Does Distilled Water Kill Bacteria? (Survive or Grow)


Water is a universal factor when it comes to our fluids and food consumption. Not only does it help in hydrating our bodies, but it is also used in cooking and baking different foods. Since it is either directly or indirectly consumed, it needs to meet certain standards.

In terms of meeting these standards, water has to go through certain purification processes like distillation, amongst others like countertop water filters. Out of all the filtration systems, distillation or distilled water yields the purest form of water.

These filtration processes remove harmful contaminants from your water and drop them to an acceptable safe level. Now, as you might already know, water also contains bacteria that can be potentially harmful to your health.

This leads to the question, does distilled water contain bacteria or does distilled water kill bacteria? Let’s find out.

What You’ll learn

  • Does distilled water contain bacteria?
  • Does distilled water affect bacterial growth?
  • Can distillation kill parasites, e coli, iron bacteria, probiotics, naegleria fowleri?

Before we start, let’s look at what distilled water is and how it works.

What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is the resultant from a process called distillation. It involves evaporation and condensation to help remove certain harmful contaminants like inorganic compounds, metal, nitrate, iron, and other impurities from your main water supply line.

During the process of distillation of water, it also helps remove microorganisms including viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, the metals found in trace amounts in your water are also removed. 

Looking at distillation from a broader perspective, it is essentially an excellent means of purifying water as compared to the traditional ways of simply boiling the water.

Now, let’s reiterate out initial question, does distilled water kill bacteria? Let’s find out.

Does Distilled Water Kill Bacteria?

Distilled Water

Distilled water itself does not kill bacteria. On the contrary, the process of distillation is what actually kills harmful bacteria from your water.

Distilled water has gone through a rigorous process of evaporation in a large pot, with a smaller one placed inside the larger pot. It is covered and ice is added on top of the lid or cover, as soon as the boiling and evaporation process begins, the lid of the pot leads towards condensation.

The condensed water is then collected in the smaller pot which is placed inside the larger one -thus forming distilled water. Looking at it from a technical point of view, this process of evaporation and condensation yields in up to 99.99% impurity-free water.

Summing up, all of the organic and inorganic chemicals, harmful microorganisms including bacteria and viruses are all removed through the process of distillation.

So, while distilled water does not immediately kill bacteria, the process of distillation of water is what kills bacteria from the source water.

Does Distilled Water Contain Bacteria?

No, distilled water itself does not contain any bacteria. Distillation of water requires exposing the water to extreme temperatures which ultimately kills any of the bacteria that may be present in your source water.

In fact, the distillation process of water is so thorough that even the minerals and healthy nutrients found in your source water are removed from your water. So, looking at the safety point of view of distilled water, it is absolutely safe for your consumption.

On a side note, when consuming distilled water on a regular basis, you will have to ensure your mineral requirements are met effectively.

Can Bacteria Survive In Distilled Water?

The research on this is contradictory, but surprisingly it depends on the type of bacteria present in the water.

Generally speaking, if you’re wondering whether bacteria will survive in distilled water, the answer is a straight no. Just like any living organism, bacteria too require nutrition to stimulate their growth.

The process of distillation of water eliminates and removes all of the nutritional components from the water leaving you with a pure form of H2O (water). There are no minerals or other nutrients in distilled water whatsoever -thus leaving no grounds for bacterial growth.

However, there can be some instances where the bacteria itself is so robust that it will be able to sustain in the distilled water.

According to a study in the NIH, there are certain bacteria like Burkholderia Pseudomallei that can live in distilled water completely free from nutrients and minerals for up to 16 years! This is quite alarming considering how widely distilled water is consumed in our day to day lives.

Another alarming factor is that these long-living bacteria are widely spreading because they are often associated with animal products like meat which is usually imported. Unfortunately, the usage of animal products cannot be stopped and is in fact increasing over time.

Can Bacteria Grow In Distilled Water?

The answer to this is both yes, and no because it depends on what the circumstances are.

For instance, if you store the resultant distilled water in a sterile pot, no bacteria will grow in it. Storing it in a sterile pot or a container will ensure the distilled water is isolated from its surrounding environment and nothing will come in contact with it.

In that case, bacterial growth in distilled water will not be possible. However, if you store distilled water in a non-sterile container where the surroundings can interact with the water, it will end up contaminating the water. Yes, you read that correctly!

Leaving your distilled water in a non-sterile container will leave room for bacteria to get into the water which will ultimately result in bacterial growth.

According to the NIH, there are certain microorganisms that can grow in distilled water regardless of having no nutrients in the water itself.

These include:

  • Pseudomonas
  • Caulobacter
  • Hyphomicrobium
  • Arthrobacter
  • Seliberia
  • Bactoderma
  • Corynebacterium
  • Amycolata (Nocardia)
  • Mycobacterium
  • Chlorella
  • Certain Fungi like Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium

Surprisingly, there are certain bacteria that can survive for quite a long time in the distilled water regardless of the type of container they are stored in. Human and plant pathogenic bacteria can survive in distilled water for a whopping 5 years!

On the other hand, there are other bacteria like Erwinia spp., salmonella, and campylobacter which can only survive in distilled water for a few days.

Does Distilled Water Kill Parasites?

Parasites

Distilled water itself does not kill parasites but the process of distillation can kill parasites present in the source water. The distillation process is so efficient at removing parasites, viruses, bacteria, and disease causing pathogens that it lowers the need for getting your water tested.

Apart from microorganisms, harmful pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and even dissolved meals can be removed from the source of water.

Does Distilled Water Kill E Coli?

C. Diff

Distilling water can efficiently kill E Coli. E Coli is a harmful bacterium that causes gastroenteritis. Back in 2000, a town in Ontario was affected with E Coli when people suddenly became sick. The symptoms were so bad that people ended up in the hospital.

Some of them suffered from fatal kidney complications, and unfortunately those who had severe symptoms ended up losing their lives. All because of an E Coli poisoning due to drinking contaminated water.

But fortunately, there are water distillers that can help you eliminate the presence of E coli from your water -thus ensuring your safety against E coli poisoning.

Can Distilled Water Kill C. Diff?

C. Diff

C. Diff is also referred to as Clostridioides Difficle or simply C. Difficile. It is a type of bacteria (germ) that leads towards diarrhea and inflammation in the colon. Unfortunately, it can also be present in impure water.

Now, can distilled water kill C. Diff? Yes, it is a thorough process involving exposure to extreme temperatures which can help kill all of the bacterium in the source water.

Furthermore, according to a study by the NIH, it can be observed that distilled water can be used for the infections of C. Diff.

Do Water Distillers Kill/Remove Iron?

Water can contain iron components that may be potentially health altering. Using water distillers can help remove iron from the water entirely.

Ideally, people may want iron to be present in their water. But unfortunately, health studies state otherwise. When iron is present in your drinking water, it changes the color of your water and turns it into red-brown color. It also affects the taste of your water, giving it a metallic taste.

These two signs can be pretty easy indications for the presence of iron in your water. Not only is iron bad for your health, but it can also have a drastic affect and cause damage to your:

  • Faucets
  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Water flow lines/pipes

On a side note, the presence of iron in your water can lead to plumbing issues which can cost you quite a lot. So, you would want to remove iron from your water source using a good water distiller to save money in the long run!

Another potential benefit of owning a water distiller is that you can simply purify water from any source like rivers, lakes, ponds, and even your swimming pool’s water. This is going to be helpful in case of natural disasters or when your tap water supply lines are compromised.

Does Water Distiller Kill Probiotics?

Probiotics

Unfortunately, yes! Water distiller will kill all types of bacteria even the good ones like probiotics. Water distillers use extreme temperatures to kill bacteria and eliminate harmful contaminants from your water -this means your probiotics will be removed as well.

Probiotics are essentially microorganisms in their living form. These are extremely beneficial in terms of boosting your gut health. These can help in the digestion of food, production of vitamins and even help in destroying disease causing cells in your body.

Probiotics are directly affected when exposed to extreme temperatures. Ideally, the degradation of probiotics begins at 115 degrees Fahrenheit and are completely destroyed with exposure to heat.

Since boiling water requires extreme temperatures, it will also affect the probiotic components. 

Will Distilled Water Kill Naegleria Fowleri?

Naegleria

Although distilled water cannot kill Naegleria Fowleri itself, but the process of distillation can in fact kill Naegleria Fowleri.

There are different ways of eliminating the presence of Naegleria Fowleri including boiled water, distilled water, and water filters with a small pore size (less than 1 microns).

The best way, of course, is to use a water distiller which is the ultimate solution for the removal of all types of bacteria, pathogens, viruses, organic/inorganic chemicals, heavy metals, and harmful impurities that may be present in your water.

So, to sum up, yes water distillation can kill naegleria fowleri.

Is Distilled Water Good For Kidney Health?

 Kidney

If you have ever heard someone talk about distilled water being good for kidney health, you’ve heard correctly! Distilled water is extremely beneficial for your kidneys and your overall kidney health.

The reason behind this is that distilled water is free from heavy metals and other harmful impurities that are present in simple tap water. Using distilled water for drinking purposes can help remove the general irritation that tap water puts on your kidneys.

Thus, when this irritation is either lowered or removed entirely, it helps improve your kidney function. Furthermore, it will also help boost the overall purity of your blood which ultimately improves the flow of blood to other bodily organs.

All in all, distilled water will lead to an improvement in your overall health as long as you are taking a healthy diet filled with all of the essential nutrients and minerals required for a healthy development.

Conclusion: Does Distilled Water Kill Bacteria?

Does distilled water kill bacteria? Yes, it does. Since distilling water requires you to boil the water for pro-longed periods that may reach up to 35 – 45 minutes, it can effectively kill harmful bacteria and other contaminants that may cause life-threatening diseases.

Different types of bacteria like E Coli, Naegleria Fowleri, C. Diff, and heavy metals like iron can be removed from your source water. So, if you’re looking for using water for drinking or cooking purposes, using distilled water would be ultimately the safest option overall!

Edvinas

This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

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