by Duncan Kingori
Recently, I passed by a group of people, having a heated argument. On getting closer, I learnt the bone of contention was ‘distilled water’. A party subscribed to the idea that distilled water benefits the health and even brings along with it some healing properties while the other party believed it was one of the leading causes of death. In spite of which side you go with, it is an indisputable fact that distilled water is one of the purest and cleanest forms of water present today.
For some strange reason, there has been controversy over the topic: distilled water. This article would help you find the truth about distilled water.
What Is Distilled Water?
In simple words, distilled water is impure water which has been boiled to produce steam, which is then cooled and stored in a separate container. Through boiling of impure water, water vapour is produced; which is later trapped and cooled back in another container. Distilled water is produced based on the principle of boiling points. Impurities contained in the original water have boiling points below or above the boiling points of water. If any impurity is not below or near the boiling point of water, it remains in the boiling vessel.
This process successfully eliminates all forms of impurities, water contaminants and minerals; leaving you with completely clean water.
Distilled water vs. boiled water: What’s the difference?
Although boiling the water is a crucial step in the whole distillation process, the two phenomena should not be mistaken for one another and cannot be interchangeable due to the properties acquired during their two completely different processes.
Look at it from this angle: boiled water passes through just a single step. Put some cold water in the kettle, connect to a power source, and wait for the water to reach water’s natural boiling point- then you have boiled water. However, the process of getting distilled water involves more complicated steps and procedures compared to the process of obtaining boiled water. If you want to get some distilled water, you would need more than a kettle; get at least 2 clean containers and a connecting tube.
Again, as I said, the process these two kinds of water go through infer different chemical properties on them. As a form of pure water, distilled water has no impurities, microorganisms or heavy metal. Although it might take a couple of hours, the whole distillation process eliminates all forms of salts, viruses, bacteria, protozoa; leaving not even a shred of useful nutrients and minerals (such as calcium and magnesium). This is the reason distilled water is employed in industries during special experiments which require the absence of impurities.
On the other side of the coin, boiled water is more easily produced. Unlike distilled water which requires both expertise and time, a small child can produce boiled water in less than 15 minutes. However, undoubtedly, boiling water is an efficient means of purifying water while maintaining the essential nutrients and minerals present in the water. Perhaps, this accounts for its low industrial application. But, it can be used in emergency situations or in rural communities without access to the distillation apparatus. Drinking water which lacks disease-causing organisms and germs is the main goal- which is achieved when we boil water.
Again, the taste differs. Distilled water- which lacks all forms of minerals- has a bland taste. Whereas, boiled water has some taste due to the minerals left in it. Anyways, both distilled water and boiled water are truly pure. However, distilled water is purer than boiled water, as boiling water alone is not enough to kill certain microorganisms.
Deionized Water vs. Distilled Water: Are They The Same?
Again, the purity of these two kinds of water can’t be questioned. However, they are completely different due to their process of production. Due to the source of water, distilled water can be considered purer than deionized water; but not necessarily better.
Before jumping to conclusions as to which is better, you should understand their methods of production.
The whole process of deionization focuses specifically on ions. Most times, both organic and inorganic impurities are found in unclean water. Before deionization, the organics can typically be removed via physical filters, carbon filters, or reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. After this pre-treatment, the water is passed through a DI system; usually comprising of two types of resins: cation and anion.
The basic rule of thumb states that: positive attracts negative and negative attracts positive. And that’s exactly what happens here. The inorganic impurities become polar: that is- become positive and negative ends. Positive impurities are replaced with H+ ions (hydrogen ion) at the anion resin, while negative impurities are replaced with OH- (hydroxyl ion) at the cation resin. Together, the H+ and OH- form water. The combination of the filters and resins in the DI system can efficiently eliminate all forms of contaminants.
On the other hand, distilled water is filtered water which has been boiled to steam, then cooled in a separate container. Because water has a lower boiling point than most of the contaminants, most contaminants are left back in the container. Deionization process has nothing to do with the application of heat, while distillation does.
As previously stated, the whole distillation process does more than replace ions, it removes the major contaminants; making it purer. Distilled water, especially if it has been double or triple distilled is more suitable for laboratory projects than deionized water. In cases where relatively high purity of water is not necessary, deionized water would be a better alternative considering time management and cost-effectiveness.
One more thing. After obtaining purified water- regardless of how- ensure it is well stored. Healthy Human Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottles wouldn’t be a bad choice.
Distilled Water vs. Filtered Water
Any water intended for human consumption must be filtered. In the filtration process, water is made to pass through fine pores, a membrane or any other device so as to strain the water. Something that makes the filtration process stand out is the ability of the process to bring out solid contaminants. However, that doesn’t imply that chemical contaminants are left unattended to. The filtration is designed to neutralize all chemical contaminants.
Asides filtered water as a form of pure water, we have distilled water. The distillation process differs from the filtration process. The distillation process is more like: water forming clouds, and clouds changing back to its liquid state in the form of rain.
However, the major difference between filtered water and distilled one is the presence of minerals in filtered water, which results in taste; and its absence in distilled water resulting in its lack of taste.
Is Distilled Water the Same as Purified Water?
Very quickly, I want to clear the air. Many people confuse purified water for filtered water. However, that’s partly wrong. Although filtered water, of course, goes through filtration offered by physical barriers, pores, membranes or devices, purified water goes through a lot more than that- there are some additional processes. An example of these processes is the Reverse osmosis procedure.
Back to the topic: purified water and distilled water are two completely different terms. An interesting fact here is that distilled water is some form of purified water. Yeah, that’s right- a form of purified water which consumes tremendous amounts of energy. Imagine if you had to produce 10 litres of distilled water, you have got to boil every drop of the water in order to derive steam, which is later condensed in a separate container. And guess what- you are using energy all day long. Instead, since you are still going to get purified water anyway, use other purification techniques such as reverse osmosis or deionization to produce your clean water.
Does Distilled Water Have Fluoride?
As well as posing some health benefits, fluoride could cause some serious health challenges for you. Let me explain: although some countries support the addition of fluoride to community water during treatment in order to eradicate tooth decay; it has been recently proven that fluoride is a strong neurotoxin, which causes permanent disfiguration of one’s teeth as well as several other health issues.
So, would you rather keep it in your water or let it out? Of course, you’ve got to eliminate it from your water. And that’s what the distillation process does. One of the best ways to remove fluoride from your water is to invest in a water distiller. In fact, the distillation is so efficient that it is capable of removing just any chemical from water.
What’s the taste like?
Sometimes, people really don’t care about the pros or cons of drinking distilled water. Instead, what rings in their mind is what it tastes like? Here comes the answer: the taste is that of purity!
Call it bland or tasteless; the taste is that of purity. If you set out to drink only distilled water for the next two months, then, try out non-distilled water, you would spot the difference instantly. This is because your taste buds would automatically detect impurity in the non-distilled water.
The reason behind the lack of taste of distilled water is simple: unlike non-distilled water, distilled water has all its mineral, nutrients and elements removed, leaving no source of taste. Like we all learnt as kids, clean water is tasteless, odourless and colourless. That’s what you get from distilled water- attesting to its high level of purity.
Is distilled water safe to drink?
The answer is yes! Distilled water is as safe as ever. Your body needs water to perform optimally, but not just any water. It needs water free from bacteria, viruses, germs, and harmful chemicals and minerals. Guess what; distilled water offers all of these in a bottle.
Generally, the distilled water you may be able to find in grocery stores is made specifically for drinking purposes. However, the ones found in the lab are strictly for experimental purposes- do not drink them. The reason being that during its course of production, chances are other lab chemicals would have mixed with them. So it is better to play safe by avoiding lab distilled water.
Another situation that could lead to unsafe distilled water is contaminated equipment. If you would be getting a personal home water distiller, its maintenance should be at the back of your mind. Ensure that the collecting container is free from chemicals and is also perfectly clean.
Can Distilled Water Go Bad?
If properly stored, your distilled water could last for as long as forever. If you are worried about if the water in your steam iron could go bad and spoil your appliance, there’s no need to freak out. When left unopened, the water would last for some years, but would definitely go bad in the next one or two years if not changed.
When it comes to distilled water meant for drinking, storage is all that matters. If you would be making use of your home distiller, you might want to store some for emergency purposes. Notwithstanding, it might develop a stale smell after a week or two. That doesn’t mean it has necessarily gone bad, but you can always go for a fresh batch to be on the safer side.
What’s The Benefit of Drinking Distilled Water?
You have probably heard of some tea which flushes out toxins from your body. In reality, the best detoxifier is clean water. Waking up to a cup of distilled water could go a long way in ensuring you have a much more glowing skin.
Consumption of the purest water possible
If you want the cleanest water in your home: go for distilled water. The distillation process is efficient when it comes to eliminating harmful chemicals from the water. Such chemicals include chlorine and fluoride. Although both are used in producing community water, the adverse effects they produce could be disastrous.
Too much fluoride has been proven a cause of teeth related problems and chlorine has also been linked as a leading cause of cancer. This chlorine-cancer talk has been confirmed by researchers that confirm that even chlorinated pools may induce DNA damage that can cause cancer. Of course, it gets worse when one perpetually drinks chlorinated water.
Any Side Effects?
Unfortunately, alongside harmful nutrients and minerals, essential ones such as magnesium and calcium are eliminated. In order to catch up with the body’s requirement for these minerals make sure you have a varied and balanced diet which contains enough foods rich in magnesium, calcium and other minerals. If your diet is not balanced, you may benefit from supplementing. However, you shouldn’t worry too much about not getting enough essential minerals because you drink distilled water. We get most of our minerals through food, not through water.
Duncan Kingori has been in the writing profession for a decade now. He has great experience writing informative articles and his work has been appreciated and published in many popular publications. His education background in communication and public relations has given him a concrete base from which to approach different topics in various niches.