What is Distilled Water: Everything You Need to Know

by Jay | Updated on October 22nd, 2022

Distilled water is common in our homes and various stores across the globe. If you have been to a supermarket, you may have noted distilled water share shelf with spring water, sparkling water, and filtered water. At home, it competes with faucet water.

So, what is distilled water?

distilled water

Distilled water is steam from boiling water condensed to its liquid state. Distilling removes minerals (such as magnesium, sodium, and calcium) and impurities from the water. This process is different from filtration, which removes only microbes and not minerals.

water drop

Is distilled water safe for drinking?

Distilled water is safe for drinking. This is because all impurities like pesticides, bacteria, and other contaminants are removed during distillation; hence the condensed water is safe for drinking.


While it is safe to drink distilled water, you may not like the taste. The water tastes flat or bland because crucial minerals, metals, and inorganic compounds that give water taste have been stripped off. The good thing is that you can get those minerals from a well-balanced diet.


There are many places distilled water is beneficial. This water is suitable for use in

Medical instruments and processes

It is used in hospitals to disinfect equipment to avoid contamination and diseases. For example, to remove waste from the blood, kidney dialysis devices use ultra-pure water.

Tests in the lab

Nothing in distilled water interferes with or impairs the precision of laboratory studies.


Water is nearly always distilled if it is a component in your moisturizer, deodorant, or shampoo.


Distilled water will not corrode metal engine parts or interfere with batteries because it lacks minerals.

Home uses

You may want to use distilled water at home for cooking and a variety of other reasons, including:

  • If your baby has a weak immune system, use it with infant formula. Otherwise, tap water will suffice.
  • If you use a CPAP humidifier for sleep apnea, fill the water chamber. Many manufacturers recommend using distilled water to extend the life of the humidifier.
  • To clean your sinuses, combine them with a neti pot.
  • To help avoid scale formation in your clothes iron, use it.
  • You should shampoo your hair. Fluoride, chlorine, and other compounds in shower water can cause your hair to become dull.

Potential benefits of drinking distilled water

  • Prevention of some diseases: Drinking distilled water prevents the spread of waterborne diseases.
  • Cleanses the body: Although limited data support that distilled water cleanses our body, some people believe it can be cleansing for the body because it is pure.
  • Reduce the risk of consuming harmful chemicals: No chemicals are present in distilled water. As a result, you enjoy drinking without fear.

Things to consider before drinking distilled water

  • Taste: If you enjoy drinking water that has taste, you may not like distilled water.
  • The tap water quality: Is the faucet water safe for drinking? If not, then it is ok to drink distilled water.
  • Cost: If money is not a problem, have fun drinking distilled water.
  • Quality of minerals and vitamins in your diet: Eating healthy food can drink distilled water comfortably. A healthy diet supplies your body with all essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Availability of other drinking water: If distilled water is the only water within your reach, it is ok to drink.

Side effects of distilled water

  • Lack of electrolytes like sodium could result in electrolyte imbalance. If not taking food that adequately replaces minerals and vitamins not present in distilled water, avoid drinking it.
  • An increase in urine output could result in electrolyte imbalance
  • Muscle cramps, heart disease, weakness, and tiredness have been linked to low calcium and magnesium intake. If experiencing any of these conditions, it is safe not to drink distilled water.
  • Distilled water may not help you stay hydrated compared to other kinds of water.
  • It can result in a decrease in the body’s metabolic function.
  • A flat taste you are likely to find unappealing. However, this taste can reduce the rate of water consumption.

Is it possible for distilled water to go bad? How can I know if distilled water is tainted?

Technically, it is difficult to determine what constitutes “spoiled” or “poor” distilled water. If it’s water with contaminants, you can open the container and leave it open for a few hours.

However, the likelihood of dust, bacteria, or anything else getting inside the container is extremely high. And, no, just by looking at it, you won’t be able to tell if it contains any potential toxins.

Fortunately, the liquid doesn’t have to be used as distilled or purified water for home appliances. That water is still considerably “cleaner” than tap or bottled water, which will suffice for your needs.

Green algae will most likely grow in the container once you open it and store it for an extended period (months). If your storage methods aren’t up to par, the chances of this happening are substantially higher (more later).

If the algae have grown to the point where there is visible sediment in the bottle, it is time to replace it. The same thing applies if the water begins to stink. But, to be sure, pour some distilled water into a glass and take a nose. This way, you only smell the water and not the container.

In brief, if properly preserved, distilled water should be safe to consume and use in household appliances. However, as previously said, after a few days of opening the bottle or distilling the water, it may begin to “smell” little and not taste well. This is frequently due to a problem with the container rather than the water itself.

However, reject the water if the scent of the distilled water has changed dramatically or any pollutants have entered the container. It’s the same if it tastes bad. On the other hand, if it’s water for appliance use and looks and smells normal, go ahead and use it.

These are some of the reasons why distilled water becomes contaminated:

  • The minerals in the distilled water leach out of the metal container in which it is stored.
  • If left open, it absorbs carbon dioxide and gets polluted.
  • It contains few or no minerals.
  • It has a foul flavor because the air in the water evaporates during the boiling process.
  • The water has passed its expiration date.

Here are some indicators that distilled water is harmful:

  • Distilled water contains chlorine, which is extremely harmful to one’s health.
  • Because it absorbs carbon dioxide, distilled water is acidic.
  • The distilled water has no dissolved minerals. As a result, it absorbs hazardous compounds.

How long can distilled water be stored?

In a nutshell, it depends. As long as the container or jug remains unopened, it should last many years. If the label has an expiration date, that’s a good place to start. It is usually between 3 and 5 years from the date of manufacture. Of course, the water should be safe a few months beyond that date.

Bottled distilled water (unopened)5+ years
Bottled distilled water (opened for appliance use)1+ years
Bottled distilled water (opened for drinking)4 – 7 days
Home-distilled water4 – 7 days
periods above are estimates and for the best quality.

How to store distilled water?

Distilled water can last forever when stored well in an unopened bottle. However, be sure to close it well after use, as specific germs can thrive in nutrient-poor water. Also, remember to keep your distilled water away from the sun.

Distilled water is best stored in glass; therefore, if you use your container, make it glass. Unfortunately, plastic containers frequently leach a trace amount of chemicals into the water over time, which is less than ideal as you might expect.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) tanks and containers are a good alternative to “normal” plastic ones, and many distilled water companies utilize them. However, the container is more critical the longer you intend to store the distilled water.

So, if you’re looking for a long-term solution, opt for glass or HDPE containers. For short-term storage, a “regular” plastic bottle should suffice.

When it comes to preserving distilled water, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, for obvious reasons, always keeping the container sealed after opening is critical. Second, to prevent algae formation, keep the water in the dark spot. Third, stay away from warm places since bacteria thrive in warm environments. That’s all there is to it.

The fundamental storage recommendations for distilled water are similar to those for “plain” water. Keep the unopened bottle or container in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. Remember to keep the container well shut when not in use when you’ve opened it.


Drinking distilled water is not likely to intensely improve your health, but it is ok to drink it. If living in places where water is highly contaminated, drink it to avoid contracting waterborne diseases. If you eat a well-balanced diet and don’t mind the taste of water, it is fine to continue drinking distilled water.


Is distilled water required to be refrigerated after opening?

There is no reason to refrigerate distilled water; nothing in it would spoil, and you would delay the warming of the water if you use a heated humidifier.

Is distilled water safe to drink once it has been opened?

Unopened bottled distilled water from a retailer lasts indefinitely. However, keep it out of direct sunlight. And, once opened, make sure to seal it completely after usage. Certain microorganisms can survive in nutrient-depleted distilled water.

Is it possible for germs to grow in distilled water?

To begin with, bacteria do not develop in anything; rather, they grow. So, to begin a colony, you’ll need some bacteria. Bacteria are, of course, present everywhere (on Earth) and have a propensity to spread.

But let’s get back to your question. Is it possible for germs to grow in distilled water? In an ideal world, no. Distilled water is pure H2O devoid of the other ingredients required for the growth of living beings. But…..

Let’s have a look at the elements that are required. The four major elements are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen (CHON). These elements can be extracted from the atmosphere and distilled water. Sulfur and phosphorus are the next most abundant elements, followed by sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.

If you use glass distilled water, the presumption is that your bacteria will only come into contact with the glass. However, it is currently a potassium and sodium source. What about the remaining elements?

Some bacteria are particularly good at scavenging even the smallest amounts that may be seeping out of glass and fittings and air-borne dust. For example, if I recall properly, there is a strain of bacteria known for flourishing in glass-distilled water.

As a result, the pharmaceutical industry has had to go to tremendous lengths to make injectable water safe. After going through a series of filtering and distillation stages, the water is kept at near-boiling temperatures in storage to ensure that nothing grows. Because life always finds a way…

Is it possible for distilled water to kill viruses?

In nature, water is never pure. It usually has certain salts and minerals in the solution and germs and contaminants.

Most of these components, particularly salts and minerals, are derived from rocks and soils with which the water has come into contact. All of these contaminants render water worthless for some uses.

For human use, it must be cleaned of contaminants and bacteria, for example. However, for some other applications, salts and minerals can be hazardous.

At home, the water in our vapor iron should be devoid of calcium carbonate, which develops a film on the heating resistor and finally ruins it.

Distillation is the most basic process of purification, in which water is heated until it transforms into vapor. The vapor is then collected and condensed on a cool surface.

Because salts and other contaminants do not evaporate, they usually stay in the boiling solution. However, because there are chemicals with roughly the same boiling point as water and some liquid droplets can be transported by the vapor, distilled water is never completely pure.

Nonetheless, if necessary, distilled water can be 99.9% pure and can be distilled a second time. Distillation is an excellent method for eliminating heavy metals, radionuclides, and solid particles and killing germs and viruses.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."