Article Last Updated: November 2023
Top 8 Distilled Water Dangers
Here are some of the biggest problems that people worry about when they think about drinking and using distilled water for every day activities:
1. Distilled Water Is ‘Empty’
Distilled water is empty of everything. Bacteria, particles, debris, contaminants, minerals, nutrients, everything. However, your body needs certain minerals like chloride, potassium and even magnesium.
This leads to some people to claim that drinking lots of distilled water that is empty of minerals is harmful. Harmful because it doesn’t provide your body with nutrients that it normally gets from mineral rich water. For instance, water filtered with reverse osmosis tends to filter out the bad things but leave behind the healthful nutrients.
2. Distilling Water Takes A Lot Of Time
This is by far one of the biggest issues with trying to drink distilled water everyday; it takes a lot of effort. You can easily DIY distilled water at home but it takes a lot of time when compared to other water filtration methods.
The processing time of the average mechanical water distiller will vary wildly depending on what make and model you have. However, one rough estimate is that water distillation takes around 7 hours. Thankfully, most modern water distiller machines automatically switches itself off once it’s finished.
However, if you don’t have 7 hours to spare then consider getting one of the more premium faster acting distillation machines. Or alternatively, check out other super fast water filter and purification methods.
3. Making Distilled Water Is Not Energy Efficient
7 hours? Imagine how much energy that must take? Now imagine how much that translates into costs in terms of things like electricity bills?
Solve this problem in one very easy way, buy a non-electric water distiller.
It is always possible to get an easy to install counter-top water filter that doesn’t use electricity or at the very least, energy-efficient.
4. Distilled Water Needs The Right Conditions
This is a big concern that you should consider when thinking about regularly drinking distilled water. The distillation process only works if you do it properly and make sure the water boils properly for the right amount of time.
This becomes even more of an issue if you do this at home by your self. Especially if you’re not very familiar with the process and maybe miss a step or don’t do it properly for whatever reason.
If you’re trying to distill water at home then you must make sure you do it correctly. And take particular care if you are working with water that has harmful chemicals and minerals.
If you don’t distill water at the right water boiling temperature then your distilled water might still contain trace elements of harmful contaminants. This includes substances like chlorine, herbicides, insecticides and VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals).
5. Water Distilling Equipment Is Expensive
If you prefer not to do a DIY water filter by yourself at home then you have to buy distilled water if you want to drink it regularly. If you take the latter option then expect the costs to add up.
This can be in the form of regularly buying water that is pre-distilled, which is not only the most expensive way to do it, it’s also the hardest hitting on the environment.
Another way to reduce these costs, environmental impact and inconvenience is to buy your very own home water distiller. This can be up to $900 but it means you don’t have to keep buying gallons of distilled water. Also, buying a non-electric distiller means that you save a ton of money on high electricity bills.
But at the end of the day all of this depends on your budget and how much you’re willing to pay for convenience and the purest form of drinking water.
6. Distilled Water Tastes Flat
Distilled water sometimes tastes “flat” because it is empty water. This is in the sense that there is nothing in the water. No bacteria, contaminants, minerals, nothing.
This is the main difference between distilled water and something like spring water or even carbon filtered water. Only distilled water has everything removed while the others retain natural healthy minerals.
Just remember that some of the better tasting water may also contain bacteria that causes water borne diseases, while there is no chance of this with distilled water.
7. Distilled Water Can Dissolve Other Materials
The boiling process that is part of the distillation method is long and intense. This means there could be dangers if you perform this in a container that is dissolvable (e.g. plastic).
The leaching of the materials into the distilled water may be the reason for weird tastes. This may also be the reason why distilled water that you buy commercially can sometimes taste off.
8. Distilled Water Is Not Natural?
This sentiment largely comes from water companies that sell and market their own brand of spring water. The idea is that spring water is natural because it comes directly from “natural sources”.
Meanwhile distilled water is unnatural because it’s something that has to go through a purification process.
If you ever try to DIY distilled water then you’ll know the process is fairly similar to what you would do in chemistry.
However, this doesn’t really make it unnatural unless you have a serious need to only consume water that comes direct from the spring.
Top 10 Distilled Water Benefits
Despite all the possible dangers, distilled water is very popular and widely used because it has some amazing benefits:
1. Distilled Water Is Better Than Tap Water
There was a study conducted by Texas A&M, which found that nitrite pollution can cause birth defects. They found that nitrite pollution in tap water can be responsible for babies being born with things like missing limbs or a cleft palate.
But the good news is that any water that passes the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standard is only able to pass if it doesn’t have this pollutant.
Another danger is something that is published by the University of Rochester Medical Center. In 2007, a paper from this institution found copper in tap water, which might also increase the risk of a person getting Alzheimer’s Disease.
These 2 examples are just a few that show just some of the things that may appear in your tap water. There may even be many other things present in your tap water that we don’t yet know about.
There are lots of evidence showing that although tap water is generally safe to drink it may also harbour some health risks. It is also the reason why distilled water gives you some health benefits. This is because distilled water is completely clean and devoid of any harmful bacteria and contaminants.
2. No Chemicals Needed To Purify Distilled Water
Creating distilled water is one of the most natural forms of water purification and filtration. It’s something that you can do by yourself at home since it’s based on simply boiling water.
Distillation is also something that happens in nature like the water cycle, which is also known as the hydrological cycle. This process affects almost everything in the atmosphere because a major part of the world’s atmosphere is made up of water.
The basic way to process distillation is to boil the water and extract all the clean liquids. Simple. And this simple process is capable of removing all forms of bacteria and contamination.
You don’t need fancy filters or chemicals. It is so simple and natural that you can make it yourself as a DIY water filter at home.
3. Distilled Water Is The Purest Type of Water
Distilled water is considered to be among the purest forms of water you can access. This is why it is the water of choice for industries such as factories, laboratories, perfumery, food processing factories and even the medical industry.
This means that if you’re worried about contaminated water then this is your water of choice.
It’s also ideal if the purity of your water is very important to you for health reasons. For instance, if someone is very sick or suffering from a weak immune system.
New parents caring for a new born baby may also consider distilled water when nursing their child.
4. Distilled Water Safely Removes Contaminants
Tap water is sometimes processed with the addition of fluoride. This is usually after it has been treated with chlorine, which is usually used to keep swimming pool bacteria-free. This is the most common way that most municipalities treat water sent to homes.
It is for this reason that the water that comes out of your tap faucet may contain added minerals and chemicals. You may not want to consume these added “extras” for a variety of reasons. Especially as some of these extra chemicals can cause harm if consumed in very large quantities.
You can potentially prevent this altogether by distilling your water.
Doing this removes all impurities like pesticides and heavy metals from your water.
5. Distilled Water Prevents Waterborne Illnesses
It is unfortunately very easy for water to become contaminated with different forms of bacteria and parasites.
This is especially true if the water is left out, which means it can come in contact with anything.
Exclusively drinking distilled water is a very effective way of avoiding any contact with disease.
Here is a curated post that lists some of the best water distillers online.
6. Distilled Water Is Good For A Body Cleanse
This means that it’s the perfect water of choice if you’re going on a cleanse.
Even if the “remove toxins from your body” claim is a bit far fetched, at the very least it wont add anything to your body.
Distilled water is empty of everything so will not add anything (other than hydration) to your body.
7. Distilled Water Has No Inorganic Minerals
There is a misconception that distilled water removes harmful minerals from your body. However, most of the minerals that your body needs comes from food. And most of the minerals you consume are actually good for you. So it is highly unlikely that you would want to consume something that will remove minerals from your body.
However, there are some types of inorganic minerals that appear in your tap water. These mineral deposits, although not harmful are minerals you don’t want to consume. For instance, hard water contains high levels of magnesium and calcium.
While these minerals are not harmful there are other types of minerals that are. Such minerals can cause harm to your body if you consume them in high enough quantities. Think minerals like nitrite and barium….
8. Distilled Water Can Be Cost Effective
Buying a 500ml bottle of water can cost around $1 depending on where you shop. However, a gallon of distilled water typically costs $.89 to $1.29 each. This price is even cheaper when you buy and own a distilled water machine.
With a distilled water machine, the price per gallon can go all the way down to $.09. Of course, these numbers also depend on things like your electricity costs.
However, one clever way to bring the costs down even further is to use a non-electric counter-top distiller. Both of which are available from places like amazon.
9. Distilled Water Vs Spring Water
When it comes to buying bottled water there is a huge war going on between the best type of water: distilled vs. spring water? By and large, it is true that people are often persuaded to buy spring water because of the marketing. Spring water is often marketed as water coming from mountains with running springs through them. However, this isn’t always the case.
Spring water doesn’t always come from the spring.
And even if it does, natural spring water (that has not been filtered) is not as pure as you might think. For instance, a research study conducted by the Natural Resources Defence Council shows that spring water contains contaminants. This includes things like phthalates, arsenic and coliform – all of which can be very harmful to health.
There are also many unreputable companies that use the “spring water” name but instead sell consumers unprocessed tap water. What’s more confusing is that different brands of spring water have different standards of filtration and purity.
Distilled water, on the other hand, that is available on the commercial market has to undergo a stringent process of distillation before they can be marketed. This means that each bottle promoted as being distilled is in fact very pure.
10. Distilled Water Has Many Uses
Aside from the things mentioned in the list above, there are many distilled water uses. For instance, distilled water is frequently used in the medical profession, laboratories, gardening, watering plants and even for mechanical devices like cars.
This is mainly because distilled water has a very high level of purity.
You can use distilled water to make perfumes, dress a wound, perform first aid, use it for your aquariums, to wash your car or for cooling systems in your automotive vehicle.
If it’s good enough and clean enough to be used in a lab then it’s good enough for drinking, cooking, using for hot beverages and yes, why not, even laundry. If you’re worried about the cleanliness or hardness of your water then using distilled water can help.
Distilled Water Benefits – Conclusion
Distilled water benefits? Well by far the biggest benefit is the guarantee of the highest quality of pure and clean water.
Anything that is sold as distilled water has to go through very serious purification processes before it can be labeled as such. However, this is not the case for the average bottle water that is sold today.
For instance, do you know that it is estimated that around 40% of bottled water companies use tap water? This is despite what ever type of fancy words they use in their marketing. Words like “mineral”, “spring”, “natural” don’t mean anything as they are not legally binding. Nor do they have any external organization to hold them to account for these claims.
Distilled water is also a far safer bet than tap water. I have previously written a 2500+ word article on why tap water is not safe to drink. However, to save you reading all this here is the gist from an EPA research:
There are about 20 billion tons of pollutants (things like radioactive waste and chemicals) released to the environment every single year. With this much waste going around, it’s inevitable that some of this will end up in the water supply.
One side effect of this is that there could be all types of undiscovered harmful contaminants beyond the 700 that the EPA is actively monitoring.
So, the real question is how much is clean water and good health worth to you?
Hegarty CP, Rahn O. Growth Retardation by Freshly Distilled Water. Journal of Bacteriology. 1934;28(1):21-30.
Popkin, Barry M., Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg. “Water, Hydration and Health.” Nutrition reviews 68.8 (2010): 439–458. PMC. Web. 24 Dec. 2017.
Measurement of pH of distilled water Hubert L. Youmans J. Chem. Educ., 1972, 49 (6), p 429DOI: 10.1021/ed049p429Publication Date: June 1972
NAS (National Academy of Sciences) 1980 National Research Council: drinking water and health vol 2 (National Academy Press, Washington, DC)
Stoddard L, J Abiecunas and R O’Connell 2006 Economic, Energy, and Environmental Benefits of Concentrating Solar Power April
Gregory, J Cryptosporidium in Water: Treatment and Monitoring Methods (Filtration & Separation)