Is distilled water really healthier than tap water?

Water is water, right? Well, walking around any supermarket and it might not seem that way. One thing that can throw people off is seeing labels reading “distilled” water.

Online, many claims have been made about the health benefits of distilled water. Many go so far as to suggest that it detoxifies your body. This is where things get dicey. So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about this variety of water.

What is distilled water?

In a simplified way, water gets distilled through the following process:

  • First, water is boiled until it eventually evaporates into steam inside a boiling chamber.
  • Steam escapes the chamber and rises through a vent into a stainless steel condenser, leaving behind microorganisms, minerals, and contaminants.
  • The steam condenses, and once it gets to the condenser, it gets fan-chilled until it turns back into water droplets.
  • Before the process finishes, the water passes through a filtration system to get any remaining impurities out before dripping into its container and becoming ready for consumption.

If it wasn’t clear enough, the distillation process is all about removing the bad stuff in water. However, some of those things being removed include essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. For this reason, it’s important to recognize that “purer” does not always mean “better.”

Are there benefits to drinking distilled water over tap water?

Distilled water can often have a quite bland taste because of the intensive process that it undergoes before it reaches your glass. This may be something enjoyable for you, or it may not be. At the same time, depending on where you live, distilled water may be a much healthier choice compared to tap water.

Some neighborhoods and water systems that supply them may be heavily contaminated with unhealthy chemicals, and it wouldn’t be worth to risk to get minerals from non-distilled water in these communities when most will come from your diet anyways.

Sink faucet with tap water
(Photo via

What should I consider when it comes to distilled water?

There isn’t anything thing wrong with drinking distilled water. However, if you are someone who exclusively drinks distilled water, ensure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables. These foods contain water and electrolytes that you may be missing out on by only drinking distilled water. Additionally, consider re-mineralizing your water with the addition of electrolytes.

These will often contain minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and maybe a bit of zinc. Water acts as a carrier for these minerals, which your cells crave. It’s also important to keep in mind that distilled water has nothing overtly special about it that is beneficial for your health, contrary to the claims that it detoxes the body. If anything, the water is actually less healthy when you consider the nutrients the filtering process removes from it. A deficiency in electrolytes can lead to a host of health concerns like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

Is distilled water different than purified water?

Distilled water is a variation of purified water, meaning the contaminants and minerals are removed in purified water as well — usually boasting 99 percent contamination removal. The minor difference is that purified water could still have some traces of minerals, while distilled water will not. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with purified water either, drinking extremely pure water exclusively is still not the best choice, especially if your diet is not rich in minerals through eating a balanced diet.

Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid of distilled water, but also don’t fall into the belief that it will cure all of your ailments. Distilled water basically describes the process that the water has undergone in order to ultra-purify it. However, pure water doesn’t always mean healthy, as “purity” in the case of distillation means that crucial minerals have been removed.

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About the Author

Shyla Cadogan, RD

Shyla Cadogan is a DMV-Based acute care Registered Dietitian. She holds specialized interests in integrative nutrition and communicating nutrition concepts in a nuanced, approachable way.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer


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