allows you to shower care-free and have better hair, better skin and a much more hygienic shower experience than you’ve ever had

One that doesn’t leave hard water stains in the bathroom. If you’ve ever wasted time cleaning up limescale from bathroom tiles and walls- I can relate. Now, I don’t have to anymore.

I can confidently say all of the above because I’ve used CLEO’s range of shower and tap filter products over the last 9 months, and I’ve been nothing but impressed. It’s the only shower head water softener in India that truly works.

In this post, I’ll be reviewing the CLEO SFU 717 shower & tap filter. Apart from a sleeker design than it’s predecessor, the CLEO SFW 815 shower filter, this product has a dual functionality- it can be used as either a shower OR a tap filter!

Let’s get started:

7 Benefits You’ll Experience Within Days Of Using CLEO SFU 717

  1. Lesser dandruff, buildup and dryness on scalp
  2. Stronger hair and decreased hair fall
  3. Softer and more hydrated skin
  4. No more limescale on bathroom tiles and walls
  5. Cleaner, more hygienic showers- CLEO filter media prevents bacteria buildup in shower heads
  6. Smelly showers no more! CLEO removes odors in shower water including the most common- rotten egg smell of sulfur
  7. For asthmatics or those suffering from other breathing problemsno more coughing during showers. VOCs- a chlorination byproduct in water, are a known irritant to the airways and can trigger asthma attacks

A lot of people in in urban areas face hair and skin issues because hard water and chlorinated water have a dehydrating effect on the skin- which can lead to rashes, hair thinning, and dandruff.

While the hardness of water depends on the area you live in, most households across the world receive chlorinated water as it’s widely used to purify public water supply.

Which is why, I’ve been saying this for sometime now- people need to be as aware of the effects of chlorine and chloramines(a chlorine byproduct in water) as they are of hard water.

If you’d like to know more about how hard water and chlorinated water are bad for you- read this detailed post I wrote on hard water hair loss and this post on 7 Proven chloramine vs chlorine water treatment methods

Go on, I’ll wait for you here till you’re done.

Finished? All right! Let’s move on.

Is There Anything The CLEO Shower & Tap Filter Can’t Do?

Well, there are a two things that you should know:

CLEO SFU 717 Can’t Remove Chloramines

Instead of just using chlorine, a lot of water suppliers now use chloramines (chlorine+ ammonia) which has longer lasting water purification effects.

I doubt that we get chloraminated water in India though, as I’ve only heard of some states in the US doing this. It’s a recent practice, so until it starts to become more common, I’d say we don’t need to worry about this.

CLEO SFU 717 Can’t Soften water or reduce Total Dissolved Salts(TDS)

I know I said earlier that CLEO filters are the only true shower head water softeners, but I wasn’t trying to trick you. I did it because to point out that this is a marketing term used for shower filters that you should know about.

Let me explain:

The CLEO filter cartridges contain a hardness removal stage that conditions the hard water minerals, such that they do not stick to surfaces such as walls, bathroom tiles and even our bodies.

So, technically, while the CLEO filter cartridge doesn’t remove the hard water salts, we still get the benefits of softened water. Soap lathers much better and hard water minerals don’t buildup on the skin and scalp.

This is just a marketing term though, and you should know that it actually is more of a water conditioner than a softener. Actual water softeners remove hard water minerals- calcium and magnesium using an ion exchange process.

A good, though expensive alternative to the CLEO shower filter. Read more about water softeners here.

How Does The CLEO Shower & Tap Filter Work?

The CLEO shower filter works through a 4-stage filtration process:

  • The first layer mechanically filters out suspended micro-particles
  • The  second layer reduces effect of hard water salts and lime-scale
  • The third layer reduces chlorine levels(upto 90-95%) and water soluble heavy metals like lead and mercury
  • The fourth layer is the nano-silver carbon layer which removes odor from the water and prevents bacterial growth

How Hard Water Gets Treated

“Part of the Cleo’s unique 4 layer filtering system is the hardness-removal layer- a combination of natural MicroSieve Zeolites and food grade anti-scalant media, which ensures that hard-water salts are filtered, reduced and washed away and don’t stick to your skin”

How Chlorine Filtration Stage Works

Chlorine filtration happens in the 3rd stage, which is made using patented KDF technology.

In a nutshell, free chlorine which is a harmful oxidizer gets converted into a harmless, water soluble form which doesn’t affect us. To know more about how KDF and other water filtration technologies work, read this post.

How To Install And Use The CLEO SFU 717 Shower & Tap Filter

Apart from the filter body and cartridge, the product box includes the following add-ons to help in installation:

  • 1 Wrench
  • Some sandpaper
  • 1 Teflon tape
  • Few extra washers: These are just replacements for the existing washers inside the filter, which are used for restricting water pressure to a steady flow
  • 24mm male aerator- needed to install as a tap filter

PS: If you have a non standard tap, with a wider opening, you’ll need to buy a 28 mm male aerator to install the tap filter. It’s not an expensive add on, thankfully, and you can easily get it on Amazon

Now, as for the installation. Getting the filter in place is just a 2 minute job. And you don’t even need to call the plumber for this.

Let’s talk about how you can install it as a shower filter and a tap filter.

Installing CLEO SFU 717 as a Shower Filter:

The CLEO SFU 717 has two connectors- the top one is female and the bottom one is male. Also, the filter fits all standard ½” shower arms.

To install it, here’s what you do:

  • Remove your existing shower head
  • Rub the sandpaper on the shower arm’s threads to smoothen them if needed(I usually skip this)
  • Wrap some teflon tape onto the threads of the shower arm. This ensures leak proof operation
  • Align the top connector(female) of the CLEO SFU 717 onto the threads of your shower arm and rotate clockwise a few times to attach it firmly
  • In case you need a little help tightening it, use the wrench
  • Now, take your regular shower-head and align it with the bottom connector of the CLEO SFU 717( male). Rotate clockwise to attach.
  • If you want, use sandpaper and teflon tape in the above step as well.

Initially, you’ll see some black residue coming out of the filter. That’s just some carbon particles- let them flush out by running water through the filter for 1-2 minutes and then you’re good to go.

Installing CLEO SFU 717 as a Tap Filter:

The CLEO SFU 717 will fit all standard taps and faucets with a 24 mm aerator(included in product box).

Simply remove the existing aerator in your tap/ faucet and install the 24 mm aerator by aligning it’s threads with your tap and screwing it into place. You may want to use the wrench to firmly position it.

After that, you just need to align the top connector(female) with the aerator threads and attach it.

In case you’re still confused or want to SEE how the installation looks- watch the video below(automatically skips to the installation part)

Maintenance Costs Of CLEO SFU 717 Shower & Tap Filter

First off, the main recurring cost of this product is that you need to replace the filter cartridge every 6 months or 25,000 L of usage- whichever comes first.

This figure is just an estimate though, and might be slightly lesser, say 3-4 months for some people, depending on their water quality and daily usage.

While some people will find this maintenance cost to be too much, I personally would be okay paying upto double the amount Waterscience charges for the cartridges, given the contaminants they filter out.

And you don’t need to worry about going out to the store to buy it. You can easily order a CLEO replacement filter cartridge on Amazon.

Bonus Tip: How To Maintain The CLEO Shower Filter Cartridge For A Longer Life

(YT Video Coming Soon)

A Little Known Service Waterscience Provides

I spoke with a Waterscience representative who told me that they also send customized CLEO filter cartridges, on request.

She told me that they can customize filter cartridges two ways:

  1. With extra an thick KDF layer for those who face severely chlorinated water
  2. With an extra thick anti-scalant layer for consumers that have really hard water.

If this isn’t dedication to customer service, then what is?

Here’s how you can get a customized CLEO filter cartridge:

  • Call waterscience on 9242 000 100 within the 90 day warranty period on your filter cartridge
  • Register your product for warranty on the phone and provide them with your Amazon Order ID so they can verify you as a recent buyer.
  • Waterscience will then send you a customized filter, as per your request with a unique ID on it
  • The next time you need a replacement filter cartridge, simply order the regular one on Amazon and e-mail/ call Waterscience with your Unique ID. They’ll send across the customized one

The best part of this?

The customized CLEO filter cartridge costs the same as the normal one!

My Personal Experience With CLEO

I live in an area of New Delhi which is notorious for it’s hard water. Having suffered hard water hair loss for close to 10 years without a convenient solution, I am really grateful that there’s a product out there for me.

I won’t say it’s a magic pill that’ll solve your hair fall or skin problems. There can be a lot of reasons for skin and hair issues- genetic, environmental, puberty related, etc- and no single product can solve all that.

However, personally, my biggest worries- hair fall and dandruff due to hard water- have definitely reduced. I can’t say that they’ve gone away fully, but there is definitely an improvement.

And I no longer have to worry about my scrubbing my bathroom tiles for removing limescale!

Also- my area gets tanker water, not from the municipality. This means that it sometimes comes with other contaminants that aren’t usually present in public water supply. I’m really happy that these too, are removed by my shower filter.

Final Recommendation

This is a special product. No other shower head filter actually conditions hard water like the CLEO Shower & Tap Filter.

I wrote a whole post on why all hard water shower filters being marketed online are a hoax– however, this filter is the only one I could find that actually does what it says.

The nearest alternative to the CLEO SFU 717?

A salt free water softener- costs about $200 minimum or about 12,000 Rs! And even at that price, you don’t get any of the other benefits that the CLEO filter provides.

Given that there are so many contaminants in our water- not just chlorine and hard water minerals- I strongly feel that shower filters aren’t a luxury anymore, they’re a necessity, a matter of basic hygiene.

I think it’s time you check out the CLEO SFU 717 Tap+Shower Filter on Amazon.

How To Remineralize RO Water For Drinking

Reverse Osmosis water purifiers are the most effective purification systems available because they remove pretty much everything, even some of the good stuff like calcium, magnesium and other dissolved salts that contribute to taste. This is why RO water, with low TDS(Total dissolved salts) in it, tastes kind of flat.

As for how to remineralize RO water, here are a list of methods I’ll talk about in this post:

  1. Get a remineralization cartridge for your RO filter
  2. Get an alkaline water filter pitcher
  3. Use mineral drops/tablets
  4. Buy greens blend
  5. Get some spa Water
  6. Use sea salt

First- Do You Even Need To Remineralize RO Water?

Well, technically you don’t because there are no known health consequences of drinking low TDS water(or even high TDS water for that matter). You can read more about it in this detailed post I wrote on how to reduce TDS in water at home.

Most people prefer to remineralize though, because it just tastes much better that way.

Another benefit of adding minerals to RO filtered water is that it raises the pH.

Minerals have an alkaline or basic effect in water, and RO water, due to lack of minerals, is a little acidic. While the pH of RO water isn’t anywhere near to the level where it may be harmful, if you’re one of those who suffers from acidosis, acid reflux- or simply prefer your water to be on the alkaline spectrum- remineralizing your RO water is a good idea.

Finally, our bodies need the right balance of minerals(salts) to hydrate. While most of our salt intake comes through food and not water- drinking remineralized water surely aids better hydration.

How To Remineralize RO Water For Drinking

  • Remineralization Cartridge For RO filters
  • Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher

Remineralization Cartridges

The best solution first- a remineralization cartridge can pretty much be added to any RO water purifier brand as the last filtration stage, and it doesn’t even require a plumber. The cartridge consists of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, etc which get dissolved in the purified RO water.

Basically, it adds essential minerals back to water after the RO filtration process removes them.

How To Add A Remineralization Cartridge

To start with, you’ll need some elbow fittings, clamps and tubing(I’ll link you to the right  sizedones on Amazon below) along with the mineralizer cartridge.

What we’re basically going to do here is to add the mineralizer cartridge after the last RO cartridge, so that the final, purified water to the faucet flows out of the output end of our mineralizer.

Here’s what you do:

  • Cut the outlet pipe from your RO filter(about 10 cms from the valve or however much length you may need)
  • Attach a plastic ¼” elbow fitting to the open mouth of the tube
  • Attach one end of your extra tubing to the open end of the elbow fitting
  • Connect this tubing to the mineralizer cartridge
  • Now, attach some more tubing to the output end of the mineralizer and connect it(using another ¼” elbow fitting) to the tube going straight to the faucet.
  • To keep the mineralizer in place, use the plastic clamps(included in add on kit recommended below) to attach it to the RO filter body.

Here’s a very useful youtube video I found that demonstrates the exact same process I outlined above:

Generally, a mineralizer cartridge will usually last you about 6 months, with average use. I recommend you get this one on Amazon, along with this add on kit for installment(includes tubing clamps and 1/4“ elbow fittings)

Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher

Alkaline pitchers simply add mineral salt hydrates(water soluble salts) to water which makes the water alkaline.

For me though, the mineralizer cartridge is much more convenient as it’s more of a ‘set and forget system’. With the pitcher, you have to remember to keep filling it up and allow the water some time to be filtered through and mineralized.

May begin to feel like a chore at some point.

Mineralizer cartridges are also more cost efficient– about half the price of a pitcher, which come in the 50-70$ range.

They essentially perform the same job, however, and if you’d prefer to just not get into the hassle of installing a mineralizer and want to try alkaline pitchers out, I recommend this popular one on Amazon

How To Remineralize RO Water Naturally

  • Mineral drops/tablets
  • Greens blend
  • Spa Water
  • Sea Salt

Mineral Drops

These mineral drops contain water soluble ionic minerals, specially harvested and concentrated into a small bottle.

You simply need add about 1-4 drops to every glass of RO water to improve the taste. The manufacturers for this particular mineral drops product on Amazon claim it can remineralize 93 gallons or ~350 Litres of water.

Assuming you use 5 drops every litre or 20 drops per gallon, at an average person’s consumption rate of 4 L of water daily,  it’ll last about 3 months, roughly.

PS: Do remember to not use more than the recommended limit of 40 drops per gallon, as it can have a laxative effect!

Greens Blend

This product provides more holistic nutrition than the others on this list- it basically is a blend of herbs, fruits and vegetables and has packed into it, a whole lot of naturally occurring minerals and vitamins.

The recommended intake is 2 scoops per day. You can get the normal variety with no add on flavors or the flavored options- berry, chocolate or orange. Check it out on Amazon.

Spa Water/ Fruit Infused Water

When I was a kid in school, my mom used to put lemonade into my water bottle instead of just normal water, which not only was tasty, it was also more hydrating due to the increased mineral balance in it.

Little did I know then, that what we simply call lemonade could also be termed as spa water or fruit infused water( probably a good thing, over sophistication in the 6th grade is kinda unwelcome by other kids!)

To make spa water at home, the easiest way is to cut up some lemon slices and place them into your water bottle/ pitcher overnight. Or maybe use apple, or oranges instead!

The options are endless- you can use any fruit, or herb and even their combinations to make infused water that tastes great and is remineralized as well. It all depends on your personal tastes.

A really neat product to get, if you’re thinking of remineralizing your water this way, is to get a fruit infusion water pitcher.

It basically has a small container inside to place the fruit/ veggie slices so that you don’t have to fish them out later from the bottom. At the same time, it allows the infusion process to take place easily.

By the way, this infusion pitcher on Amazon is the most popular in it’s category- so check it out if you’re interested.

Sea Salt

Rich in calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and other trace minerals, sea salt is much more healthier than table salt. This is because table salt is processed to remove extra minerals and avoid clumping of granules.

According to Dr. Axe, there are many other health benefits of sea salt such as:

  • Aids hydration when added to water
  • Helps in proper brain and nervous system functioning
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Helps one feel more energetic
  • Regulates BP

There majorly are two types of sea salt:

  1. Himalayan: Thought to be purer than any other sea salt, it is pinkish in color. Check out Himalayan sea salt on Amazon
  2. Celtic: Has a greyish hue and comparable health benefits to Himalayan sea salt. It is harvested in Brittany, France near the Celtic sea. Check it out on Amazon.

A Word of Warning About Pascalite Clay:

A lot of blog posts on this topic also recommend Pascalite clay as a means to remineralize water. However, Pascalite Inc, the company behind the product, have themselves stopped marketing the clay as safe to be ingested.

This is because lab testing found some naturally occuring lead in the clay, which could be harmful when ingested.

Even though the company maintains that the product is safe to be used either as a topical agent( on the skin) or ingested with water, they admit that their own tests found lead concentrations in the range of 16 ppm-24 ppm(parts per million). By contrast, the FDA regulations for lead are in the ppb(parts per billion) range.

I really wouldn’t recommend you use this product to remineralize water.


Remineralizing water isn’t very expensive, so if you’ve been drinking RO water for some time, I do suggest you start adding minerals to it.

If nothing else, you’ll notice the improved taste and that alone, makes it worth it.

The best way, according to me is to simply get a RO mineralizer cartridge. Simple, cost effective and a true ‘set and forget system’( until, of course, it needs to be replaced)

However, if you’re still on the fence for some reason- try using sea salt or fruit infused water. It can be easily made by anyone at home.

That’s about it for this post- any questions, doubts? Jump into the comments section below and I’ll reply ASAP!

Do Hard Water Shower Filters Work?I Asked The Manufacturers

I am stunned by the fact that there are so many articles online trying to make money by promoting ‘hard water shower filters’ or ‘hard water showerhead softeners’. This is because I spent a week poring through scientific articles and talking to shower filter manufacturers. And now, if you were to ask me- do hard water shower filters work? 

My answer would be that 99.99% shower filters do NOT work for hard water. They do not remove hard water salts from water OR soften water. I only found one exception that seems to work, which I’ll talk about towards the end of this post.

From small time affiliate website like Watersoftenercritic to even huge websites like Bustle, every one of them has at least one misleading article published online about ‘hard water’ shower filters.

Frankly I, like you and everyone else, believed that shower filters work for hard water until I did a little digging and found out how they work.

I contacted multiple shower filter manufacturers like Aquasana, Culligan, and Aquabliss.

I also researched popular shower filter technologies- KDF, Vitamin C, Activated Carbon.

Here’s one of the most popular websites, Bustle, recommending the Aquasana shower filter for hard water.

Bustle Article recommending aquasana as a hard water shower filter
Article on Bustle recommending Aquasana as a hard water shower filter

Now, let’s take a look at what the Aquasana representative I talked to said:

Email reply From Aquasana Rep stating that Aquasana Filters Do Not Remove Hard Water


Who would you rather trust? A few websites on the internet or the product manufacturer?

To stop all arguments, the following few sections are devoted to a breakdown of how each major shower filter technology works, and why it cannot act as a hard water filter.

If you’re already convinced, you may want to skip to the last section where I discuss REAL solutions to hard water softening/ filtration.

Here’s what I found out:

Do KDF Filters Soften Hard Water?

KDF(Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) technology works on the principle of redox reactions- it basically converts harmful contaminants in water to harmless substances- such as free chlorine ions are turned into water soluble chloride.

According to the KDF website, KDF filter media are primarily only to be used for protection against chlorine in water. Apart from that, they can remove, to a limited extent:

  • Bacteria build up
  • Heavy metals
  • Algae growth

What KDF filters definitely cannot do is treat/remove/soften hard water

Additional: Do KDF Filters Remove Heavy Metals?

To a limited extent, KDF filters also protect against water soluble heavy metals by removing them from the water altogether. The heavy metals get plated out on the surface of KDF media.

However, KDF filters are not certified to do so. You see, the efficiency of water filtration through KDF media, and most filters depends on:

  1. The surface area of the filter media
  2. Flow rate of water

Inside a shower filter, which is a pretty small housing, the surface area of the KDF media isn’t large enough to effectively remove heavy metals.

Also, the flow rate of water is too high to filter out a considerable amount of heavy metals.

In industrial applications though, with properly sized filter media and appropriate water flow, KDF media are used regularly for this very purpose.

Do Vitamin C Filters Soften Water?

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is used to neutralize chlorine in water. That’s pretty much all they can do, so yeah- they cannot soften hard water or remove dissolved salts.

They are, however, the most effective at removing chlorine and chloramines from water. While a KDF filter can treat about 90% chlorine in water, and is ineffective against chloramines, Vitamin C filters remove upto 99% chlorine and chloramines both.

Does Activated Carbon Remove Hard Water Minerals?

Activated Carbon filters work on the principle of adsorption- that is: contaminants stick to the surface of activated carbon. Again, activated carbon is effective against a lot of contaminants such as:

  • Chlorine
  • Chloramines
  • Heavy Metals
  • Trihalomethanes
  • VOCs
  • Pesticides and Herbicides

Overall, it also improves the taste of water and reduces odors.

Activated carbon is able to remove contaminants that are attracted to it’s charged surface or those that are hydrophobic(water hating). Since hard water minerals, such as calcium and magnesium are neither, activated carbon cannot remove them from water.

All right, let’s discuss some constructive solutions. There are a few things you can do to get safe, purified water to shower in.

So Are There Any REAL Alternatives?

  • RO Filter
  • Water Distillation
  • Water Softener
  • CLEO SFU 717 and SFW 815 shower & tap filter(wait… what?)

RO Filters

RO filters are the only effective way to remove hard water salts from water and do so in a timely manner. Additionally, they remove viruses, bacteria, cysts and protozoa from the water as well- better filtration capabilities than any other water purification technology.

You can get a RO filter and simply get a plumber to attach the outlet to your shower plumbing. For your faucets there are several undersink RO purifier models available as well, which are quite convenient. Check out this popular RO filter on Amazon.

Water Distillation

Not a real choice, frankly, but I included it here because it does remove hard water salts- however, the process is extremely slow, and not at all practical.

I can’t think of a good reason for most people to have a water distiller at home, let alone for showering.

Water Softener

A water softener will exchange the hard water minerals- calcium and magnesium- with sodium or potassium(depending on the model of water softener).

While this process doesn’t reduce the Total Dissolved Salts level, it removes those particular minerals which constitute water hardness and in excess, are harmful for the skin and scalp.  

Water softeners are generally quite expensive though- upwards of 500$ with some models running into thousands of dollars.

Also, there are salt free water conditioners that simply treat the hard water salts so that they do not stick to surfaces and form scales. I am not aware, however, whether these also prevent the harsh hard water minerals from sticking to the skin. They are cheaper than salt based water softeners though, and are generally priced around a few hundred dollars.

CLEO SFW 815 and SFU 717 Shower Filter

All right.

Remember everything I’ve said about shower filters not really working for hard water?

Forget that for a moment.

Because this one does. Really, I’m not kidding. I truly believe this is a one-of-a-kind shower filter because it actually works against hard water. It works like a salt free water softener and conditions hard water.

I’ve been personally using the CLEO range of shower filters for close to a year now, and I can attest to that.

No limescale deposits, and the water feels SO much better.

The bad thing for some of you reading this is that these products are only available in India, as of now.

If you are from India- check out my review of the CLEO SFW 815 shower filter and CLEO SFU 717 Shower & Tap filter.

Why Is It Important To NOT Shower In Hard Water?

Prolonged exposure to hard water can cause:

  • Brittle hair and hair fall
  • Dandruff
  • Dull, frizzy hair
  • Weighed down, heavy-set hair
  • Split ends
  • Rashes and dry skin

Most of you are reading this article because you’re probably experiencing one of the above-mentioned effects of hard water.I talked in this post about the 2 most important ways to safeguard yourself from hard water- RO and water softeners.

However, if you are interested in knowing about other ways to maintain your hair and skin with hard water, you may want to read this more detailed post I wrote on the topic.

Hope you found this article helpful- any questions? Jump into the comments section below and I’ll reply ASAP!

Why Coconut Activated Carbon Makes THE Best Water Filters

Whether you’re out buying a RO filter, a pitcher filter, or even just a shower filter- chances are it’ll include an activated carbon filtration stage. Activated carbon is everywhere these days- widely used in applications in the food, energy and water sectors, to name a few.

In this post I’m going to expand on what activated carbon is, how it’s made and why, specifically, coconut activated carbon is better than the rest.

What is Activated Carbon?

Activated carbon is a carbon based filtration medium with a porous atomic structure. This porosity is why it is called ‘activated’ carbon. Usually made from materials like peat, wood, coal, coconut shells, etc, activated carbon is widely used in water filters for removing organic contaminants, improving taste and removing odors.

How Is Activated Carbon Made?

  • Chemical Activation
  • Steam Activation

Essentially, the only thing you need to know here is that different activated carbon materials need different processes for activation. For instance, coconut is usually activated through steam, and not chemically. Peat- through chemicals only.

Unless you’re interested in exactly how the process works, you can skip ahead to the next section.


Our carbon based material- say peat, is dipped into a special solution, such as phosphoric acid and left for some time for the activation process, i.e: for pores to open up in the cellular structure. As you’ll learn next, these pores are crucial to it’s filtration capacity.

Steam Activation:

In a nutshell, this process takes place in two steps. Firstly, the raw material- usually coconut shells or coal- is heated upto 700 degrees Celsius in an inert atmosphere to give un-activated carbon.

Next, this carbonized product is activated with steam at 900-100 degrees Celsius- which basically means that steam is used to chisel out a porous internal structure in the carbonized structure.

How does Activated Carbon Remove Contaminants?

According to Dr. Mukherjee, activated carbon is essentially, an adsorbent media, i.e: contaminants stick to it’s porous surface. It’s internal surface area is huge due to it’s porous structure, which means that it can adsorb a lot of contaminants. In fact, 3 grams of activated carbon have a surface area equivalent to a football field!

Adsorption can occur due to:

  • Natural affinity of contaminant to carbon
  • Hydrophobic or water-repelling nature of contaminant- such as a lot of organic contaminants, VOCs

What Contaminants does Activated Carbon Remove?

Mainly, activated carbon is great at removing chlorine and it’s byproducts formed in water. The contaminants removed by Activated carbon are:

  • Chlorine
  • Chloramines
  • Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs)
  • Trihalomethanes
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Improves taste
  • Removes odors

RELATED: Read more about chlorine and it’s other byproducts in water as well as how to remove them here

What Activated Carbon Cannot Filter Out:

  • Dissolved salts
  • Heavy metals
  • Viruses
  • Some bacteria

What is Coconut Activated Carbon?

As the name suggests, it is activated carbon made from coconut shells.


  • Is the least dusty, i.e: is more compacted which makes it more efficient than other activated carbons at adsorbing contaminants
  • Has a harder structure than other activated carbons which makes it well suited for water filters
  • Works at higher temperatures than normal activated carbon filters- which only work for cold water
Email Reply From Aquasana
I spoke to the Aquasana Rep about their shower filters- that contain coconut activated carbon along with KDF. They even sent me their performance data sheet which checks out!


Additionally, while activated carbon isn’t known for removing heavy metals- This study in Thailand found Coconut shell activated carbon a better bet than simple activated carbon for removing chromium from waste water due to it’s simple structure, efficacy in removing chromium as well as cost-effectiveness


  • May become breeding ground for bacteria and fungus as the contaminants get built up inside the ‘sponge like’ filter
  • May get clogged quickly if the contaminant concentration is too much- in fact, a lot of consumers in areas of really bad water quality complain of this.

Due to these drawbacks, you’ll find that activated carbon is never used as a single stage filter, rather it is almost always used as a post- filter, mainly to improve taste and chlorine and other organic compounds.

Granular Vs Block Activated Carbon

We know that the best type of activated carbon is coconut shell, but what is the best structure for it?

Structurally, there are two main physical types of activated carbon:

  • Granular: Consists of loose granules of activated carbon
  • Block: Consists of a block of compressed activated carbon

Granular activated carbon(GAC) has a better life than block carbon, and it can be reactivated as well. However, since it is basically a lot of loose carbon granules together, it isn’t as effective at filtration as block carbon, which consists of even finer carbon particles tightly jammed together.

Also, GAC filters are subject to channeling, i.e: water moves the loose carbons around and forms channels or small paths inside. This reduces the flow rate as well as filtration efficacy.

Thirdly, carbon block filters have a higher surface area than GAC filters, which means that water is in contact with the block filters for a longer time, which in turn means that more contaminants are adsorbed by them than by GAC filters.

Finally, as carbon block filters are small and more compact, they are more suited towards water filtration applications that GACs. Overall, you’ll find that most of the consumer products with activated carbon are coconut based block carbon.


So now you know why a lot of water filters today include activated carbon. If you haven’t noticed this before, do remember to check when you’re buying a new water filter or shower filter. Having coconut activated carbon gives an added layer of protection as well as improves the aesthetics of water.

Before I leave you, a few final recommendation of some popular water filters in the market that use coconut activated carbon:

Hope you enjoyed the post- questions? Jump into the comments below and I’ll revert ASAP!

The 3 Main Types of Shower Filters-Which One Should You Buy?

A few weeks ago, I realized that almost all shower filters articles on the internet are half wrong.

For instance, there are so many prominent blogs that promote KDF shower filters as ‘water softening showerheads. Anyone who knows how KDF works, knows that it cannot soften water.

So much mis-information. I can’t imagine how so many websites at once can be so misleading. All for selling a product? Seems quite unethical to me.

Which is why I created this article- the only article you’ll need to read before deciding which shower filter to buy. I’ve been using a shower filter for close to a year myself, so I know a few things about them, and I also spoke with representatives of 3 different shower filter companies.

There basically are three major shower filtration media in use today:

  • KDF
  • Vitamin C
  • Coconut Activated Carbon

Let’s get into these one by one.


KDF or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion shower filters are the most versatile, which is why they are also the most popular. More than half of the shower filters in the market today, use KDF filter cartridges. Even for the 8 shower filter brands surveyed for this article, 5 are KDF based.

Here’s a brief of what KDF filters can do:

  • Remove free chlorine(90-95%)- certified by NSF/ANSI Standard 177
  • Remove some amount of water soluble heavy metals- Not certified for this
  • Control scale formation due to hard water
  • Reduce bacteria
  • Control algae growth
  • Work in hot and cold water both(upto 115 degree Fahrenheit or 46 degrees Celsius)

What KDF filters can’t remove from water:

  • TDS(Total dissolved salts)
  • Chloramines- byproduct of chlorine and ammonia being used together for water purification in some places instead of just chlorine. Read more about chlorine/chloramines and how to remove them here

Also- unless you’re buying a premium brand- KDF shower filters are quite affordable(In the range of 10-30$ and about 10-15$ per replacement filter cartridge).

All in all, great value for money.

How do KDF filters work:

KDF shower filters are made using a patented blend of Copper and Zinc, which create a small electric charge as water flows through the filter cartridge. This tiny electric potential is enough to trigger a chemical process called oxidation-reduction(redox).

In a nutshell, redox means that two oppositely charged particles react, with one losing electrons and the other gaining. Say, free chlorine ions are present in the water, as they pass through the KDF media, they’ll lose electrons and get converted to a harmless, water soluble chloride, and will be passed along with the filtered water.

Other contaminants, such as heavy metals are plated out or retained on the surface of the filter- again, not completely, but to some extent.

KDF shower filtration efficiency depends on the flow rate of water, i.e: how long the water stays in contact with the filtration media. This is because the optimum flow rate for the redox reaction to occur successfully is about 2-2.5 GPM (7.6-9.5 LPM).

Unless you already have low water pressure at your home, you don’t need to worry about flow rate. You may want to or already have attached a water booster pump for your bathroom if you do have low water pressure.

Personally though, I’ve been using a KDF shower filter for close to 8 months and I’ve faced no problems with water pressure.

KDF shower filter maintenance:

KDF filters need to be replaced every 6 months or so(depending on how bad your water quality is). However, there is one thing you can do to extend the life of your KDF filter considerably- Backwashing

During normal usage of the shower filter, contaminants in water get trapped on the surface of the shower filter, which over time, may start restricting the flow of water. You may notice this happening by a drop in water pressure. Backwashing is done simply to remove these trapped contaminants and allow easy passage of water again.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Simply take out the filter cartridge and put it back upside down in it’s housing, such that the input and output ends are now swapped.
  2. Now, run purified water through the shower filter for 2-3 mins. Doing this allows trapped contaminants to be released, as they flow out of the cartridge, through the ‘input’ end.
  3. After a couple of minutes, put the filter cartridge back in the original position and run water through the shower filter.Chances are, you’ll notice an improved flow rate and slightly better water quality.
  4. Repeat this process at least once every month(or more frequently if your water quality is bad)

Vitamin C Shower Filters:

Vitamin C shower filters aren’t for everyone because they solve a very specific problem. However, they solve it better than any filter out there.

What Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is great at, is removing chlorine and chloramines. So good, in fact, they can remove upto 99% chlorine and chloramines from water.

Technically speaking, Vitamin C doesn’t filter out chlorine and chloramines from water. Rather, it neutralizes the chlorine/ chloramines as the water flows through the filter cartridge. Which is why, over time, the Vitamin C serum gets depleted, and needs replacement.

Vitamin C shower filters are mostly priced around 60-90$ and last about 3 months– half the time a KDF filter will last.

Keep in mind though, that while most households around the world receive chlorinated water, chloramination is a relatively recent trend and isn’t practised as widely. Which is why, in my opinion, most households could do just as well getting a cheaper KDF filter that removes chlorine.

If you are unsure about your water containing chlorine, chloramines, or any other contaminants, just read up on your water suppliers annual Consumer Confidence Report(if you’re in the US) or get a simple home water testing kit, such as this one on Amazon.

Coconut Activated Carbon Filters(CAC):

The better, improved version of Granular Activated Carbon(GAC) filters. Coconut activated carbon(CAC) filters efficiently remove chemicals such as chlorine, chloramines and VOCs, along with improving odor and taste of water.

CAC filters are used more often because of a number of advantages over GAC, the most important of which is, that CAC filters work well in both, hot and cold water. In fact, I emailed Aquasana(which uses both KDF and CAC in it’s shower filter) to confirm this point and this is what they said:


A note: Some of you may have read about magnetic and electronic shower filters, and may be wondering why they aren’t included here. That’s because they are a hoax- simple as that. There is absolutely no science behind the claim that, in the case of magnetic shower filters- that electromagnetic waves soften water. Spare yourself disappointment and stay away from these.


Popular Brands and What Their Filters are Made of:

Sprite – Chlorgon:

Similar to KDF, Sprite has developed their own filter media that works on the redox process. Other than the fact that Chlorgon is made up of a blend of Copper, Zinc and Calcium Sulfite(KDF is made up of the first two only), there seem to be no differences performance wise. They both have the same NSF/ANSI certifications- Standard 177- which certifies them for removing free chlorine from water.


This product is a mix of proven science and unproven(rather disproved) science.

Rainshow’r shower filters use a combination of KDF(proven benefits) and Quartz crystals(unproven benefits)- which are quite popular in alternate therapy circles.

While they admit that they don’t have any scientific backing to their claims, Rainshow’r says on it’s website that they have observed Quartz crystals give water a lighter feel, probably because they create microclusters and impart negative ions to the water. They also make other claims such as reducing scale formation which they do not provide evidence for.

I have written about negative ion showerheads and other pseudoscience terms such as ‘microclusters’ in other posts, so I won’t go into that here as that’s a whole other tangent.

I’m not particularly opposed to Rainshow’r even, because unlike other companies selling such products, they don’t seek to hoodwink the consumer- in fact, they admit outright that they cannot verify their claims. However, they still believe in them.

Which is why, if you want to experiment with Quartz crystals and see for yourself- I will recommend you buy a Rainshow’r filter- because regardless of whether the crystals actually work- we know that KDF does work, and at least you’ll be showering safe.


Probably the best shower filter in the market today. The reason I say so is that they use a clever combination of KDF and coconut activated carbon shell. I say clever because both KDF and CAC have their limitations while used alone, but together, they’re capable of removing chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, THMs, as well as other organic chemicals from water.

The only drawback is that Aquasana’s filters are quite expensive, almost as much as Vitamin C filters- roughly around 60$. Their replacement cartridges too, cost about the same, so all in all, they can be quite costly.

Still, the best filter in the market has to come at a premium. You can check them out on Amazon.

Sonaki and UBS Vitafresh:

The reason these two brands are together is because they’re the only two brands that make Vitamin C shower filters. Comparatively speaking, Sonaki is the more popular brand and has better reviews, however, essentially, both products are the same.

Given how widely Vitamin C is used for neutralizing chlorine and chloramines, it is strange that these brands do not have an NSF/ANSI certification like all other KDF filters have.

Also, I came across a couple of customers online complaining of the short lifespan of Vitamin C filters. One user on Amazon said he needed to replace the filter cartridge within 4 weeks! The thing is, that the lifespan for any filter depends on how many contaminants are present in your water, so the filter life will vary from place to place

Still, there aren’t better products for removing chlorine and chloramines from your water than these two. Check them out on Amazon.


These shower filters use calcium sulfite filters, which they claim come with a whole host of advantages. However, nowhere on their website does their blog post on this topic ever explain how the technology actually works. Even an exhaustive research online showed up no legitimate source of information regarding calcium sulfite filters.

Add to this the fact that their filters aren’t NSF certified(at least yet):

Email Conversation With Aquabliss

For lack of knowledge on this one, I won’t recommend Aquabliss. In case you know about Calcium Sulfite water filtration, please do take the opportunity to comment below and educate me as well. I’ll include it in this post.


The Culligan brand is extremely popular online, and although theirs is a standard KDF shower filter, it still sells like hot cakes online- probably due to brand value. A great buy, check them out on Amazon.


I recommend you get the Aquasana shower filter. It gives you the best overall protection from maximum number of contaminants- more so than any standalone KDF or Vitamin C filter can possibly provide.

Here’s my rule when it comes to shower filters:

If you’re looking to remove just chlorine and chloramines from your water- get a Vitamin C filter. In other cases- get a KDF filter. As I said earlier, they filter out a wider range of contaminants and have more benefits for a general user than just a Vitamin C filter.

Hope you find this post helpful for buying your new shower filter! Don’t hesitate to jump into the comments section for any questions!