Instructables

How to Distill Water

Featured
Picture of How to Distill Water

If you fear that your tap water may not be ideal for drinking, or if you are in the great outdoors and running low on clean drinking water, this is the instructable for you! Learn how to distill water in your own kitchen with just a pot and some ice. No Laboratory or fancy equipment required. This method can also be easily adapted if you are in the wilderness.

Distilled water is not only great in preventing mineral build-up in machinery, but it also converts any water source, be it river water, lake water, salt water, or waste water (i.e urine) into clean drinking water. Distillation will remove bacteria, viruses, cysts, heavy metals, radionuclides, organics, inorganics, and particulates, leaving all chemicals, toxins and waste behind and creating pure, clean water.

Distillation is literally the method seen in nature, whereby: the sun heats the water on the earth's surface, the water is turned into a vapor (evaporation) and rises, leaving contaminants behind, to form clouds. As the upper atmosphere drops in temperature the vapors cool and convert back to water to form water droplets. Then once the droplets fall as rain (precipitation) the cycle starts over again.

Different types of methods can be used to distill water. Essentially, distillation entails boiling the water to produce vapor, leaving behind any and all contaminants, which luckily, have a higher boiling point than H20. Once the water entirely vaporizes, that vapor is put into a clean container where it condenses back into pure water. So merely boiling the water will not distill it, it will only potentially remove few toxins.

It is debatable whether drinking large amounts of distilled water is ideal for the human body. Some claim that because the distillation process strips the water of everything besides pure H2O, the natural occurring, potentially beneficial minerals are being extracted as well. However, some research has found that the potentially beneficial minerals present in water are unlikely to be able to be absorbed by the human body.

Let's get started!

(source: http://www.energiseforlife.com/us/distilled-water-...

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
gadjetramjet9 months ago

If drinking distilled water was deadly, you would not be reading this. I started drinking ONLY distilled water back in 1988 as a suggestion from a friend who bottled water for sale. The issue at the time was acid reflux, heartburn. At the time I was trying many different over the counter remedies and doctor prescribed as well without much luck. I learned at the time a teaspoon of vinegar works great, but to get rid of it totally, distilled water and only distilled water or things made with it. It took about three months for me to "cleanse" my system initially, BUT I have NOT had any heartburn since! After my success, my doctor recommended it to some other patients in his practice who had similar results. Through years I 've learned to "modify" the distilled, to include juices and pops etc. they have been bottled and pasteurized through the process. If there was any bacteria left in these products, the product would have no shelf life. You can drink coffee and tea etc. as long as it is made with distilled water. Ice, as long as it is made with distilled water. You will find it is important as mentioned elsewhere to re oxygenate the water by pouring it back and forth between containers, they "higher" the pour the better, I've also found that running it through a charcoal filter (ie Brita) is also okay and helps with the taste. As to taste ,once your memory realizes that water does not have a taste, anything you might get from the tap or bottled tastes horrible! I use a small one gallon distiller I got on the internet, you can also purchase a in gallon bottles at most pharmacies. I use that source a great deal when I am away from home and need water.

of further note: there was some discussion at the time with my doctors as to the "source" of the heartburn, many of his patients seemed to "peak" in the spring and a smaller "peak in the fall. We noticed the coincident timing as to spring runoff and in the fall when water level source where at the lowest. rivers and streams and springs, are the sources for much of the water supplies. We were wondering if there was some kind of bacteria that can survive in Ice and water that can cause this discomfort in humans. Other than the usual wide range of know water borne issues.

basic point ... toxicity ...I say poppycock! that was the most polite way I could!

Ditto on the 'poppycock' comment. I drank *only* distilled water for almost 20 years. I have suffered zero of these so-called drastic side-effects. In fact, I've never been healthier. The only reason I stopped was because I got tired of buying water. I'm considering buying a distiller or getting a reverse-osmosis system for my home because those are the only things that will remove the fluoride from the water. As for taste -- it's SO much better. And as for coffee, coffee actually tastes better with regular filtered water -- turns out the minerals help with the taste of coffee. (There was an entire program by Alton Brown on this topic.) Of course, I stopped drinking coffee so that's a moot point now. Cheers :) *runs off to make some distilled water...

Teddy Pope3 months ago
Distilling water will not purify it of quite a few toxins, at least not in the way you show here. Many toxic compounds boil at a much lower temperature than water (such as methanol) and would end up in the condensate. You could do better with fractional distilling but still that wouldn't catch it all.
sakko3034 months ago

I came here for distilled water methods for growing sensitive plants (venus fly traps), thank you, this is a great idea.

(removed by author or community request)

No it's not, the lack of minerals in distilled water can actually leach minerals out of your cells.

psyfect thaery8 months ago

Can you cite a source please? Something including a study where people were measured before and after switching to distilled water specifically listing the noted minerals and their concentration levels? I've searched and found nothing more than people saying 'I've drank it for years' to 'you'll die in weeks;' but maybe I missed something?

Allow me to rationalize real quick and maybe you can derail me:

If I use distilled water to cook food, the water becomes saturated with 'leeched' vitamins and minerals; would this distilled water then be safe to drink (as I am sure it is far more concentrated with minerals than public water)? If so, then what's the difference between eating the food and subsequently drinking the water; leaving my body to do the work the boiling pot would have?

But if you say 'No, it's still not safe to drink even after boiling brocolli in it' then what exactly is the special mineral (and saturation of that mineral) that causes water to stop 'leeching' minerals from me? Because I'm going from what the water company says is 'microscopic levels of minerals' to 'the water is green it's got so much vegetable deposits in it.'

zag102410 months ago

It is not a good idea to drink pure distilled water, due to an effect called hypotonicity. Essentially, as there are no dissolved solutes in the water, water will travel through the cell membrane in order to bring the osmotic pressure (the concentration of dissolved stuff) to equilibrium. In extreme cases, this can cause the cells to lyse, or burst like an overinflated balloon. This is why many sports drinks are advertised as being isotonic - they have the same amount of dissolved solutes as human cells, negating the osmotic pressure. To make distilled water safer to drink, you should add some salt - although I not sure of the correct quantity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotonicity#Hypotonicity

Dear zag1024,

I would like to point out that yes, lyse dose happen in all cell, but only if there is more water on the outside than the set of cells can hold. For instance yes your cells would start to lyse if you were in a swimming pool of distilled water, but drinking a glass will no do anything harmful to any of your cells, you could even drink a gallon of distilled water and no bad effects will come your way as long as you don't drink it all at once (because you will through up). I will make a comparison for you imagine trillions of half full water balloons (our body) and you fill those with a swimming pool of water (represents a gallon of water), we will say that each water ballon holds one cup of water, an average swimming pool is 18,000 gallons, 16 cups in a gallon do the math, 18,000x16=288,000cups, ok now we divide one trillion cups by 288,000 cups 1,000,000,000,000c/288,000=34,722,222.2222, that means that 34,722,222.2222 will not be filled all the way. You see you are right about every thing else, but your cells will not burst. Also our body will dispose of extra fluid by urination, thats why if you drink a lot of water you urinate a more often. And last adding salt to water will make you more thirsty, thats why they add it to sports drinks so you stay hydrated. Thank you if you read this, I was trying to clear some things up, because it was bugging me, I'm not trying to be mean or anything so.

tlort zag10249 months ago

Define "extreme cases." What would be a safe quantity? Would there be a difference in safe amount if you were extremely dehydrated? It would also be useful to know your level of expertise and knowledge - are you a medical professional, or a University Professor or researcher? Can you provide more references? Your comment is a serious one but falls short of a full explanation.

mr_man zag10249 months ago

Contrary to corporate myth, drinking less than your bodyweight in distilled water will not cause you to explode.

zag1024 mr_man9 months ago

I did say extreme cases! © Corporations inc.

amalkhan (author)  zag10249 months ago

Thanks for the info. However, distilled water has many purposes besides ingestion, but for argument's sake, I think you would agree that drinking distilled water is far, far better than dying of dehydration when no other clean water source is available.

zag1024 amalkhan9 months ago

For extremely dehydrated people, distilled water is actually more beneficial than drinking plain water, for the exact reasons I highlighted above - it rehydrates your cells. This is great when you are dehydrated, but it is still not so great for normally hydrated cells.

martis_ltu9 months ago

distilled water is not for drinking! There are no vital minerals in distilled water. It is for chemistry

mr_man9 months ago
So ludicrous. By that logic, drinking seawater would be almost ideal, which of course we know it's not. We drink fresh water which has an osmotic pressure almost the same as distilled water. Rainwater essentially is distilled. Touching a drop of dew won't "lyse" your cells!
amclaussen mr_man9 months ago

To Mr_man:

You are not being very polite to zag1024, who appears to be well intentioned and informed. Osmosis is a very well understood phenomena. Your comment about the logic of seawater is out of context. Salts content of common drinking water is orders of magnitude lower than seawater (you can get an idea by adding about 3.5 grams of table salt toa liter of tap water... dissolve it completely and taste it... THAT is completely unpalattable!

Maybe (just maybe), people that only drink distilled water are not suffering problems because they ingest it along with food that contains salts, and therefore the distilled water is presented to their digestive and circulatory systems not as hypotonical as they think... on the other side, simple distillation set-ups like this are not very good distillers because the boiling water splashes very small droplets that rise in the vapor stream and are carried onto the distilled water obtained, so that the device does not entirely remove all the salts, it only reduces the total amount. In other applications, water distillation is carried away twice or more times. For pharmaceutical uses, triple-distilled is the norm, but for more demanding ones (like semiconductor manufacturing) extremely pure water with absolutely no salts in it, additional steps are absolutely necessary!

My comment on this Instructable would say that it is a good idea for getting better water from tapwater in a pinch, but it appears to be a terribly inefficient process to do for getting all the drinking water. Let´s see: First you have to boil quite a lot of water in order to get a fraction of it, with the resultant heat consumption, either gas or electricity (producing pollution or contamination, -for those enthusiastic lovers of the ecology it should be an insult!-). Second, the required quantity of ice is not minor. That ice is going to demand another large quantity of refrigeration energy to be made, so that in the end, the whole idea is practical for only occasional, emergency uses, definitely not as good as a daily process for a family, even for a single person.

BTW: the link to the reported info source (source: (http://www.energiseforlife.com/us/distilled-water-...)

is not working, but you can visit the site and find that it is a commercial venture that claims to be full of products for lifestyle enhancement. As in many other businesses like those, it caters for people's expectations towards healthier lifestyles, and that would be perfect IF their designs and procedures were well thought out, and that is not always the case. Even in their website, they publish an statement textually saying:

(in ABOUT US, POINT 4: "We Have A Large Community of Likeminded People..."

and there lies the whole point: in an effort to live more healthy, and embrace "greener" lifestyles, (too) many people end up causing more ambiental damage than they desire, but fail to recognize their un-optimal measures.

In this instructable, I would RESPECTFULLY suggest to add a paragraph or two redirecting it to occasional or emergency uses, not for everyday drinking water production at home. If anybody wishes to drink distilled water, there are much more efficient equipments, and also other approaches that do not entail the large energy expenditures associated with latent heat processes, where a lot of energy is required and end up wasted. My two cents. Amclaussen.

jmwells10 months ago
A good tutorial. Minor suggestion, pour the final product back and forth between containers several times. The distilling process also removes most of the dissolved oxygen. Leaving the water with a flat taste. The splashing/pouring action reintroduces oxygen.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE ARE TRYING TO LIVE HEALTHY AS WE ARE 70. WATER IS IMPORTANT INDEED. NOW I KNOW HOW TO MAKE DISTILLED WATER AND THANKS TO YOU , I LEARNED HOW TO PUT OXYGEN BACK INTO WATER. ALOHA FROM HAWAII BEN

Mahalo. I've had to distill water at times when I was in the Air Force. You learn what works by doing sometimes. Jack
meismeems9 months ago

So simple! I can do that! Thank you!

moonshine889 months ago
I did this as a project in 5th or 6th grade for process of how water and clouds and such all work........I got an A for it ;)
shebert29 months ago
If it's easy to find ice, where will you find water?
amalkhan (author)  shebert29 months ago

Not all water is suitable for drink. Also, the ice is not incumbent to the project.

azharz9 months ago

Awesomely done! Keep it up.

also pure distilled water tastes foul. if you remoge all the impurities then you remove the taste. Drinking it will intensify the taste of your own mouth - which is a very unpleasant experience.
mevans3710 months ago
nice lesson.....I saw something similar on a survival show getting distilled water from URINE....however i believe the process was a little bit different(no ice), but the catching of condensation was a part of it. this is GREAT for nature people as well as a survival skill!!
jlawson1510 months ago
Where do u get the ice in the wild?
xaenon jlawson1510 months ago

Ha ha..... in the northern and midwestern United States, finding ice in the outdoors hasn't been much of a problem lately.