Can You Drink Distilled Water?

Is Distilled Water Safe?

Man drinking water bottle
Distilled water may be more pure than the original water, yet it may be lacking desirable minerals. skynesher / Getty Images

Distillation is one method of water purification. Is distilled water safe to drink or as good for you as other types of water? The answer depends on a few different factors.

In order to understand whether distilled water is safe or desirable to drink, let's take a look at how distilled water is made:

What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is any water that has been purified using distillation. There are multiple types of distillation, but all of them depend on separating components of a mixture based on their different boiling points.

In a nutshell, water is heated to its boiling point. Chemicals that boil off at a lower temperature are collected and discarded; substances that remain in a container after the water evaporates also are discarded. The water that is collected thus has a higher purity than the initial liquid.

Can You Drink Distilled Water?

Usually, the answer is yes, you can drink distilled water. If drinking water is purified using distillation, the resulting water is cleaner and more pure than before. The water is safe to drink. The disadvantage to drinking this water is that most of the natural minerals in the water are gone. Minerals are not volatile, so when the water boils off, they are left behind. If these minerals are desirable (e.g., calcium, magnesium, iron), the distilled water might be considered inferior to mineral water or spring water. On the other hand, if the initial water contained trace amounts of toxic organic compounds or heavy metals, you might want to drink distilled water rather than the source water.

Generally, distilled water that you would find at a grocery store was made from drinking water, so it is fine to drink. However, distilled water from other sources may not be safe to drink. For example, if you take nonpotable water from an industrial source and then distill it, the distilled water may still contain enough impurities that it remains unsafe for human consumption.

Another situation that could lead to impure distilled water results from using contaminated equipment. Contaminants could leach out of the glassware or tubing at any point of the distillation process, introducing unwanted chemicals. This is not a concern for commercial distillation of drinking water, but it could apply to home distillation (or moonshine distillation). Also, there may be unwanted chemicals in the container used to collect the water. Plastic monomers or leaching from glass are a concern for any form of bottled water.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Can You Drink Distilled Water?" ThoughtCo, Sep. 21, 2017, thoughtco.com/can-you-drink-distilled-water-609403. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, September 21). Can You Drink Distilled Water? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/can-you-drink-distilled-water-609403 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Can You Drink Distilled Water?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/can-you-drink-distilled-water-609403 (accessed November 23, 2017).