Is Purified Water The Same As Distilled Water?

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Purified water, as the name suggests, is one of the purest types of water that you can drink, as it has been purified via different processes (distillation, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, and sometimes ozonation) to alter the levels of minerals and flavors. Distilled water is a form of purified water. However, it only goes through the distillation process to remove contaminants.

Purified and distilled water, are one of four different types of water; the other two are mineral and spring water. 

Access to clean drinking water is critical to health, and while most sources of public drinking water (tap water) are closely regulated and safe in developed countries like the US, many people prefer to drink purified or distilled water.

In this article, we will investigate the differences between purified and distilled water. Understanding the differences between the two types of water will help you identify which is best for the application you are working with. 

What Is Purified Water?

Purified water is a type of water that has effectively been processed to filter out water impurities. Purified water can be produced from tap water or groundwater, therefore, it makes it a great water source for most businesses and homeowners.

During the purification processes, the following impurities and contaminants are removed:

  • Bacteria
  • Parasites 
  • Fungi
  • Algae
  • Most chemical pollutants
  • Metals, including lead and copper

Water is purified via boiling water, distillation, disinfection, and filtration, however, less common ways to purify water like solar purification and adding iodine are also sometimes used. Despite there being different purification processes, they all result in the same outcome – purified water. 

So, what is classified as purified water?

Purified water is measured by the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) as parts per million (PPM). For water to be considered as ‘pure’, it must be <10 PPM (0 PPM is ideal). This means that around 99% of all contaminants have successfully been removed from the water, purifying it to a state of safe consumption and use. 

Benefits Of Purified Water 

Purified water is thought to be the healthiest type of water, which is why it has many benefits. 

While tap water is generally safe to drink in most developed countries, it still contains traces of contaminants, which is why many people now opt for drinking purified water.

Other benefits of drinking purified water include:

  • Chlorine elimination 
  • Removal of metallic substances (including toxic and heavy metals; lead and copper), organic matter, and harmful chemicals and bacteria
  • Benefits to your colon and digestive tract
  • It’s better for your skin

As previously mentioned, purified water typically removes 99% of contaminants, yet the EPA’s drinking water guidelines in the US require public drinking water to remove at least 90% of contaminants, and every state has different guidelines. Drinking purified water that has had 99% of contaminants removed is always recommended over water that still has 10% of contaminants. However, ultra-purified water can cause issues due to the absence of electrolytes. Drinking water that contains no electrolytes can cause high blood pressure and other health issues such as hyponatremia.

So, while purified water is the best form of drinking water, it is recommended to drink other types of water such as tap water, if it’s available to you and safe to drink in your area. 

Cons Of Purified Water

Before you drink purified water, you should know the issues associated with it. These include the following:

  • Many purification processes remove helpful minerals such as fluoride from the water – fluoride is known to reduce tooth decay and improve overall dental health
  • Water purification systems must be regularly maintained to ensure that contaminants do not build up inside filters
  • Some purification methods will not remove contaminants such as pesticides
  • The cost of purified bottles of water or installing an in-home purification system can be costly 
  • Purchasing plastic bottles that contain purified water significantly increases the amount of plastic waste in the environment

Purified Water For Applications

The main use of purified water is for public drinking water. But, purified water is used in each of the following processes:

  • Coagulation & Flocculation
  • Sedimentation
  • Filtration
  • Disinfection

Laboratory-grade purified water is widely used in laboratory applications and medical facilities for the following uses:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices
  • Oral and topical product production
  • Granulation process for tablets/capsules
  • In feed waters for water for injection and pharmaceutical grade clean steam applications
  • General cleaning solutions

What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is a type of purified water that is taken directly to the distillation process without undergoing reverse osmosis, and ion exchange.

The distillation process involves boiling the water and collecting the steam, which then returns to water once it has cooled. As distilled water contains no ions, and therefore, has a low electrical conductivity range of 0.5 to 3 µS/cm.

Distillation is a highly effective purification method for removing the following contaminants:

  • Viruses 
  • Bacteria 
  • Protozoa 
  • Chemicals including sulfate and lead

Benefits Of Distilled Water 

Distilled water has many benefits, these include:

  • Removing waterborne pathogens – most harmful waterborne pathogens are removed during distillation
  • Reducing the risk of harmful chemicals 
  • It can prevent kidney stones
  • It can improve your bodily functions

Cons Of Distilled Water

Despite distilled water being one of the cleanest and purest types of water, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be the best type of drinking water. For starters, distilled water consumes a significant amount of energy compared to using reverse osmosis, which means that distilled water processes are somewhat harmful to the environment.

Problems linked to drinking distilled water include:

  • Distilled water removes electrolytes and natural minerals
  • Magnesium and calcium are removed which are important for human health – depletion of such minerals can increase the chances of heart disease, fractures, and preterm birth
  • Most distillation methods remove all fluoride

Drinking distilled water should be safe, as long as you lead and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. This includes consuming enough minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes within your lifestyle that are removed during the distillation processes.

Distilled Water For Applications 

The most obvious use for distilled water is in drinking water supplies. However, while you can drink distilled water, many people dislike the taste, as it’s flatter and less flavorful than tap and purified bottled water.

Distilled water is also used in cosmetic products, as distilled water is free from microbes, toxins, and pollutants that could potentially cause harm. Distilled water is used as a solvent in cosmetics, so that the ingredients can easily transfer to the skin and/or hair. It is also widely used in creams, oils, and other lotions so that they can easily be applied to the skin. 

Additionally, as distilled water is free of contaminants/minerals, labs use distilled water in laboratory experiments as the water is unable to react with other chemicals, providing the laboratory staff with accurate experiments and reliable results. It is also very useful in the medical field for sterilizing medical instruments because distilled water doesn’t leave residue or deposits behind that tap water could. This is a reason that distilled water is also used by surgeons in the sterilization process to prevent cross-contamination and infections.

Dental clinics also make good use of distilled water during tooth extraction procedures, to wash away bacteria that may be left behind.

In the canned food industry, distilled water is used to preserve the color of fruits and vegetables because tap water can cause them to appear dull or cloudy. It also means the taste is preserved because distilled water does not contain any salts. 

Distilled water uses within households include:

  • Car cooling systems
  • Aquariums – but mineral supplements should be added if distilled water is used for water changes
  • Steam irons
  • Humidifiers 
  • Watering and spraying plants
  • Nasal sprays
  • Lead-acid batteries

Which Is Better To Drink: Purified Water Or Distilled Water?

Purified and distilled water are both beneficial for you to drink, and are essentially the same. The main difference is that purified water doesn’t remove all the healthy minerals found in water, which is why most people will choose to drink purified water over distilled water.

However, if you need the cleanest water, distilled water is better than purified water. But, whichever water option you decide to use, both purified and distilled water will provide you with clean and healthy water. 

How To Test The Quality Of Water?

If you want to test the quality of water to ensure it has been purified properly, you need to analyze the composition of TDS, which is linked to the electrical conductivity (EC) of water. The most accurate way to measure the TDS composition in water is with a conductivity meter

We also recommend testing the pH of the water with a pH sensor to make sure the levels are within the recommended range; pH readings between 6.5-8.5 indicate pure water. 

Summing Up, Distilled And Purified Water

The water quality of drinking water can vary depending on where you live, and this should be a determining factor whether you choose to drink purified, distilled, or tap water. If tap water is available and safe, it is not only beneficial for your health, but it is also better for the environment. However, if it is not sanitary, then purified or distilled water should be consumed. 

Distilled water is a form of purified water because it goes through one of the three processes – distillation. Purified water is considered more ‘pure’ as it also goes through ion exchange and reverse osmosis, removing ALL impurities. While purified water is acceptable for drinking, it is recommended to drink distilled water so that some helpful minerals are consumed. 

If you have any questions regarding water quality, or what water quality testing kits we have, do not hesitate to contact our world-class team at Atlas Scientific – we’ll be happy to help. 

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