Distilled water isn’t deadly, nor is there any case of death from drinking it, but it’s also not the best option because it offers no nutritional benefit.
Distilled water is the purest form; it contains no bacteria, germs, or even minerals.
Many believe distilled water is the healthiest because of its purity. But that’s not the case. Distilled water may be good because of its purity, but being pure does not necessarily make it the best.
Regular water contains a low concentration of minerals like calcium, iron and even vitamins such as A and C. However, distilled water contains only water molecules, so it lacks even a low concentration of nutrients.
While we may think distilled water is healthy because it contains no contaminants, the lack of nutrients is a concern. Not many people know this, so they’ll begin drinking distilled water without thinking if it’s safe.
And while drinking distilled water in controlled servings does not hurt us, its lack of nutritional value may eventually do us more harm than good.
But can distilled water kill you?
Distilled water may not be the healthiest, but it’s not deadly. You won’t die from drinking distilled water, but it could still negatively impact your health.
Yet, you’ll still find a few sources claiming distilled water can kill you. This is because excessively drinking distilled water alone can be dangerous and might lead to health problems, triggering death.
There’s a lot to take in, so let’s discuss this in detail.
- Distilled water cannot kill you because it contains no contaminants or harmful bacteria or virus
- Distilled water is extremely pure and lacks essential nutrients, including minerals
- Distilled water has a greater hydrating ability than regular water, so it might be beneficial for athletes
- Distilled water has no nutritional value, so it isn’t too beneficial to drink it
- There aren’t any cases of death from drinking distilled water
The quick answer is no.
Distilled water is not directly deadly, no matter how much you hear the opposite. In fact, several doctors recommend drinking distilled water as it is a healthier alternative to tap water for some people.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Distilled water may not be directly responsible for causing death, but it isn’t as beneficial as most say.
Distilled water looks healthy because it contains no contaminants, but drinking it isn’t the most nutritious beverage.
We’ll discuss what makes distilled water an unsuitable choice for drinking, but let’s first talk about what makes water distilled.
What is Distilled Water?
You get distilled water by distilling the water.
Distillation converts water into gaseous vapor by heating and then transforms them into water droplets by cooling.
Distillation is a natural separation technique because it separates all sediments, contaminants, and even minerals from the water. Distilled water is the purest form because it solely contains water molecules.
Distillation involves two simple processes: evaporation by boiling and condensation by cooling. Let’s discuss this briefly so we can get a hand of distilled water.
Every liquid has a boiling point, the temperature at which the liquid comes to a boil. Each liquid has a different boiling point, meaning every liquid will boil at a different temperature.
A liquid converts into gas if it constantly boils at its boiling point. The conversion of a liquid into gas through boiling (the first part of distillation) is evaporation.
The boiling point of water is 100℃, so water molecules will begin to convert into gaseous form at this temperature.
It is important to remember that if unfiltered, regular water contains a few minerals and some contaminants. The water molecules in this will evaporate at 100℃, but contaminants and minerals like iron and calcium will remain behind because they are too heavy to evaporate.
Continuous water boiling will eventually evaporate all water molecules, separating them from the contaminants left behind. These gaseous water molecules will typically hang in the air if distillation occurs naturally.
The collected gaseous water molecules are extremely pure if they don’t meet any contaminant in the air. We can easily prevent contamination by collecting them in a clean container as soon as they evaporate.
You can’t drink these gassy water molecules, so you’ll need to complete the distillation to retrieve pure water. We do this by condensation.
Condensation is the conversion of vapors into liquid. We can condense gas by reducing temperature.
The collected liquid water after cooling gassy water vapors is distilled water.
How Pure is Distilled Water?
Distillation effectively separates every possible substance, so distilled water has nothing except water molecules. Distilled water doesn’t even contain minerals or nutrients, which is why some call it demineralized water.
The absence of any contaminants and nutrients makes distilled water 100% pure.
Advantages of Distilled Water
Many recommend drinking distilled water because of its various health benefits. Some even switch to drinking distilled water because of contaminated and unhealthy tap water.
Let’s glance at the few benefits of drinking distilled water:
There are various waterborne diseases due to bacteria and viruses in the water. Some of these diseases are mild, while others, like Hepatitis A, can be extremely difficult to treat.
Distilled water contains no viruses or bacteria (provided it remains isolated after production), so one major benefit to drinking it is you can’t get sick from bacterial and viral diseases.
A hypotonic solution or liquid contains fewer salts than the human body. Distilled water is also hypotonic, though it contains no salts.
Hypotonic liquids are much more hydrating because the bloodstream quickly absorbs them from the gut, leading to instant hydration.
Many sports drinks are hypotonic because of their quick hydration, so distilled water benefits athletes.
Water has varying tastes; alkaline water has a metallic, flat taste, while acidic water might have a slightly sharper taste. Not many take a liking to the taste of treated water and call it weird.
Distilled water doesn’t contain chlorine (which gives it a bitter taste) and minerals (which gives it a metallic taste), so it tastes like nothing. While the taste of nothing sounds a little boring, it’s much safer and better for those who quickly recognize water tastes and don’t like them.
Distillation eliminates up to 99.9% of contaminants and additives, so distilled water is the purest. Drinking pure water is better for those who don’t have easy access to clean and purified water.
Water from a main shared source is typically dirty because it travels through rusty pipes and outdated filters. Drinking such contaminated water is harmful and can lead to severe health problems.
The one benefit of drinking distilled water is that it contains no contaminants at all, provided stored correctly, so it’s a much safer option than drinking tap water.
The advantages of drinking distilled water may seem beneficial in the long run, but they are not.
Let’s discuss this in easier words; here are a few reasons why we won’t recommend entirely relying on distilled water.
You must remember that while distilled water has a great benefit (purity), the same benefit becomes a major drawback. Being pure doesn’t necessarily mean the best.
Water purity is excellent, especially considering the numerous polluted water sources around the globe. But the purity of distilled water is too high, so it lacks essential minerals.
You may not need these minerals all the time, and we don’t exactly source essential minerals entirely from drinking water, but the lack of them in distilled water gives it no nutritional value.
The lack of distilled water’s nutritional value might not seem too serious, but continuously drinking it isn’t too suitable either.
Distilled water benefits those who get sick from drinking tap water, but there’s no other benefit.
The absence of nutrients in distilled water isn’t an extremely serious matter, but it contributes to nutritional inconsistencies in the body.
Our body needs a balanced diet to remain healthy; drinking distilled water frequently can gradually contribute to imbalances, especially if the diet isn’t maintained.
Distilled water is beneficial in limited quantities, but lacking nutrients will eventually contribute to bigger problems.
Although we don’t rely on water to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients, it still is a significant contributor. We lose a small but required portion of our nutrients by drinking distilled water, an act that may not suit everyone.
Frequently drinking distilled water might lead to health consequences.
Distilled water is only beneficial for those who don’t have access to clean water. Distilled water is also better for athletes because it is a quick source of hydration.
However, we won’t recommend drinking distilled water over purified water. We’ll need to explain the difference between the two to make it easier to understand.
Distilled water is the purest because it contains no contaminants, minerals, or essential nutrients. Distilled water is basically water molecules in a sip.
Purified water is regular water run through a filter or a purifier.
The filter or purifier cleans sediments and dirt particles, removes microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, and lowers the concentration of various minerals, depending on the type.
Some filters/purifiers remove minerals but re-add them later so your water is pure and nutritious.
Distilled water is demineralized, so it contains absolutely no minerals at all. Purified water is mineralized and contains vital minerals, including iron and calcium.
It might make sense to drink distilled water because of its purity, but it won’t be beneficial in the long run. On the other hand, purified water contains no contaminants and gives you a healthy dose of essential nutrients.
Purified water also has a greater oxygen concentration, promoting a healthier lifestyle.
In short, it is much better to drink purified water than distilled water.
There is no case where drinking distilled water directly resulted in death.
Waterborne diseases that typically cause death result from viruses or bacteria in the water, but this isn’t the case with distilled water. Distilled water doesn’t contain harmful bacteria or viruses, so it will not cause you any harm.
However, some speculate that the hypotonic quality of distilled water can be deadly. Hypotonic solutions quickly absorb into the bloodstream, promoting hydration.
The red blood cells tend to absorb hypotonic solutions, getting bigger during the process. Many believe drinking hypotonic beverages like distilled water will cause the red blood cells to absorb more than they can hold. This might lead to the red blood cells bursting and causing death.
Although it seems very unlikely, the concept is very real, and some medical treatments also use it to purposefully burst cancerous cells.
Don’t worry, though, because this isn’t the case with us. Yes, the bloodstream quickly absorbs distilled water, but our body also effectively removes excess water in urine.
Another reason we won’t have to worry about our red blood cells bursting anytime soon is nutrients.
We’re taking in nutrients from other sources even if we aren’t getting them from distilled water.
The bloodstream constantly absorbs these nutrients, so our red blood cells handle salts and minerals with the water. The red blood cells don’t burst because they also take in many minerals.
A red blood cell would have to take solely distilled water to burst. But since it’s also handling salts and essential nutrients, it doesn’t even get a scratch, let alone burst.
There’s no certain quantity of distilled water that kills you since it isn’t deadly.
And we don’t have to worry about dying from drinking distilled water, even with its ability to make particular cells explode.
Hypothetically, you would have to continuously drink distilled water consecutively without a single meal for it to kill you. But we can’t survive without eating, so it is impossible to drink distilled water on an empty stomach.
Perhaps distilled water is deadly on an empty stomach, but there’s no need to worry about such a thing.,
However, frequently drinking distilled water could accelerate some health conditions because it has no nutritional value. So we won’t suggest drinking distilled water unless you have a cleaner water source.
Distilled water isn’t deadly because it contains no contaminants or harmful bacteria.
Distilled water benefits athletes because it promotes hydration, but its lack of nutritional value makes it highly unsuitable for the rest.
We recommend sticking to purified/filtered water since they contain essential nutrients and aren’t contaminated.
FAQs | Can Distilled Water Kill You?
Distilled water has no nutritional value so drinking it wouldn’t give many benefits. In some cases, distilled water promotes hydration, but that’s practically the job of water.
Drinking purified and filtered water to have a nutritious sip is better.
WHO recommends distilling water to remove particular contaminants, but it does not say much about solely drinking distilled water.
The reason why WHO neither recommend drinking distilled water nor advises against it is that there isn’t much research or evidence to prove whether it is better or harmful.
Drinking distilled water won’t kill you, but frequently drinking it without managing a beneficial diet can have drastic effects on your health.