Water distiller Guide

Written by William Fryer - MA Oxon

Everything you need to know about water distillers and distilled water 

This article is designed to cover everything you need to know about drinking distilled water. Let’s kick off with the first question everyone asks.

Why drink distilled water? 

Distilled water is water that has been purified through the process of distillation, which involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam to remove impurities.  

Reasons why some people choose to drink distilled water: 

  • It is free of impurities: Distillation removes impurities such as chemicals, and contaminants that may be present in tap water and bottled water. Tap water typically has a large number of contaminants, everything from dissolved solids like limescale to organic compounds like herbicides, fuels and even medications and illegal drugs. Bottled water is not much better – any bottled water that comes in a plastic bottle contains microplastics that your body is unable to excrete. The only way to know what you put into your body is to use a water distiller to create your own distilled drinking water.
  • Medical reasons: Distilled water is often recommended for specific medical procedures or conditions that require strict control of mineral intake. For example, in specific laboratory tests, medical procedures, or when preparing baby formula, distilled water may be preferred to minimise potential interactions with minerals or other substances. 
  • CPAP machines: These machines are used for sleep apnoea treatment. 
  • Tropical plants: Tropical plants are sensitive to water quality and hardness. Distilling water removes the impurities mentioned above, leaving you with pure H20. Using distilled water for tropical plants ensures you know exactly what you are giving them and not giving them.
  • Home appliances: Distilled water is often used in appliances like steam irons, humidifiers and car batteries, it can help prevent mineral buildup and extend the lifespan of the devices. The absence of minerals in distilled water reduces the likelihood of scale deposits or clogs. 
  • Pure water: Some individuals prefer distilled water because they believe it provides a cleaner and purer form of hydration. Your body is 70-80% water. You need to drink 1.5-2 litres of water every day. And just as a healthy diet is an important way to avoid illness and live a long, healthy life, so too is drinking healthy water. Water distillers provide water purity superior to any other method, in fact, water distillation is THE ONLY method for producing absolutely pure water. Water distillers are better than water filters, reverse osmosis and any other method, all other methods allow some level of contamination.  

Is distilled water safe to drink? 

The answer is yes, distilled water is safe to drink. Distilled water is created through a process of boiling water and then collecting the condensed steam, which removes impurities and minerals present in the original water source. Distilled water is the purest water you can get. 

There are differing opinions on drinking distilled water. Some concerns raised about drinking exclusively distilled water include: 

  • Lack of minerals: Distillation removes minerals naturally present in water, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. While these minerals are typically obtained through a balanced diet, some argue that drinking distilled water may contribute to a potential mineral deficiency over time.
  • Altered taste: Distilled water has a different taste compared to tap water or water with natural mineral content. Some individuals find the taste of distilled water to be flat or less appealing. To us, it tastes similar to cold, boiled water.
  • Electrolyte balance: Distilled water does not contain electrolytes, which are essential for maintaining proper bodily function. These can be obtained from a healthy diet or by adding salts to your distilled water. 

What are the benefits of drinking distilled water? 

The foremost benefit is you are not ingesting toxic chemicals. Other benefits include:  

1. Distilled water is good for your teeth 

Water distillers remove fluoride from your water. Fluoride was originally added to local water supplies to help strengthen teeth, however, too much exposure leads to fluorosis, which leaves a brown staining effect on young teeth. By distilling your water you can protect your children’s teeth. Most toothpaste contains fluoride and the good thing about that is you apply it where it is needed (to your teeth) if you drink fluoridated water, you are taking it into your whole body system, which you do not need. There is also an ethical issue because some people view this as the Government medicating people through the water supply. 

2. Distilled water is cheaper and more convenient than bottled water 

We do get a lot of people asking us how much a distiller costs to run. It costs about 96p for four litres of electricity. MUCH CHEAPER than bottled water and in fact MUCH CHEAPER than buying water filters. Bottled water is also enormously polluting. Take a look at this article in which we reveal the facts about bottled water – be warned, you will never want to buy bottled water ever again. 

3. Drinking distilled water Improves body function 

Tap and bottled water contain dissolved solids including sodium and calcium ions which contribute to arteries hardening and blood vessels calcifying. This can also lead to damage to the many small and delicate arteries, veins and capillaries in your brain leading to vascular dementia – a common form of dementia. The same chemicals also contribute to kidney stones and other kidney problems. Researchers found a 50% increase in urinary calcium associated with people drinking hard water compared to soft water. 

What does a water distiller remove? 

A water distiller is a device used to purify water by removing impurities through the process of distillation. It removes:  

  • Bacteria and Viruses: Distillation can kill or remove many types of bacteria and viruses present in the water due to the high temperatures involved in the process.
  • Heavy Metals: Distillation can remove heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminium, cadmium, and others that may be present in the water.
  • Dissolved Gases: Distillation can effectively remove dissolved gases, such as chlorine, fluorine, and volatile organic compounds, which can affect the taste and odour of water.
  • Organic Compounds: Distillation can eliminate certain organic compounds, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, and some industrial chemicals that may contaminate the water.
  • Minerals and Salts: Distillation effectively removes minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium and various salts that may be present in the water. 

The full list of contaminants can be found here.

The Drinking Water Directive sets quality standards for drinking water and requires drinking water quality to be monitored and reported. If water surpasses the recommended limits for contaminants, it poses health risks and necessitates appropriate treatment. The standards can be found here: https://www.dwi.gov.uk/drinking-water-standards-and-regulations/   

Water distillation offers a method to obtain clean drinking water without altering its chemical makeup. Nevertheless, distillation is not used in the treatment of water in the UK due to the fact that water devoid of minerals can become more soluble and absorb metals and other substances from ageing pipes.  

Is distilled water acidic?  

Some people talk about acidity in distilled water. The theory is that because distilled water is very mildly acidic it can leach minerals from the body. There is also a competing theory that the acidity of distilled water makes the body ultimately more alkaline. And there are many advocates of drinking alkaline water. Anyway, let’s now examine the scientific basis for this. 

Distilled water at the time of distillation is considered neutral, meaning it has a pH value of 7. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, where values below 7 are acidic, 7 is neutral, and values above 7 are alkaline.  

Distilled water is produced by a process of distillation, which involves boiling water and collecting the vapour that condenses. This process removes impurities and minerals, resulting in water that is devoid of any significant acid or alkaline content.  

However, over time, when exposed to the air, distilled water can absorb carbon dioxide, to make a very small amount of carbonic acid, much less than you would get with a carbonated drink, which can slightly lower its pH (to pH6) and make it slightly acidic.  

That is about the same as most fish meat, asparagus, butter, olives, or curry. With the pH scale lower is more acidic and it is also logarithmic. What that means is that pH6 is 10x more acidic than pH7, pH5 is 100x more acidic than pH7, pH4 is 1000x more acidic than pH7, etc. Something really acidic like Coca-Cola (and most fizzy drinks) is pH 2.5. Your stomach acid is pH 1.5 to 3.5. The acidity of a car battery is about pH0.7 - 1.0. You can see, yes distilled water is technically acidic, but not very much.  

Now what happens in your gut? 

When you consume anything, it triggers the release of hydrochloric acid into your stomach. One of the functions of this acid is to eliminate any harmful microorganisms present in the food. Moving on from the stomach, the food reaches the duodenum, where a significant amount of bicarbonate is released to neutralise the pH. As the food continues through the intestines, it gets absorbed into your body. 

Maintaining the pH of your blood within the range of 7.35 to 7.45 is crucial for your body's optimal functioning. If the pH deviates from this range, your enzymes start to lose their structure, and immediate medical attention, usually via ambulance to the hospital, is required. Even a slight deviation, such as a pH of 7.25, can cause severe illness. However, it's important to note that your blood would need to be highly acidic, below pH 6, to begin dissolving minerals, and reaching such acidity would lead to fatality long before that occurs. Additionally, minerals are stored in bones as a complex organic compound called hydroxyapatite, which consists of Vitamin D and Calcium. The release of Calcium from the bones requires the action of enzymes, not acid. 

Although the concept of acidic water may sound concerning, it does not pose any harm to you. If it did, rainwater and most foods would also be harmful. Drinking distilled water is safe and harmless. However, if you have any concerns about its mildly acidic nature, you can always add a small amount of Sodium Bicarbonate to rebalance the pH. 

Is your body deprived of essential minerals when you consume distilled water? 

There is a debate among individuals regarding whether drinking distilled water, which has had all its minerals removed, results in a deficiency of vital minerals in the body. However, it's important to consider that humans have evolved in environments like jungles, where the primary source of water is distilled water in the form of rain. Consequently, our evolutionary adaptation has led us to obtain minerals primarily from food rather than water. The notion that water serves as a significant mineral source lacks scientific support.

To illustrate this point, let's examine a table that outlines the mineral content in Evian, a reputable mineral water brand, the daily mineral requirements for the body, and the volume of Evian one would need to consume to meet those requirements. 

MineralQuantity in 1L of EvianDaily RequirementDaily Volume of Evian Needed
Calcium76mg/L700mg9 litres
Potassium1.1mg/L3500mg3182 litres
Magnesium25mg/L270mg11 litres

882 litres

To obtain enough Sodium from Evian, you would need to drink 882 litres per day. However, consuming such an excessive amount of water would overwhelm your system and potentially lead to harm before any benefits could be obtained. The reality is that we primarily acquire vitamins and minerals from our diet. 

Moreover, it is easy to assume that any substance labelled as a "mineral" must be beneficial and necessary for our well-being. Let's take Sodium, for example. While our bodies do require Sodium, the truth is that most individuals already consume an excessive amount of Sodium due to the high salt content in our diets. In fact, the aforementioned table indicates a daily requirement of 6g. However, the majority of people in the UK consume more than 8g of salt per day, contributing to the high prevalence of conditions like high blood pressure, which in turn leads to strokes, coronary heart disease, vascular dementia, and chronic kidney disease—58% of individuals over the age of 65 are affected. Biologically, we only require 1g of salt per day, but the government established a target of 6g, as they believed 1g would be unattainable. Thus, the name "mineral" alone does not imply that we need to maximise our intake. 

It's crucial to note that all types of water, even the finest mineral waters, are not reliable sources of minerals. Furthermore, some minerals provided by these waters are already consumed in excess. If you desire to obtain minerals, it is recommended to incorporate fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dairy products into your diet. Additionally, since our bodies have evolved to obtain vitamins and minerals from food sources, the bioavailability of these nutrients is higher when obtained from food compared to water sources.

Do you need to remineralise your distilled water? 

The topic of whether or not to add minerals to water remains a subject of ongoing debate. While some individuals choose not to do so, there are others who believe in the benefits of supplementing their water with minerals. Our perspective is that obtaining essential vitamins and minerals primarily comes from a well-balanced diet. Nonetheless, for those seeking enhanced flavour and the inclusion of trace elements, we have developed two mineral supplements exclusively tailored for distilled water. Our first offering, Formula 56, is suitable for everyday drinking water, while Formula 78 is specifically formulated for sports drinks. 

What’s the difference between Organic and Inorganic minerals? 

This is a widely discussed topic, particularly on the internet, where people often compare organic and inorganic minerals. Let me explain this debate in simple terms. Organic chemistry deals with carbon-based compounds, and all biochemistry falls under this category. As carbon-based life forms, most of the structures in our bodies consist of carbon-based molecules. On the other hand, inorganic chemistry pertains to non-carbon compounds. 

Minerals are typically inorganic. Examples of inorganic minerals include Sodium Chloride (salt) and Calcium Carbonate (limescale). However, there exists a category of chemicals known as organic minerals, such as carpathite, amber, oxammite, and calclacite. These organic minerals are not utilised by the body. 

The only organic mineral that plays a role in human biology is urea, which is formed during protein breakdown and excreted by the body. Some people refer to compounds like Methionine and Cysteine as "organic minerals," but they are actually amino acids, which serve as the building blocks of proteins. While they are beneficial to the body, they are not classified as "organic minerals." 

The human body primarily relies on five major minerals: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. All the other elements present in the human body are considered "trace elements." Some trace elements, like sulphur, iron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, and selenium, have specific biochemical functions. 

Typically, mineral ions like Sodium react with inorganic acids to form salts, such as Sodium Chloride. A pure bar of Sodium cannot be digested by the body, but when it is in compound form, like Sodium Chloride, it can be absorbed. Our body takes in Sodium Chloride (commonly known as salt) and breaks it down to utilise its individual components. However, there is another category of minerals known as "chelated minerals," where the mineral ion, such as Zinc, is bound to an organic acid. 

In my search through the 20 million articles on Medline, I found 23 articles mentioning "organic minerals." In these cases, "organic minerals" refer to those in which the active mineral, like Zinc, has been chelated with an organic acid, such as Zn (2-hydroxy-4-methylthio butanoic acid)2, instead of being supplied in an inorganic form like Zinc Sulphate. Limited evidence (not involving humans) suggests that this type of "organic mineral" may have certain benefits. 

Some observed benefits include improved oviduct morphology and stronger shells in chickens, enhanced mineral digestibility in pigs, and increased bioavailability of Zinc in calves. Therefore, there is limited evidence to suggest that this type of organic mineral (some of which are available as "chelated minerals" for humans) might have limited beneficial effects based on animal testing. The notion that combining minerals like Zinc or Iron with organic acids increases their bioavailability aligns with the fact that we obtain minerals from food. However, further research is needed in this area before drawing conclusions. 

Is bottled water distilled? 

Most bottled water on the market is not distilled. Bottled water can come from various sources, such as natural springs, wells, or municipal water supplies, and it may undergo different treatments or filtration processes before being bottled. 

Can distilled water go off? 

Distilled water, when stored properly, does not go bad in the sense of becoming unsafe to consume. However, despite its long shelf life, distilled water can still be affected by external factors over time.  

For example, if the water is stored in an open container, it can be contaminated by airborne microorganisms or dust particles. Additionally, if the container is not sealed properly or if it is stored in an area with extreme temperature changes, the water may become susceptible to chemical leaching from the container or absorb impurities from the surroundings.

How to store distilled water? 

To ensure the longevity and purity of distilled water, it is recommended to store it in a clean, sealed container made of food-grade materials. Keep it away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. If stored correctly, distilled water can be used for an extended period without any significant changes in its quality or safety. However, if you notice any unusual odour, taste, or visible changes, it is advisable to discard the water. 

  • Distilled water in an open container outside the fridge should be kept no longer than 24 hours. 
  • Distilled water in the jug, in the fridge should be consumed within 3-4 days. 
  • Distilled water in a sealed bottle can be stored in the fridge for a week or two. 

What are the signs of bad distilled water?  

There are several signs that can indicate the quality of distilled water. Here are some common signs of bad distilled water: 

  • Odour: Distilled water should be odourless. If you notice a strange or unpleasant odour, it may indicate contamination or impurities.
  • Taste: Distilled water should have a neutral taste. If you detect any unusual or unpleasant taste, it could be a sign of impurities or improper distillation.
  • Cloudiness: Distilled water should be clear and transparent. If you notice cloudiness or any visible particles in the water, it suggests the presence of impurities.
  • Residue or Stains: When distilled water evaporates, it should not leave behind any residue or stains. If you find residues or mineral deposits on surfaces after using distilled water, it may indicate impurities or insufficient distillation.
  • pH Level: Distilled water should have a pH level of around 7, which is neutral. If you test the water and find a significantly higher or lower pH, it could indicate contamination or improper distillation.
  • Contaminants: Distilled water should be free from contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and heavy metals. If you suspect the presence of these contaminants, it's a sign of poor-quality distilled water. 

What are the alternatives to distilled water? 

The three main methods for creating clean drinking water in the home are Carbon Filtration, Reverse Osmosis, and Water Distillation. Let’s look at each of these in turn: 

Charcoal Filtration 

Activated charcoal (carbon) is a chemical compound that is very porous and has an incredibly high surface area. That high surface area is very good at absorbing different types of impurities. When impure water passed through it the porous surface of the activated carbon scrubs some unwanted chemicals. Activated carbon is used in a medical setting to treat poisonings and overdoses, where it absorbs the undesired substance from the body. There are two problems with charcoal filtration. The first is the microscopic pores in activated charcoal get used up and charcoal filters therefore need to be regularly replaced because they clog up. Another problem with activated charcoal filters is they are good at absorbing Volatile Organic Compounds but not much else. VOCs contain chemicals like oils, herbicides, and pesticides. Any rogue minerals, fluoride or scale will NOT be removed by charcoal filtration. And most tap water is mainly contaminated by rogue minerals, fluoride, and scale but very little in the way of Volatile Organic Compounds. 

However, VOCs have a strong influence on taste so when you filter tap water in this way it often seems to taste a lot cleaner after filtration. Activated charcoal filtration is the least effective way to purify water. Charcoal filtration is a profitable business. Units range from £10-£400 and sellers make the majority of their money by selling replacement filters. Claims of special technologies by filter manufacturers are usually unfounded. 

Reverse Osmosis 

Reverse osmosis is a process that operates in opposition to osmosis. In osmosis, two liquids strive to achieve equilibrium by balancing their chemical states. When a liquid is placed beside another, with a semi-permeable membrane separating them, the solvent moves from the liquid with a low concentration to the one with a higher concentration. This equalises the solute and solvent levels in both liquids. However, reverse osmosis reverses this natural process. 

In reverse osmosis, one of the liquids is pressurised to disrupt equilibrium. This pressure causes the liquids to move out of balance, with one liquid retaining all the chemical solute while the other remains free of it. Reverse osmosis is an effective method for water purification. 

Typically, reverse osmosis yields relatively pure water, to the extent that it is suitable for window cleaning to avoid streaks caused by using tap water. However, it is important to note that reverse osmosis is not considered the definitive standard. While the initial cost of purchasing and installing reverse osmosis (RO) units can be quite high, the subsequent maintenance costs are usually lower compared to charcoal filters. Outside of industrial applications, challenges arise from disposing of the excess solution and the need for substantial equipment to pressurise the liquid. In household settings, reverse osmosis units can occupy an entire cupboard and may require the assistance of a plumber for installation. It is worth mentioning that reverse osmosis does not eliminate bacteria, viruses, or fungal spores, and it is not as comprehensive as distillation in terms of purification. 

Water Distillation 

Water distillation is the only process by which you can achieve absolutely pure water. While boiling water alone can eliminate bacteria, viruses, and germs, the process of water distillation takes it a step further. 

In a water distiller, water is continuously boiled, transforming it into steam. This boiling action eradicates any harmful microorganisms, leaving behind pure water vapour. As the vapour rises, it is condensed back into liquid form by circulating through a heat exchanger within the distiller. The resulting steam is purer than tap water because the impurities, having higher boiling points than water, are left behind. However, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with lower boiling points can still permeate the steam.  

To address this, Megahome Distillers incorporate an activated charcoal filter at the final stage of the process to remove any VOCs that have not been vented off.  

Water distillation stands as the sole means to obtain absolutely pure water, devoid of any contaminants, including substances like fluoride. Laboratories rely on this method to produce water of the utmost purity. Moreover, it mirrors the natural process of rain formation—water evaporates from the oceans, condenses in clouds, and ultimately precipitates as rain. 

While water distillers are generally affordable to purchase, it is important to note that they may require additional maintenance efforts. Additionally, the cost of electricity to operate a distiller typically amounts to around 24p per litre of water. 

You may have read about these water types: 

Purified Water 

The term "Purified water" lacks a clear definition. Different individuals may use it to describe various processes. For example, some may consider water purified if it has been taken from a river and passed through a sand filter to eliminate a significant amount of sediment. Others may define purified water as distilled water, which is considered pure. While the term implies the removal of impurities through a specific process, if one desires completely pure water, water distillation remains the sole method to achieve this level of purity. 

Demineralised water or Deionised water 

Demineralised and deionised water can be considered synonymous since most minerals exist in the form of ions. This kind of water closely resembles distilled water as it undergoes a large-scale industrial process to eliminate the majority of its mineral content. However, it's important to note that demineralised water does not eliminate bacteria or viruses since it hasn't been subjected to boiling, and certain substances like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may still be present. Consequently, demineralised water is unsuitable for consumption due to the potential (albeit minimal) health risks associated with VOCs, which are known to be linked to cancers and neurological problems. Typically, demineralised water finds application in car batteries as it lacks ions. Moreover, distilled water can also be considered a form of demineralised or deionised water, and it can be used in car batteries as well. 

What is the best way to purify water? 

When it comes to purifying water, there are several methods to consider. Charcoal filtration proves highly effective in eliminating VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that haven't been vented off. Meanwhile, a slow, rolling boil is the best technique for eradicating viruses, bacteria, and any other biological contaminants. However, water distillation stands out as the most comprehensive purification method due to its ability to remove a wide range of impurities and neutralise biological contamination.

It is worth noting that distillation should be complemented by charcoal filtration to effectively eliminate VOCs. Therefore, the most optimal approach for water purification entails employing a water distiller alongside a charcoal filter within the purification process. 

Which water distiller should I buy? 

All the performance aspects are the same, across the range. There is no difference between the heating and cooling components of the different models (except the alcohol distiller which has a small difference in this aspect of the engineering). 

1. The 316 Water Distiller 

Link: https://www.megahome-distillers.co.uk/316-steel-water-distiller

  •  Top of the range
  • Only marine grade 316 stainless steel in the world
  • Only available with glass jug 

This is our top-of-the-range distiller. The main point of difference is that the stainless steel used for all components is 316 stainless steel. The 316 grade is typically employed in marine applications due to its ability to withstand highly corrosive or contaminated water sources such as seawater, muddy puddles, or rivers. The head unit and boiling vessel of this distiller are constructed from the world's first and only 316 stainless steel distiller. Most regular distillers use 304 stainless steel, which is commonly used for items like saucepans. Choose this distiller if you desire the absolute best quality or if you need to distil heavily contaminated water. 

2. The Deluxe Water Distiller

  • Most popular model
  • Black or white top
  • Glass or plastic jug 
This is our most popular distiller. The key feature here is the outer body made from 304 stainless steel, in addition to the boiling vessel and head unit all of which are 304 stainless steel. You have the option of selecting either a glass or plastic collection bottle. 
Get this distiller if you want a good distiller with an attractive stainless steel outer. 

3. The Professional Water Distiller

  • Designed for clinical environments
  • Stainless steel internal components
  • Glass or plastic collection jug 
This is our entry-level model. Its distinguishing characteristic is the white powder-coated outer body, which is preferable in clinical settings. The boiling vessel and head unit are made from 304 stainless steel. This model is specifically designed for use in dental practices, doctor's offices, laboratories, tattoo shops, or any situation that requires a source of distilled water. It can be purchased with either a plastic or glass collection jug. Some individuals also buy this model for home use. 

4. The Alcohol Distiller

  • Lower-powered heating element for distillation control
  • Internal sieve
  • Only available with glass jug 

There are two main differences between the alcohol distiller and a water distiller:  

1. The heating element has reduced power, resulting in a longer distillation process.  
2. The distiller features a removable sieve in the head unit to filter out any vegetable matter that may be present in the mixture being distilled.  

It takes approximately 12 hours to distil water with this unit, which is why we do not recommend it for water distillation. Some individuals mistakenly purchase this distiller with the intention of using it for both water and alcohol, but they often return it because it does not perform well when distilling water. 

Plastic vs Glass jug? 

 The plastic jug is made from safe, BPA-free polyethene. On the other hand, the glass jug ensures that the water does not come into contact with any plastic during the distillation process. Even the filter housing for this distiller is lined with ceramic to prevent any interaction between the water and plastic. Choose the plastic jug if you want to save money or opt for the glass jug if you prefer the best option and have concerns about your distilled water coming into contact with plastic. 

Black or white? 

Both about equally popular and we seem to go in runs of one or the other. One minute everyone is buying black, the next minute everyone is buying white. 

Two-year warranty and money-back guarantee. Find out more here. This applies to all our distillers equally. 

If you want to know how our distillers compare to Make Water Pure and Via Fosa distillers, read this blog

Do you now know everything there is to know about drinking water distillers & distilled water? 

Hopefully, you do. However, if you still have an unanswered question, email or phone us and we will answer it for you. service@megahome-distillers.co.uk or 01985 606044

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