Distilled vs Purified Water – All the Important Differences
A steady and clean intake of water is essential for our health as water is something every cell in our bodies requires to function and the cleaner the water, the more effective it can be. This is why water filters and softeners have become so prevalent in recent years, as consumers become more aware of the bacteria, parasites, chemical pollutants and traces of metal found commonly in tap water.
Of course, all tap water in the UK has gone through a purification process but treatment methods vary wildly and the result is that trace contaminants remain in most glasses of UK tap water. In-home water filters put the water through another level of purification that can remove these trace contaminants.
This is incredibly important, as impure water can contain chemicals and bacteria linked to everything from upset stomachs to cancer. The removal of metallic substances from the water will also improve the taste. However, in the world of water filtration, two terms are often confused – purification and distillation.
While the uninitiated might assume they amount to the same thing, there are actually several important differences between distilled and purified water that should be taken into account if you value the quality of your H2O.
When water has been purified, it has been filtered specifically to remove impurities. This is typically done by filtering the water or through chemical processes, which use chlorination or ultraviolet light to remove impurities. In the case of chlorination, this is generally how water is purified at treatment plants but traces of chlorine can find their way into our tap water.
Filtration is the most common and cost-effective method of purification in the home and can be achieved either through an off-the-shelf water filter or a more advanced drinking water filter that uses salt blocks to remove impurities.
The distillation process is essentially another form of purification that involves boiling water and then collecting the steam, which turns back to water when cooled. The resulting water should technically be completely free of impurities and it’s for this reason that distilled water is used most often in laboratory environments and in professional aquariums. The process eradicates viruses and bacteria, as well as chemicals like lead and even certain protozoa.
It’s the purest and cleanest water you will ever find and that’s why it’s used heavily for industrial purposes. It is, however, not the best for drinking water as the distillation process doesn’t just get rid of the bacteria but the minerals too. This means magnesium, calcium and the electrolytes that keep us refreshed are removed alongside the harmful contaminants.
Distilled or purified?
The key takeaway here? Distilled water is simply a form of purified water that’s better suited to industrial application than for drinking water. There are health benefits to both but distilling water is, in all honesty, a bit more effort than it’s worth. That is, however, unless you’re going to be using it for watering plants, in-car cooling systems or if you are immunocompromised and absolutely require 100% bacteria-free drinking water.
Either way, with a good water filter installed, you’ll never need to resort to buying bottled spring water again.