Distilled water is H2O in one of its purest forms. It’s your usual water but with the minerals and impurities removed. But what can you do with water this pure?
It’s not just for drinking. In fact, you’d be surprised at just how many interesting things you can do with it. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
What is Distilled Water?
How does water become distilled? The process almost mimics the natural water cycle, which involves water evaporating and becoming a gas, rising to form clouds, which then cool and condense to rain back down on us (1).
Distillation involves boiling it until steam rises. The vapor is then collected as it cools and condenses. During this process, the minerals and contaminants in the water are removed, leaving only pure water (2)
10 Uses of Distilled Water
Some of these insights might just blow your mind. They did ours!
1. Staying Hydrated
Our bodies need water to function (3). It helps regulate your temperature, lubricates joints, helps get rid of waste and aids your digestive system. The problem is, our bodies lose water through natural processes like sweating and urinating. It’s essential that we replace those lost fluids.
2. Sterile Medical Uses
Due to its purity, distilled water has many uses in hospitals and doctor’s practices.
- Medical instruments: Instruments used during surgeries need to be sterilized. The zero mineral content of distilled water means sterile instruments won’t have any spotting or residue left on them. It also won’t leave deposits on the equipment used to sterilize them.
- Scrubbing: It’s not only instruments that need to be sterile to prevent infection and cross-contamination. Surgeons need to make sure they scrub in and then rinse before surgery. Tap water can contain contaminants, so distilled water is a better choice to prevent bacteria from water getting on the skin when rinsing (4).
- Wounds: Distilled (or sterile) water is also used to clean wounds because of its purity. This helps prevent infection.
- Dentistry: Dentists also used distilled water, especially following a tooth extraction or root canal treatment. The water they rinse your mouth with will be sterile as well, washing away existing bacteria.
3. Laboratory Experiments
Accuracy and meticulousness are key in laboratory experiments. To ensure contaminants or minerals don’t taint results, many labs will use distilled water.
Being pure means it won’t react with other chemicals, and the results of any experiments will be accurate (5).
The pH level of distilled water is 7, which means it’s within a neutral range, not too acidic or alkaline (6). However, when it mixes with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the pH level is lowered to about 5.8, making it acidic (7). This can alter laboratory results, meaning it’s important to take distilled water from a sealed bottle.
4. Use in Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is a lifesaver for sufferers of sleep apnea. This disorder means people stop breathing regularly while asleep; they wake briefly as their breathing restarts (8). This can lead to very sleepless nights for them and their partners — snoring is very common for those with this disorder.
The CPAP machine takes air and pressurizes it so that when breathed through the attached mask, it keeps the airway open. Many also have a small water tank that adds moisture to the air. Using distilled water in these devices will help prevent bacteria from breeding, and the machine won’t have mineral deposit build-ups (9).
5. Helps Humidifiers Function Properly
Do you have a humidifier in your home? If so, are you using distilled water in it? If not, here are some reasons why you should.
Unfiltered tap water can have a higher content of minerals and other particles. These can build up in your machine, shortening its lifespan and preventing it from working properly.
Humidifiers can help prevent dry skin, which is great in winter when your heating dries the air in your home. They can also help those who suffer from sinus and allergy issues, as well as reduce snoring (10).
Additionally, the house plants and any wood in your home will appreciate the extra moisture from humidified air.
6. Automobile Care
The cooling system in your car works hard when it’s running. If there are minerals in the water used to top it up, then you could end up with corrosion and build-up in the system. Distilled water has no minerals, so it’s safe for use in your car.
Another part of your car that will sometimes need topping up is the battery, but regular tap water won’t cut it. The minerals it contains can harm the battery and prevent it from charging properly. Hydrate your battery using distilled water to prolong its life and keep your car starting (11).
This one is a bit left-field, but have you tried washing your car in distilled water? This could be particularly useful if you live in a hard water area. You take time and care to make sure your pride and joy is clean and shiny, but all you end up with are limescale marks. Distilled water could be the way to go for that final rinse for a smear and mark-free finish.
7. Canned Vegetables and Fruit
Are you a keen cook and enjoy canning produce for your family? It’s great to buy fruit and vegetables at their best when they’re in season and preserve them.
Using distilled water in the canning process will ensure your fruit and vegetables retain their vibrant color. Tap water, especially if it’s hard, could leave your goods looking cloudy (12).
It also helps to make sure their flavor isn’t altered. There are no salts and minerals for your food to soak up, which could change the taste.
8. Cosmetics Use
Almost all the cosmetic products we use contain water. Water is added to these as a solvent so the ingredients can transfer their benefits to your hair or skin. It also acts to form emulsions in lotions and creams, so they’re easily applied.
The water used needs to be free from pollutants, toxins, and microbes, making distilled water an excellent choice (13). Its purity means no bacteria or contaminants can harm you.
9. Something Fishy
The chemicals and minerals in tap water can be harmful to fish in an aquarium (14). Some of those fish can be darn expensive, so you want to look after them in the best way possible.
Distilled water is free from things like chlorine and other minerals, which can affect your tank. It also has no bacteria, which is another key to keeping your fish healthy.
Just be sure you check the pH levels of the water, so it’s suitable for your fish before you put them in. Also, as the water is pure, you need to add your fish’s favorite minerals, so it lives in a happy home (15).
10. Ironing out the Creases
More than likely most people’s least favorite household chore, ironing! Using a steam iron makes this task easier, but it can splatter marks all over your clean clothes. This could be because of limescale and other minerals in the tap water used.
Using distilled water will prevent build-up and corrosion inside your iron, which can get on your clothes. That being said, check your manufacturer’s instructions. Some recommend using a 50/50 mix of tap and distilled water (16).
Were You Surprised?
Now you know of some new uses for distilled water, you can try some in your own home. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are other uses, such as making crystal-clear ice cubes, pure water for baby foods and milk formula, and brewing beer.
Are there other things you use distilled water for? Leave us a comment and let us know, and please don’t forget to share this article.