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Facts about Distilled Water 

Everything that you need to know about distilled water.

Written by:
George Simms
Plumber & Contractor

Distilled water is a form of purified water. It makes its distinction from other water types through the distillation process. Water is gathered from a source before being boiled into vapor. It is then condensed back into liquid in a separate container

Whatever impurities were present in the original water that don’t boil at the boiling point of water remain in the first container. In general, distilled water is the purest form of drinking water

"There have been many claims about the health benefits of distilled water, many of which aren’t entirely true. Here’s a look at the facts you should know about distilled water. "

What You Need to Know about Distilled Water

1. Distilled Water Lacks Minerals

When drinking distilled water, you may notice it has a flat or bland taste compared to tap or bottled water. This is because it lacks dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium, commonly found in tap and bottled water. 

Due to the lack of minerals, it contains, distilled water often pulls minerals from surfaces it touches. This can cause it to take minerals from your body as you drink (e.g., from your teeth). It also makes storage quite difficult because it can absorb trace amounts of plastic if kept in a plastic container.

When you sweat and urinate, your body loses sodium and other absorbed minerals that need to be replaced. Rehydrating with distilled water won’t replace these minerals because they have been removed during distillation. 

Fortunately, with a healthy diet, you should still absorb sufficient minerals from food and other liquids. However, if you drink mainly distilled water, it’s essential you consume the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables to maintain healthy salt and mineral levels.

2. It is Great for Uses Other than Drinking

Since distilled water has its minerals removed, it is often used for other processes where minerals aren’t helpful. Here are some common applications for distilled water.

3. It can be used for Medical Purposes

Distilled water is used frequently in hospitals, dental procedures, and doctors’ offices because of its purity

"In hospitals, distilled water is used to sterilize equipment during surgery and preparation. "

The lack of minerals means it leaves no deposits, spotting, or residue on instruments after cleaning. Kidney dialysis machines operate using pure water to filter waste from patients’ blood. 

Distilled water is often used for cleaning patients’ wounds to help keep infection at bay. Dentists commonly use distilled water after a procedure to rinse the area of the mouth that’s been treated.

4. This is used for Scientific Laboratory Experiments 

Scientists often used distilled water during experiments to prevent contaminants, minerals, and deposits from skewing results. The water’s purity stops it from overreacting with other chemicals, often leading to a more accurate experiment. 

In most cases, distilled water has a pH level of 7, meaning it is neutral. However, when it comes into contact with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the pH level reduces below 6, meaning it is acidic. For accurate experiment results, it’s important to use neutral water, so it must be extracted from a sealed container.

5. It is Used For CPAP Machines 

Individuals with sleep apnea use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These devices pressurize air and feed it consistently through a mask to the wearer, keeping their airways open. 

These usually contain a water tank that adds moisture to the air. Distilled water is used in these tanks to stop bacteria from breeding and prevent minerals’ buildup.

6. It is Used for Domestic Appliance 

Any domestic appliances that use water to function or require regular cleaning can benefit from distilled water. Tap water that contains minerals and particles can cause mineral deposits to gather on your appliances, damaging them over time. Using distilled water can increase the lifespan of a device

Dehumidifiers and Keurig coffee machines are perfect examples of domestic appliances that benefit from distilled water use. 

Similarly, distilled water is less harsh on car engines. If the coolant system or other parts of the engine require a water refill, unfiltered water can cause corrosion, making distilled water a better option.

7. It Can Be Safer to Drink Than Tap Water 

Tap water standards vary globally. Depending on where you live, distilled water can be much healthier and safer to drink than tap water. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated over 2.1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water.

Even in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for limited amounts of dangerous chemicals in drinking water. As distillation eliminates waterborne pathogens, most harmful bacteria that could cause disease are removed during distillation

If you live in an area where there are potential bacteria in your tap water, distilled water is a safer choice.

8 How to Make Your Own Distilled Water 

Distilled water is readily available to buy online or in a grocery store. However, with the right materials, it can be worthwhile to make your own.

Here’s how to make your own distilled water:

  1. 1
    Fill half a large pot with water.
  2. 2
    Tie a cup to the pot’s lid, ensuring it is facing right side up when the lid is closed. Make sure the cup doesn’t touch the water inside the pot.
  3. 3
    Place the pot on the stove and allow the water to boil for 20 minutes. This will cause the water to evaporate, rise, and condense.
  4. 4
    The condensed water will gather on the lid and drop into the cup.
  5. 5
    Water that collects in the cup is distilled.
  6. 6
    Repeat this process to make more distilled water.

9. Choose this For Health or Practicality

Whether you want to use distilled water to ensure there are no bacteria in your drinking water or to improve the performance of household appliances, distilled water is an excellent choice for your home. Keep distilled water on-hand to clean wounds and prevent bacteria build-up in your CPAP machines. 

If you worry about storing homemade distilled water, you can invest in a water filter or water softener instead to eliminate minerals and chemicals from your household water supply. Check your appliance manufacturers’ instructions to see if filtered or softened water is an appropriate alternative for these devices.

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About the Author

George Simms is a Salt Lake City based plumber and contractor, with a focus on aiding homes and businesses (particularly farm) solve problems with hard and contaminated water. Walter is here to share his wealth of job experience and a knowledge of both modern and antique plumbing.

Last Updated on December 9, 2021