Distilled Water vs. Demineralized Water – Is There a Difference?

Although both distilled water and demineralized water appear very similar, there are fundamental differences between the two. They are made using different processes and the end result is somewhat different too.

Here’s a look at the difference between distilled and demineralized water.

What is Distilled Water?

Distillation works by heating water to vaporize it and then collecting the vapor and allowing it to condense. As the water goes through this process, it loses its contaminants resulting in pure, safe drinking water. Distilled water is among the purest types of water, free of chemicals, minerals, salts and pathogens.

What is Demineralized Water?

Demineralized water is what it sounds like – water without the naturally-occurring minerals that it typically has. There are a few ways to demineralize water, but the most common methods are Reverse Osmosis and Ion Exchange. Freshly demineralized water has a neutral pH of 7 but when left to interact with air, it becomes slightly acidic due to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and drops in pH to around 6.

For water to be considered demineralized, it should have a PPM (parts per million) of 1-10 mg/L. By contrast, mineral or spring water have PPMs of between 50-300 mg/L.

Distilled Water vs. Demineralized Water

There are many differences between these two types of water, even though they’re sometimes used interchangeably.

  • Distilled water is heated, and its state changed from water to vapor to condensation. Demineralized water is typically filtered through various mediums to achieve its state.
  • Distilled water is a type of demineralized water in that it doesn’t have minerals but demineralized water isn’t a type of distilled water.
  • Distilling water is an effective way to get rid of almost all the contaminants in water, including microorganisms. Demineralizing doesn’t generally remove biological contaminants and may still have a variety of contaminants. It targets the minerals in the water, like calcium and magnesium.

However, there are also several similarities between the two:

  • Both these types of water have a flat taste and are generally considered unpalatable. Hard water that contains minerals typically has a fresh, crisp taste which most people tend to like.
  • Both distilled and demineralized water have a slick feel to it and has a noticeably positive impact on hair and skin.
  • Because both types of water contain no nutrients, they are essentially dead waters sans minerals. The naturally occurring minerals in water are good for us and contribute to our daily mineral intake (albeit on a very small scale). If distilled or demineralized water is what you normally drink, eating a balanced diet can make up for the lost nutrients.
  • Both these types of water have a range of uses including medical applications, use in vehicle batteries and steam irons, humidifiers, aquariums and fire extinguishers, to name a few. This is because they don’t tend to clog up things or leave behind mineral residue. For applications where pure water is essential, both distilled and demineralized water are ideal.

Why Distil or Demineralize Water?

As mentioned in the last point, the main reason for distilling or demineralizing water is for use in applications that require pure, contaminant free water.

But what about for use at home and for drinking?

Demineralizing your water will rid your home of the negative impacts of hard water on your home and body, which we’ve discussed in detail in this article.

However, because most people don’t like the taste of demineralized water, consider bypassing the water softener with a separate line for drinking and cooking. You can use a filtration system to clean the water without removing its minerals.

This brings us to the question:

Is distilling water an effective way to demineralize it?

The answer is no. Distillation takes too much energy and time to make it an effective whole-house solution. If you want demineralized drinking water, you can purchase a water distiller for your kitchen. 

Distilled and Demineralized Water vs. Softened Water

Softening water is another way to remove the minerals in it. Like distilled and demineralized water, softened water also goes through a machine resulting in mineral-free water.

The difference is in the process.

Softened water is created by exchanging the ions of the minerals with sodium ions. This introduces salt into the water, which in itself becomes a contaminant that most people want to remove.

Softened water isn’t recommended for people with certain types of health conditions, like high blood pressure, due to its higher sodium content.

The Bottom Line

As our discussion indicates, there’s a range of differences between demineralized and distilled water. The most important take away is that distilled water is a type of demineralized water, but apart from this, they differ in how they’re made and the contaminants they remove.

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