What Is Distilled Water?
First of all, we should know what distilled water is. Any form of water has been purified by the process of distillation is called distilled water. Although there are several types of distillation, the basic principle is same. We know that different matters have different boiling points. And water we see today contains many other substances we cannot see with our eyes, such as heavy metal, Vocs, virus and bacteria. How to get purified water? We use the distillation method. In a nutshell, water is heated to 100 centigrade (its boiling points) and water begins to evaporate and the vapor will be led into another container to condense. During this process, other substances cannot evaporate to boil off at a lower temperature and they are left in a nutshell where water is heated. This process separates water and other substances. The water condensed from vapor becomes much more pure than the initial water. In the end, we get what we want, so there is another question, Can you drink distilled water?
Can You Drink Distilled Water?
If you ask me this question, my answer will be “may be yes”. If our tap water is purified using distillation, all the contaminants are removed and the resulting water becomes much more pure than before. In this situation, the water is safe to drink. However, we also need to know the disadvantage. The drawback of distilled water is that all the healthy natural minerals are also removed. However, these minerals are desirable, such as calcium, magnesium, iron etc. Therefore, compared with mineral water or spring water, obviously, distilled water doesn’t have any superiority. However, if your drinking water contained trace amounts of heavy metals and toxic organic compounds, you’d better drink distilled water rather than the source water. There are several ways to get distilled water. You could find it at a grocery store. It is safe to drink, because it was made from drinking water. However, if it wasn’t made from drinking water (like an industrial source), it is dangerous to drink it. This is because the distilled water may contain impurities that cannot be removed using distillation.
If the equipment is contaminated, it also will cause impure distilled water, making it unsafe to drink. During the distillation process, contaminants could leach out of the tubing or glassware at any point, which introduces unwanted harmful chemicals or heavy metals. It is not a problem for commercial distillation of drinking water. However, for home distillation, we should pay attention to this problem. Even if you buy bottled water, leaching or plastic monomers from glass are harmful to our health.
How to Make Distilled Water?
NO matter what tools you use to make distilled water, the basic principle is just as the same. The source water (like tap water, well water, snow, well water, and other forms of water) is heated to the boiling point, and then the liquid becomes steam or water vapor and rises. The vapor will be led into another container to be condensed, while other substances are also left in the boiler. The separate the water and other substance, according to the different boiling points.
When do you need to make distilled water? You can make it if you want to purify your drinking water further, and you also can make it for emergencies, and you also can make it when on a camping trip. There are several ways to make it and these methods can help you save money and you don’t need to buy bottled water at a grocery store. We’ll discuss later why you should not buy bottled water at a grocery store.
Use your stove or grill to distill water
You can use your stove, grill or even campfire to make your own distilled water easily. First, you need a large container to hold water, a smaller container to collect distilled water. The smaller container should float in the larger container or its edge must be higher than the water level. A pointed or rounded lid is also needed to fit the large container. When the vapor rise and meet the lid, it will be condensed and become liquid water and drop into the smaller container. Also some ice is helpful to condense water easily. Here, I’ve given out the materials you may need when you plan to use your grill or stove to make distilled water at home.
- A large container – like a 5-gallon aluminum or stainless steel pot
- A smaller container – like a glass or metal bowl which can float in the pot
- A rounded lid for the pot
- Ice cubes for condensing
- Fill the pot with enough water.
- Place the smaller container in the pot or it will float. It is used to collect water which drips from the center of the pan lid. Of course, the lid must be inverted. The size of bowl must be large enough to make sure most distilled water can be collected or it will drip back into the big container.
- Make sure the lid is set upside down on the pot. This can help the condensed water gather in the center of the lid and finally fall into the bowl below.
- Turn on the heat for the pot. The water must be heated to be very hot, but it is no problem if it doesn’t boil.
- Ice cubes should be put on the top of the lid. Do you remember the lid is inverted, so it can just hold the ice cubes? The ice cubes can help to condense steam on the other side of the lid into liquid water again.
- Turn off the heat if you see there is enough distilled water in the bowl
Distilled water must be stored in a clean, preferably sterile container and this container should be intended for long term storage. You can clean it in a dishwasher or immerse it in boiling water to kill bacteria. In a word, don’t use contaminated container, or the water will be polluted again. And it must be stored as soon as possible, because it may be taste a little acid if long exposure in the air.
And the collection container also can be outside the large container. In this method, we need a tubing to condense water and lead distilled water into the collection bottle. The following image can tell you what to do. In fact, the basic principle is just as the same. And you can be creative to think out more methods.
Distill Water from Rain or Snow
If you know where rain and snow are from, you should know they are 2 forms of distilled water indeed. Water is heated by the sun and evaporates from lakes, rivers, oceans and the land. The vapor condenses in the atmosphere and finally falls as rain or snow. However, if you think they are pure, you are wrong. Generally, our air is polluted and some contaminants may pollute the rain or snow. Therefore, it is not recommended to collect snow or rain as distilled water directly, unless you live an area without any pollution, or the environment is relatively good.
You should use a clean container to collect snow or rain and wait for a day so that any sediment can fall to the bottom of the container. Generally, you can drink clean rain or snow water, or you can use a filter for additionally filtration steps, which can remove most contaminants if you feel worried about the water quality. You’d better keep the water in your refrigerator or just keep it in a clean, sealed glass container too.
Home Water Distillers
Distillation process needs to heat water, so fuel or electricity has to be used. Therefore, water distillation costs money unless you collect natural distilled water (like rain or snow). If you plan to make distilled water on your stove, you’ll find it is much cheaper to buy bottled water. If you want to make high quality distilled water at home, you should use a home distiller to simplify the whole process. Such a home distiller may cost you from $100 to several hundred dollars. However, the initial cost will be shared in the following years, so it only cost you less for each time use. It is cheaper than buying bottled water. If you only need one to drink, you can buy a countertop one. If you need plenty of distilled water, you can choose some expensive kits which can supply large volumes of water for the whole house.
Distill Water from Plants, Mud, or Sea Water for emergency
In some emergency situations, water is so important to use and we should learn about how to get clean water to drink. Of course, you can use a portable water filter to purify water. However, even if you don’t have a filter, you also can get clean water by distilling water from Mud, plants, or sea water. If you know the basic principle, you know how to start. We’ll discuss how to extract water from desert plants, supposing you were in a desert and wanted to find water to drink.
Something we need:
- A container – A coffee can or other clean container will be fine.
- Plastic wrap is used to stop the vapor rise and condense the vapor.
- Green plants – the water source
- Small rock
- You should dig a hole in the ground
- Place the coffee can in the center of the hole
- Place damp plants around the coffee can
- Cover the whole with a piece of plastic wrap. You can use small rocks to secure it, making sure no moisture can escape from the hole.
- A pebble or small rock is needed to place in the center of the plastic wrap, so that a small depressing is created. When water evaporates, the vapor will be condensed on the wrap and concentrate where the depression is created and finally drop into the coffee can.
However, this process is time-consuming process. In a desert, you may need a whole day to get a little water. You also can place the hole in a sunny place to speed up the process and the greenhouse effect will help to evaporate water. The plant you choose to distill must be not poisonous, because volatile toxins may pollute the water you collect. You can use Cacti and ferns, because they are relatively easy to get and safe.