Staining on plumbing fixtures and clothing is a common concern that can be the result of high concentrations of iron, hydrogen sulphide, sodium, and/or hard water( calcium and magnesium). Although not harmful to your health, long term exposure to these minerals will cause damage to your plumbing pipes and water based appliances including in your dishwasher, washing machine, and hot water tank.
Iron: Iron exists in 2 common forms, FERROUS IRON - clear water iron and FERRIC IRON- red water iron. Ferrous iron presents as clear in the water and is not visible to the eye. Ferric iron presents as a cloudy reddish/orange appearance. When ferrous iron is oxidize by coming in contact with the air and setting on bathtubs, sinks or fixtures it becomes ferric iron which is rust. This rust adhears to the fixtures leaving behind a brown/reddish stain which is very difficult to remove.
Hard Water: Hard water is made up of two elements, calcium and magnesium. Even low levels of hardness will cause staining and build up in showers and bathtubs, washing machines, dishwashers, pipes and hot water tanks. The build up presents as white spots or white build up and/or corrosion on faucets and fixtures. Hard water attracts soap scum buildup making it very difficult to clean. It also leave spots on clean dishes and glasses.
Hydrogen Sulphide: In addition to producing a pungent rotten egg smell when oxidized, hydrogen sulphide is also corrosive to metals such as iron, steel, copper and brass. It will stain or discolour silverware and can cause yellow or black staining on plumbing fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom.
Sodium: High concentrations of sodium in your water will cause white stain spots on faucets, sinks and bathtub fixtures. These spots are fairly easy to remove by simply using a clean cloth with purified water. They present similar to hard water stains, however are much easier to remove than calcium and magnesium build up.