Distilled water

Bottle for Distilled water in the Real Farmacia in Madrid.

Distilled water is water that has many of its impurities removed through distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container.



Fresh water has been distilled from sea water since at least ca. 200 AD when the process was clearly described by Alexander of Aphrodisias.[1] Its history predates this, as a passage in Aristotle's Meteorologica (II.3, 358b16) refers to the distillation of water.[2]


In chemical and biological laboratories, as well as industry, cheaper alternatives such as deionized water are preferred over distilled water. However, if these alternatives are not sufficiently pure, distilled water is used. Where exceptionally high purity water is required, double distilled water is used.

Distilled water is also commonly used to top off lead acid batteries used in cars and trucks. The presence of other ions commonly found in tap water will cause a drastic reduction in an automobile's battery lifespan.

Distilled water is preferable to tap water for use in automotive cooling systems. The minerals and ions typically found in tap water can be corrosive to internal engine components, and can cause a more rapid depletion of the anti-corrosion additives found in most antifreeze formulations.[3]

Distilled water is also preferable to tap water for use in model steam engine boilers and model engines of other types.[citation needed] Mineral build-up resulting from the use of tap water in model boilers can severely reduce the efficiency of the boilers if run for long periods. This build-up is known as boiler scale.

Using distilled water in steam irons for pressing clothes can help reduce mineral build-up and make the iron last longer. However, many iron manufacturers say that distilled water is no longer necessary in their irons.[4]

Some people use distilled water for household aquariums because it lacks the chemicals found in tap water supplies. It is important to supplement distilled water when using it for fishkeeping; it is too pure to sustain proper chemistry to support an aquarium ecosystem.[5]

Distilled water is also an essential component for use in cigar humidors. Mineral build-up resulting from the use of tap water (including bottled water) will reduce the effectiveness of the humidor.

In addition, some home brewers, who are interested in brewing a Traditional European Pilsner, will dilute their hard water with distilled water so as to mimic the soft waters of Pilsen.[6]

Another application is to increase the density of the air to assist early airplane jet engines during takeoff in "hot and high" atmospheric conditions, as was used on the early Boeing 707.[7]

Distilled water is also used in Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines. These machines are used by people with sleep apnea to help breathing throughout sleep cycles. The water evaporates and is used to humidify the air going into the users mouth. Distilled water will not leave any contaminants behind when the humidifier in the CPAP machine evaporates the water.[citation needed]

Equipment to distill water

Up until World War Two, distilling sea water to fresh water was time consuming and expensive in fuel. The saying was: "It takes one gallon of fuel to make one gallon of fresh water." Shortly before the war, Dr. R.V. Kleinschmidt developed the compression still, that became known as the Kleinschmidt Still, for extracting fresh water from sea water or contaminated water. By compressing the steam produced by boiling water, 175 gallons of fresh water could be extracted from sea water for every gallon of fuel used. During World War Two this unit became standard on Allied ships and on trailer mounts for armies. This method was in widespread use for ships and portable water distilling units [8] during the latter half of the century. Modern vessels now use flash-type evaporators to boil sea water, heating the water to between 70-80°C and evaporating the water in a vacuum - this is then collected as condensation before being stored.

Solar stills can be relatively simple to design and build, with very cheap materials.[9]

Drinking distilled water

Bottled distilled water can usually be found in supermarkets or pharmacies, and home water distillers are available as well. Water purification, such as distillation, is especially important in regions where water resources or tap water is not suitable for ingesting without boiling or chemical treatment.

Municipal water supplies almost always contain trace components at levels, which are regulated to be safe for consumption.[10][11]. Some other components such as trace levels of aluminium may result from the treatment process (see Water purification). Some components, such as fluoride and other ions, are not removed through conventional water treatment[citation needed]; however, distillation can eliminate some of these impurities.[citation needed]

Distilled water is also used as drinking water in arid seaside areas which do not have sufficient freshwater, via desalination of seawater.[12]

Health concerns

The drinking of distilled water has been both advocated and discouraged for health reasons. The lack of naturally occurring minerals in distilled water has raised some concerns. The Journal of General Internal Medicine[13] published a study on the mineral contents of different waters available in the US. The study concluded:

Drinking water sources available to North Americans may contain high levels of Ca2+, Mg2+, and Na+ and may provide clinically important portions of the recommended dietary intake of these minerals. Physicians should encourage patients to check the mineral content of their drinking water, whether tap or bottled, and choose water most appropriate for their needs.

It is often observed that consumption of "hard" water, or water that has some minerals, is associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects. As noted in the American Journal of Epidemiology, consumption of hard drinking water is negatively correlated with atherosclerotic heart disease.[14] Since distilled water is free of minerals, it will not have these potential benefits.

Because distilled water lacks fluoride, the drinking of distilled water may increase the risk of tooth decay due to a lack of this element.[15] Of course fluoride can still be applied to the teeth alone with toothpaste and fluoride therapy[16] but topical application of fluoride will not help pre-eruptive developing teeth incorporate fluoride into the structure of the tooth making it more resistant to erosion.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Taylor, F. Sherwood (1945). "The Evolution of the Still". Annals of Science 5 (3): 186. doi:10.1080/00033794500201451. ISSN 0003-3790. 
  2. ^ Aristotle. "Meteorology – Book II" (PDF). The University of Adelaide. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/a/aristotle/meteorology/book2.html. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Steam Iron Buying Guide. Homeinstitute.com. Retrieved on 2011-01-31.
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ see, for example, John Palmer's discussion of bicarbonates at: http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html
  7. ^ Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake By John H. Brubaker, Jack Brubaker page 163
  8. ^ "Navy's Compression Still Makes Fresh Water Cheap", February 1946, Popular Science
  9. ^ Solar Distiller. Thefarm.org. Retrieved on 2011-01-31.
  10. ^ "Drinking Water Contaminants". water.epa.gov. 2011 [last update]. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ "EWG's Drinking Water Quality Analysis and Tap Water Database | Environmental Working Group". ewg.org. 2011 [last update]. http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/home. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ Kozisek, F (2005 [last update]). "Health risks from drinking demineralised water (application/pdf Object)". who.int. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutdemineralized.pdf. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ Azoulay, Arik; Garzon, Philippe; Eisenberg, Mark (2001). "Comparison of the Mineral Content of Tap Water and Bottled Waters". Journal of General Internal Medicine 16 (3): 168–175. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2001.04189.x. PMC 1495189. PMID 11318912. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1495189. 
  14. ^ Voors, A. W. (1971). "Mineral in the municipal water and atherosclerotic heart death". American Journal of Epidemiology 93 (4): 259–266. PMID 5550342. 
  15. ^ Bottled Water Cited as Contributing to Cavity Comeback at MedPage Today
  16. ^ Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States. Cdc.gov. Retrieved on 2011-01-31.
  17. ^ The American Dental Hygiene Association, Nutritional Factors in Tooth Development [3].

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • distilled water — distilled water. См. дистиллированная вода. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • distilled water — noun water that has been purified by distillation (Freq. 1) • Hypernyms: ↑water, ↑H2O * * * noun : water that has been freed of dissolved or suspended solids and from organisms by distillation (as for medical or chemical purposes) * * * water… …   Useful english dictionary

  • distilled water — distiliuotasis vanduo statusas T sritis radioelektronika atitikmenys: angl. distilled water vok. destilliertes Wasser, n rus. дистиллированная вода, f pranc. eau distillée, f …   Radioelektronikos terminų žodynas

  • distilled water — distiliuotas vanduo statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Distiliavimo būdu išgrynintas vanduo. atitikmenys: angl. distilled water rus. дистиллированная вода …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • distilled water — distiliuotas vanduo statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. distilled water vok. destilliertes Wasser, n rus. дистиллированная вода, f pranc. eau distillée, f …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • distilled water — distiliuotas vanduo statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Distiliavimo būdu (garinant vandenį ir kondensuojant jo garus) išvalytas vanduo. atitikmenys: angl. distilled water vok. destilliertes Wasser, n rus. дистиллированная вода …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • distilled water — water from which impurities, as dissolved salts and colloidal particles, have been removed by one or more processes of distillation; chemically pure water. [1495 1505] * * * …   Universalium

  • distilled water — water that has been purified by distillation …   Medical dictionary

  • distilled water — purified water, water from which mineral deposits and chemical agents have been removed …   English contemporary dictionary

  • distilled water — noun water, which has been purified by distillation …   Wiktionary

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