How to Make Distilled Water

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

boiling water
Distilling water starts with boiling it on the stove. Capelle.r/Getty Images

Distilled water is water that has been boiled to become steam and then cooled to become water again. It's then free of minerals and salts. Distilled water is used in car batteries and in steam irons. Distilled water prevents the iron from getting clogged up inside from minerals. It also has various medical and industrial uses. Some people like to use distilled water to make clear ice cubes. Here's how to make distilled water in your kitchen.

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Materials Needed

  • 3 to 5 gallon (11.4 to 19 liter) stainless-steel pot with a stainless-steel cover
  • Tap water
  • Heat resistant glass bowl
  • Baking rack
  • Ice

Here's What To Do

  1. Put the baking rack on the bottom of the stainless-steel pot.
  2. Fill the pot half way with tap water.
  3. Place the glass bowl in the pot, so that it floats on the surface of the water. The baking rack should ensure that the bottom of the glass bowl doesn't touch the pot.
  4. Turn the pot cover upside down and place it on top of the pot.
  5. Fill the inverted pot cover with ice.
  6. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for about 45 minutes, replacing the ice as necessary. As the water boils it becomes steam. The steam will hit the cold lid of the pot and be cooled down to become water again. Some of the water will drip into the glass bowl. That's the distilled water.
  7. Turn off the gas. Remove the lid from the pot. Using gloves, remove the glass bowl carefully -- it will be very hot.
  8. Allow the distilled water in the bowl to cool down and then you can store it in bottles.

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Originally Published: Apr 4, 2011

Distilled Water FAQ

Can you drink distilled water?
Distilled water is completely safe to drink. However, it has no taste and is flat, as the distillation process removes important minerals from it such as calcium, magnesium and sodium. These minerals are what gives tap water its taste.
How do you make distilled water?
The process of distilling water on your stove is fairly simple. Fill a stainless steel pot halfway full of water and place a glass or metal bowl inside, letting it float. Cover the pot with an upside down lid and cover it with ice cubes. Immediately turn the element on and let it get the water heat up or boil for 45 minutes, replacing the ice as needed. When done, the water collected in the glass bowl is distilled.
Is boiled water the same as distilled water?
No, they aren’t the same. Boiled water is simply water that has had the temperature increased until it reaches its boiling point. This kills a host of bacteria that can make a person sick. Distilled water is water that has been stripped of all impurities, including minerals and microorganisms.
What is distilled water good for?
Distilled water has plenty of medical and industrial uses. It’s also commonly used in car batteries, in steam irons, in aquariums and to water plants.
Which is better: distilled or purified water?
Both distilled and purified water can be consumed. If you want the cleanest possible water, opt for distilled water. If you want clean water with the added benefit of healthy minerals, purified water is a better choice.

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