Can Drinking Distilled Water Benefit Your Health?
You probably know that distilled water is good for aquariums, car batteries, and clothes irons.
But is it good for humans? Should we be putting it in our bodies?
In this post, we'll take a look at what distilled water is and whether drinking it can benefit our health.
Could it be a bad thing for us? We'll consider that, too.
You can jump to a specific question in the quick navigation below, or keep scrolling to read the whole article.
What exactly is distilled water?
In a nutshell, distilled water is made by boiling water and collecting the steam.
Remember learning about the water cycle in earth science class? That's basically what distillation is.
When you distill water, you evaporate it, condense the steam, and return it to liquid.
The thing is, when you boil the water, it leaves behind any contaminants that have a boiling point lower than 212°F. So, the liquid you collect at the end of the process is almost 100% pure water (more about that below).
What is the pH of distilled water?
When distilled properly, the pH will be 7, which is neutral.
However, once the distilled water makes contact with the air, it starts absorbing carbon dioxide until the concentration in the water and air are equal. This forms a weak acid in the water called carbonic acid.
So, by the time you drink it, the pH of the distilled water is actually about 5.8. That means it is somewhat acidic. (see What Is the pH of Distilled Water?)
The EPA recommends a pH of 6.5 to 8.5 for drinking water.
But note that this is a "secondary standard".
The EPA secondary standards are guidelines related to cosmetic or aesthetic effects. These standards are not enforceable, and public water suppliers are not required to follow them.
That means that low (or high) pH is not considered a health hazard, unlike contaminants such as lead, chlorine, and so forth.
Why is distilled water good for you?
It's good for you because it's pure water. In fact, distillation is one of the most effective ways to remove contaminants from water.
Biological contaminants like bacteria and viruses are destroyed when the water is boiled.
Most other contaminants like heavy metals and dissolved solids are left behind when the water evaporates.
There are some VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that make it through the process because their boiling point is higher than that of water.
That's why commercial distilled water machines include a charcoal filter to take out the last bit of impurity.
So, if you want to be sure that your drinking water is free from all pollutants, distilled water is a good way to go.
Does distilled water have fluoride?
No. Fluoride is one of the contaminants that gets left behind when water goes through the distillation process.
What does distilled water taste like?
Some people describe the taste of distilled water as bland or flat.
That's because we're used to tasting minerals, chlorine or other substances in our tap water. Distilled water is pure water with nothing in else in it.
If you don't care for the taste, you can add a little Himalayan pink salt or lemon juice to give it some flavor.
That will also give the water a little boost of beneficial minerals.
Is it ok for babies to drink distilled water?
Yes! Distilled water is a great choice for mixing infant formula because it doesn't have any impurities in it, including fluoride.
Can I make distilled water at home?
You can make distilled water at home by rigging up some kind of system for boiling water and trapping the steam. If you want to see some ways of doing that, just google it.
It's a lot easier to use a water distiller machine, though. You can get a decent one for as little as $200.
That might sound like a lot of money, but, in the long run, it's a huge cost saving over buying distilled water from the store.
Distilled vs purified vs filtered water - What's the difference?
Purified water is water that has been mechanically filtered or processed to remove impurities and make it suitable for use.
So, by that definition, distilled water and filtered water are both types of purified water.
Then what's the difference between distilled and filtered water?
When you filter water, the water passes through some type of filtration material - like activated charcoal, for example. Contaminants are blocked by the filter so what comes out is purified water.
Different types of filters block different types of contaminants, and most allow minerals to pass through. That's why you need to do some research if you're thinking about buying a water filter.
But with distillation, you're not blocking or removing contaminants. You're actually taking the water out and away from the impurities.
Is distilled water the same as spring water?
Spring water just means that it came from a spring in the ground. It might have been purified, but maybe not. You need to read the label to find out.
So, no - distilled water and spring water are not the same thing.
Can drinking distilled water be harmful?
Some people say that distilled water isn't good for you because there aren't any minerals in it.
Actually, we get most of our minerals from the food we eat, not the water we drink. If you eat a well-balanced diet, you don't need to worry about not getting enough minerals from your water.
And you can always add some minerals back to the distilled water if you're concerned about it.
There's also the issue of distilled water being slightly acidic. This could be a problem if you have a digestive issue and you're taking an acid-blocking medicine.
Otherwise, if you're healthy, you shouldn't have any problem with drinking distilled water. In fact, it can be an important part of your healthy lifestyle!