As we get closer to summer, it becomes more and more important to stay hydrated. Nevertheless, the quest for pure, clean water, and what the best water is can be a struggle. Many people choose distilled or purified water to make sure it is safe. So, what is the difference between distilled and purified water? And how do you use them? Let’s discuss today distilled water vs. purified water by understanding each of the two a bit better.
Distilled Water vs. Purified Water
What Is Distilled Water?
Distilled water is a type of sanitized water, but instead of filtering it, we boil it through a complicated multi-step process. In short, distilled water is water that has been boiled to a vapor state and then transformed back into a liquid state.
Distillation is an efficient procedure that removes contaminants like viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and chemicals (for example, lead and sulfate). Minerals, most pollutants, and chemicals (at least those with lower boiling points than water) stay behind.
In conclusion, we use the process of distillation to remove heavy metals, nitrates, and minerals, while the boiling destroys the vast majority of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. There are some chemicals with a lower boiling point than water — VOCs, chlorine, and benzene, for example — so they remain in the distilled water unless filtered out with charcoal.
How to Distill Water?
The first step in the industrial distillation process is to boil water until it all turns into steam. After cooling, they collect the vapor. Then, they transport the condensed water to another container where it becomes liquid. You can also try to distill water at home if you are into experiments. However, read below how to make distilled water for drinking purposes – not just for the fun of chemical and physics experiments.
How to Make Distilled Water at Home
For residential use, we have water distillers to help us with this process. Some of the best water distillers on the market are able to clean and sanitize up to 6 gallons of water a day. These compact and portable devices, resembling coffee makers, are an excellent home filtration solution if you want to strip your water of lead, iron, other heavy metals, sediment, and other common water contaminants.
Water distillation machines for home use come with plenty of advantages and a few disadvantages we have talked about before. For a quick summary, check out the table below!
|Water distillers remove a wide range of bacteria, heavy metals, and common water contaminants||Some contaminants like VOCs (and all contaminants with boiling points lower than 212℉ (100℃)) remain in the water even after distillation|
|Water distillers – as opposed to water filters – do not require replacements of filters and cartridges||Distillation removes essential minerals from the water and does not put them back as some RO filters do|
|Extremely quiet compared to other systems||Water distillers are portable and most of them are affordable|
|Extremely easy to install and use||Require maintenance and careful operation|
The answer to the question “how do you make distilled water at home” is: use a water distiller. You will find them in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, tech specs, and features. Read our guide on how to buy the best water distiller and make the best choice!
What Is Distilled Water Used for?
Since distilled water is sterile, it has plenty of uses in laboratories, dentists’ offices, and hospitals. Moreover, we can also find it in humidifiers or Neti pots. Other applications include:
- Canning fruits and vegetables;
- The cosmetic industry;
- For developing photo film;
- For filling wet batteries.
Let’s continue our distilled water vs. purified water debate by analyzing the main differences between the two of them.
Do You Know the Difference Between Distilled Water and Tap Water?
Water supplied to tap in our home is known as city water, municipal water, or town water. It is the water used in a home for drinking, washing, cooking, and flushing toilets. Compared to distilled water, purified through boiling (although boiling has its fair share of limitations), tap water is treated with lots of chemicals to remove bacteria and microorganisms, and may even contain other contaminants like metals, hormones, and pesticides. Usually, to remove impurities from their tap water, most people use water filters.
Speaking of filters, some of the most popular choices are the following
- Whole house water filters – as we mentioned before, people choose the best whole house water filters when they need clean and safe water in large quantities, to meet the requirements of prominent families, homes, buildings, and businesses. Whole house water filters remove impurities and contaminants of the city or well water before the water reaches kitchens, bathrooms, and so on.
- Under sink water filters – many under sink water filters use reverse osmosis, a technology turning tap water into pure mineral water after removing 99% of all impurities, contaminants, and so on. Under sink water filters occupy less space than their whole house counterparts do (as they fit under most kitchen sinks/countertops), and we use them mostly for cooking, washing, and drinking water.
- Faucet water filters – faucet water filters make excellent choices when you want clean tap water for drinking or cooking, especially if you want to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles.
- Countertop/portable water filters – in this category, you can find whole house portable water filters, and even countertop reverse osmosis ones. We use them for making sure we drink clean, safe, alkalized water.
Water filters come in many shapes, sizes, and functions. All you have to do is choose the best product to meet your needs (and hopefully, exceed your expectations). People who live in areas with hard water, besides contaminated ones, also use water softeners and filtered water pitchers to make sure they always have clean, alkaline, and healthy water for their families.
In conclusion, tap water contains minerals and electrolytes – in comparison to distilled water, which went through the purification process. It does not contain any of these. However, we need minerals for a healthy life, and it is the reason why reverse osmosis water filters become more and more popular every day.
Can You Drink Distilled Water?
People do drink distilled water (although not a standard drinking water) because it is free of contaminants and they believe it might cleanse the body of chemicals. However, in the distillation process, essential minerals like magnesium and calcium are removed, so the main risk of drinking distilled water is that it lacks these minerals, which are critical for our health.
So, unlike tap water, distilled water will not replace minerals lost through urine and sweat, but might cause a decrease in metabolic function and even electrolyte imbalances.
Is distilled water drinkable? Yes, but you have no real reason to consume it. If you want pure mineral water from the tap, look for the best under sink water filter you can find and enjoy alkaline, mineral water with no stress!
Is Boiled Water Distilled Water?
Although distilled water and boiled water include — well, boiling water — the two involve entirely different processes.
- Distilling water encompasses some very complicated steps that leave the water wholly purified, as we mentioned above.
- When we boil water — actually the first of many steps when distilling water — it kills microorganisms like viruses, germs, and bacteria; however, it does leave nutrients. Distilled water does not. Unfortunately, merely boiling it also leaves impurities behind as well.
What is the pH of distilled water?
In theory, distilled water should have a neutral pH of 7, but it rarely happens so. In fact, distilled water is a bit more acidic than regular tap water. Check our guide on how to make alkaline water at home if you want a health booster!
What Is Purified Water?
Purified water is usually the drinking tap water that went through a process of purification and disinfection at the water treatment plant.
Although both purified and filtered water go through some filtration process, they are not the same at all. Here is what specialists have to say about water purification:
In countries that purify public drinking water, various treatment methods are used to make water safe, including:
Coagulation and flocculation: Positively charged chemicals are added to water to bind with negatively charged particles so they can be filtered out. This forms larger particles called floc.
Sedimentation: Due to its larger size, floc settles to the bottom of the water supply, separated from the clean water.
Filtration: The clean water on top of the supply then flows through numerous filtration systems made of sand, charcoal, and gravel. This removes contaminants like dust, bacteria, chemicals, and viruses.
Disinfection: During this step, chemical disinfectants like chlorine are added to the water to kill any remaining bacteria or viruses that may have survived the first few steps.
To be classified as purified water, impurities must be reduced to extremely low levels, and the total of dissolved solids (TDS) has to be smaller than 10 parts per million.
The water can come initially from groundwater sources, spring or surfaces; it is the purification process to filter out bacteria and impurities that make the water different.
What Is Purified Water Used for?
Purified water has many applications as well:
- the pharmaceutical industry
- commercial beverage industry
- laboratory testing
- laser cutting,
- automotive use
- fish tanks and
- baby formula.
Is Drinking Purified Water Safe?
Even though purified water has gone through a long process to remove lots of impurities, ironically, chemical chlorine becomes a part of it. Therefore, drinking purified water on occasion is alright, but don’t make it a habit since the same chemical added to this water is also what kills the gut bacteria that keep us healthy.
Data shown by the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine suggest that chlorine is a health hazard that can wipe essential fatty acids, which make up the cells of the brain and nervous system. Furthermore, there is also the possibility of the chemical reacting with leftover organic matter in the water and create carcinogens.
How to Purify Water
There are many ways to purify water: reverse osmosis, deionization, or distillation. The purification process mechanically filters or processes water to remove impurities such as bacteria, algae, parasites, metals, fungi, and chemical pollutants to make it suitable for use. During the end phase of purifying water, chlorine and aluminum sulfate are added to the water to kill germs and remove bacteria. You can also sanitize water at home naturally.
|Distilled Water||Purified Water|
|Boiled||Filtered via reverse osmosis, ion exchange, etc.|
|Completely free of impurities||Requires very little energy|
|Contains no minerals or electrolytes||Contains some chemicals|
|Not something you want to drink||Not recommended for drinking|
|Tastes flat||You can obtain it at home|
|Requires lots of energy to produce||Can come from a groundwater source, spring or surface|
|Contains minerals and electrolytes|
There is no difference between distilled and purified water beside the process of purification.
We obtain distilled water by boiling, capturing the steam, and returning it to water, while purified water is the result of reverse osmosis filtration, ion exchange, sand filtration, or other methods. Distilled water requires more energy because of the boiling process, so we should pay attention to it from an environmental point of view.
Distilled Water is a Type of Purified Water
This is the main conclusion you should leave with from this guide. From its source until you drink it, water can go through a great number of purification, filtration, and sanitization processes. Distillation is one of such processes meant to clean the water of its sediment, impurities, toxins, or contaminants.
The first conclusion of our distilled water vs. purified water debate is that the process of distilling water is also one way to sanitize water, but there are many other manners to attain the same results, such as reverse osmosis or deionization.
The big difference between them is that distilling water requires lots of energy compared to purifying water. While distilled water is completely free of impurities, it also contains zero minerals, so it is not something you want to ingest. We should preserve it for laboratories and medical facilities.
On the other hand, we should all drink more water than we usually do, so water pitchers, water filters, and even filtered water bottles make comfortable and straightforward solutions to increase our water intake without using plastic bottles.
What is your thinking regarding distilled water vs. purified water? Have you ever drank distilled water? Are you by any chance using a particular type of water filter to ensure the purity, safety, and health of your daily water?