Water is the stuff of life. It allows our cells, organs, and tissues to run effectively, keeping us walking, talking, and going about our busy lives.
As such an important commodity, and given the awesome creativity of our species, it’s not surprising that we’ve tinkered with water to create various different types. Out of the seven types of water that we’re familiar with, two of them appear so similar that many struggle to understand the differences, so in this article, we’ll be making things clearer by answering the question “is demineralised water the same as distilled water?”
What is demineralised water?
As its name suggests, demineralised water (also known as purified water) is water that has had its minerals removed. Common minerals that are removed include calcium, chloride, sulphate, magnesium, and sodium (salt), by processes such as ion-exchange, electro-deionisation, or membrane filtration. All of these processes target magnetically-charged ions as part of the purification process, which misses elements such as viruses, bacteria, and other physical impurities.
There’s many applications that require the use of demineralised water, to prevent them from becoming damaged by minerals. These include laboratory work, car systems, pharmaceutical manufacturing, electronics, household appliances such as steam irons, and more1.
Demineralised water isn’t for human consumption. The water won’t harm you, but the minerals found in distilled or other types of drinking water are important nutrients that keep us healthy.
What is distilled water?
Distilled water is water that has been boiled into steam, and then condensed back into liquid. As with demineralised water, this process strips the water of its minerals, but because it doesn’t target magnetically-charged ions, it has the added benefit of removing molecules such as viruses, bacteria, and other impurities. As a result, distilled water might be considered purer than demineralised water, but should still be avoided by humans because of its lack of essential nutrients.
As with demineralised water, the lack of minerals in distilled water makes it useful for a number of different purposes, including the pharmaceutical industry, the cosmetics industry, electronics, food and drink processing, power, and many other industries.
Distilled vs demineralised water
So, is demineralised water the same as distilled water? Despite them both being types of purified water that are extremely similar, the answer is no.
The main differences between distilled and demineralised water are the elements left over after they’ve been purified. Distilled water uses distillation (boiling and condensing), which removes its minerals, as well as other impurities such as viruses, bacteria, and organic material. Demineralised water is often produced using ion-based processes, which removes the minerals, but misses other impurities.
Because of the different processes that are used for each type of water, distilled water can be considered purer. But many water manufacturers use a combination of processes to create the purest possible water, for delicate applications such as laboratory work, or pharmaceutical development2.
- Lucy Bell-Young, Demineralised Water Uses, ReAgent
- The Difference Between Distilled and Demineralised Water Westlab, Westlab