I have a 200 foot bore for water in my home. The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) value of that water is around 790-800ppm. I want to make this water safe for bathing, dish-washing and clothes washing. I don't need to make this water ideal for drinking.

What are the cheapest possible solutions for that?

  • 1
    What is your concern about the water now? The EPA says drinking water should be less than 500 mg/l TDS. Yours is higher than that, but you don’t intend to drink it. You’ll have lots of hard water issues, but it’s not clear that there’s anything unsafe about using it for the purposes you listed. To avoid the hard water issues, the cheapest solution is a water softener. As noted below, that will not reduce TDS, but will eliminate the hard water issues.
    – Mark
    Mar 10 '18 at 14:09
  • When he says "safe for bathing, dish-washing and clothes washing", he probably means "suitable for bathing, dish-washing and clothes washing". For that purpose, a water softener is likely the most cost effective solution. Mar 11 '18 at 17:21

There are three basic non-snake oil devices that one might use: sediment filter, RO filter, and water softener.

A sediment filter doesn't remove dissolved solids.

An RO filter is not suitable for high volume uses like bathing, dish-washing and clothes washing.

A good water softener is the right product for your needs.

But you might add an RO filter in the kitchen to supply water for drinking and cooking also.

  • A water softener is not in fact the right product for reducing total dissolved solids. From wikipedia: "High levels of total dissolved solids do not coorelate to hard water, as water softeners do not reduce TDS. Water softners remove magnesium and calcium ions, which cause hard water, but these ions are replaced with an equal number of sodium or potassium ions. This leaves overall TDS unchanged." waterquality.montana.edu/docs/homeowners/tds_fact_sheet.shtml Feb 9 '15 at 6:27
  • 1
    True, the best thing is for him to get his water analyzed as part of deciding if he needs a water softener and installing it but usually when well water has high TDS, it's magnesium and calcium. It is likely he is concerned about washing applications from talking to his neighbors who probably have roughly the same water quality that he has. Sodium doesn't affect washing, it's more of a concern for drinking water which he explicitly ruled out. Feb 10 '15 at 7:17
  • 1
    @KeithHoffman - note that the question doesn’t ask how to reduce TDS, it asks how to make the water suitable for bathing and washing dishes.
    – Mark
    Mar 10 '18 at 14:10
  • I sincerely doubt the original poster is still monitoring this question for solutions but since you point it out .... yes, TDS does not necessarily correlate to problems with laundry; it depends on what is causing the TDS. But iron, copper, manganese, silica, chloride are all possible components of the TDS that can cause problems with laundry and dishwashing. Since the original poster didn't provide test values for these components, it's a reasonable assumption that the TDS could indeed be a problem with laundry and dishwashing. Mar 24 '18 at 0:42

Ask Coke

Are there any restaurants (or convenience stores/gas stations with a soda fountain that use your same water? Because Coke and Pepsi have stringent requirements for the water that goes into a soda fountain.

by "soda fountain" I mean that thing, where there are 6+ flavors of soda on tap, usually ice too, and you can pump basically unlimited amounts. It mixes mix concentrated syrup from cardboard cartons stored some distance away, carbonation from CO2 canisters supplied locally, and water from the tap that is filtered so minerals and water treatment chemicals don't make the soda flat or taste funny. This is why Coke tastes like Coke everywhere.

Most of those machines are actually owned by the Coca-Cola Company, and when they install one, they do water testing and dictate to the owner what kinds of water filtration they must install to get the water quality to Coke company spec. And that must feed the ice machine too. The restaurant is also welcome to hang anything else off that filter, e.g. Coffee and tea machines.

That is why, even in a town with dank tap water, the stuff from the "water" side-tap on the soda fountain tastes so good.

Anyway, the upshot is you don't need to reinvent the wheel... Just find out what's behind your nearest Coke fountain.

  • Great idea (+1), but as a practical matter, unless it is a remote rural area, a business with a soda fountain is more likely to be on municipal water. Also, water volume for beverages is low enough for RO, which may not be practical for high volume uses, at least without a storage system. However, Coke and Pepsi don't reinvent the wheel, either, for each location. Contacting the distributor or company headquarters, they may be willing to share what technology they specify to use for water like the OP's. It may also be that in some cases, they just resort to bottled water.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 30 '18 at 21:57

I'd say you have two options you could try, one cheap and one expensive.

  1. You could add a whole house sediment filter to your main line into the house. There are a couple different kinds (replaceable paper, cleanable metal screen, and more fancy options).
  2. You could add a reverse osmosis system and significant size storage tank to store enough RO water since the system won't keep up.

Option 1 could run from $50 (assuming DIY) to $1000, depending on how fancy you get. Option 2 would probably run from ~$800 to $1500, due to the need to store the RO water and more replumbing.

I'd probably try option 1 and see if that is adequate for you.

This article describes installing a pretty simple type of whole house filter.


You may need to look for something more expensive like a metal screen back flushing sediment filter if you find that you clog the paper media filter. The price differential is considerable. One example selected at random.



Use water conditioner and you'll be happy. It doesn't make water soft nor does it reduce total dissolved solids (TDS), its because reduction of TDS is not necessary since the minerals are sliced and diced and aligned and neutralized due to which it loses its bonding ability thereby doesn't form scales.


To anyone suggesting a water softener my response is NO!! Water softeners do NOT remove TDS (total dissolved solids) and anyone who says otherwise is LYING. In fact, water softeners ADD TDS to the water as they require salt or some type of salt substitute. To my knowledge there are only two ways of removing TDS from residential homes, none of which are practical and cost efficient.

  1. Reverse Omosis: this works but problem: the water is highly acidic which will require an acid neutralizer or else you may need to change your pipes, hot water heater, etc. as R/O water will eat through anything that's not 100% stainless steel, plastic, or ceramic (glass might be okay but not sure).

  2. Distillation: This is similar to R/O but more expensive to my understanding.

  • The question does not ask how to remove TDS. It asks how to make the water suitable for bathing and washing dishes.
    – Mark
    Jun 30 '18 at 23:45
  • This answer contains many inaccuracies. Please do some research before posting an answer, and cite authoritative sources.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 2 '18 at 9:02

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