How to Distill Water in the Kitchen

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About: Hello! My name is Jennifer and I love to cook. Baking, grilling, smoking, and frying interest me. Creating my own recipe is even better!

“Distilled water is created through the process of distillation. Basically, in the process of distillation, the pure H2O is boiled out of its contaminants. ... So, as the water (with its contaminants) is boiled, the pure water turns into steam and is captured and cooled and thus becomes distilled water.”- drinkmorewater.com

For this instructable, I will show you how to make your own distilled water at home using the stovetop. I chose this project because my dad, who is 76, uses a breathing machine at night called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. In order for this machine to work, he adds distilled water to it often. He also seems to be running out a lot. I wanted to see if I could create distilled water at home so that I could help him when he runs out.
I looked on the internet for different ideas and based my project on what I had on hand. One less trip to the store is great with me.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

For this instructable you will need:
Dutch oven or a large pot
2 mason jars
2 mason jar lids plus screw on rings
Large glass jar
Ice
Water
Rigid plastic tubing
Aquarium tubing 1/2” diameter about 8” long
Safety glasses
Saw for cutting rigid tubing
Hot glue gun
Stovetop burner

Step 2: Cut the Rigid Tubing

Using a hack saw or other cutting device, cut your rigid tubing into two 1” pieces. Make sure you wear safety glasses while cutting and use a clamp (not shown) to hold your tubing steady as you cut.
My rigid tubing is actually a plastic straw that came with a kit to turn Mason jars into drink containers.

Step 3: Preparing the Flexible Tubing

Use the rigid tubing piece and fit it into either end of the flexible tubing. Add screw on rings before you glue the tubing to the lid.
Use the hot glue gun to seal the rigid tubing to the jar lid. I used the lid that came with a kit that was intended to turn a Mason jar into a drink container. You could also drill a hole in the metal lids that are typically used to make jam/jelly jars. (Just make sure you wear safety glasses.)

Step 4: Adding Water and Assembling

Fill one of the jars almost to the top with about 1” headspace left. Leave the other jar empty and attach the lid with the tubing and screw on rings.

Step 5: Preparing the Cold Side

In order to condense the water vapor back into liquid water, you have to create a colder environment. Place the empty jar into a larger jar and fill the area surrounding the smaller jar with ice.

Step 6: Preparing the Dutch Oven

Fill the Dutch oven 2/3 full of tap water. Place the Mason jar contains water inside the Dutch oven. Place the structure on the stovetop burner and turn the burner to high heat. You want the water to boil so that water vapor will be created.
Initially, I was going to do this with my sous vide immersion cooker but then I realized it only got to 211.8 degrees Fahrenheit. I needed the water to boil and that just wasn’t going to cut it. So close!

Step 7: The Result

As the water begins to heat up and vaporize, you will see a change in the flexible tubing. It will become fogged. In the cold side of the apparatus, you will notice condensation forming and droplets of water running down the inside. Water will begin to collect inside at the base of the jar and this will be your distilled water that is free from contamination.
In addition to using this water for a CPAP machine, you can also use it for:
Steam irons
Neto pots
Coffee machines
Automotive needs
Humidifiers
Using distilled water will keep minerals from building up in appliances and therefore, you won’t have to use vinegar to clean your devices.

I’m very glad that I made this project. Having homemade distilled water on hand will be very useful. And best of all, my dad will have his very own supply so that he never has to run out again. (I just have to remember to take it to his house. LOL)
Thank you very much for reading my Instructable. I hope you found something of value that you can put to good use.

-Jennifer
ButterMyBiscuits

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    65 Discussions

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    MarioL111

    Tip 3 months ago

    Tap water should be boiled for several minutes to expel volatile organics before it is distilled.

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    RonGarza

    Tip 3 months ago on Step 7

    Jennifer, Peltier chips are little wafers that use electricity to transfer heat, leaving cold on one side and heat on the other. I haven't actually experimented with one but they sound promising.

    7 replies
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    mjbirdRonGarza

    Reply 3 months ago

    Peltier chips have a maximum temperature gradient (difference between one side and the other) of about 70C. So, the ambient temperature would have to be 30C or higher to get to boiling temperatures. So, only on a summer's day. :-)

    One thing you might try is to pre-heat it using peltier (or a microwave oven or an electric kettle) before pouring into the first Mason jar to speed up the time to boil. Then use the stovetop to keep it going.

    Also, pay attention to what fzbw9br said. You need an overpressure relief valve.

    Do NOT use distilled water for coffee, except to clean the coffeemaker. Humans should not drink distilled water, it leeches minerals out of your body. Yes, if you have a normal diet, you should be able to replace the minerals, but I'd rather drink the reverse osmosis water and save the distilled for my BiPAP.

    Lastly, I use BiPAP (CPAP on steroids) and I have made do with reverse osmosis water. Not as good as distilled, but MUCH better than tap.

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    ButterMyBiscuitsmjbird

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you very much for your thoughts and ideas. Some of the points have been discussed in other discussions but as for leaching minerals...

    “Some sources claim that drinking distilled water will help detoxify your body and improve your health. Others claim distilled water leaches minerals from your body and could put your health at risk. In reality, neither of these claims is entirely true.”-Healthline.com

    “It is not dangerous to drink distilled water as part of a balanced diet, which should include foods that replace any minerals lost through sweat.”-MedicalNewsToday.com

    “Because you already get most of the minerals you need from your diet, drinking distilled water shouldn’t make you deficient. Still, if you are going to drink distilled water, it’s a good idea to make sure you get your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.”-Healthline.com

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    RonGarzaButterMyBiscuits

    Reply 3 months ago

    Still, mjbird states an important point, that "Peltier chips have a maximum temperature gradient (difference between one side and the other) of about 70C.". I looked into johan's heat sinks, and will try to find something similar (USA) stateside; I'm hoping the breeze will act as a fan that doesn't scare off the HBs. It may be asking too much for a chip to boil -- even surface -- water on one side and condense it on the other, but the proof is in actually doing it.

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    johan.j.edmanButterMyBiscuits

    Reply 3 months ago

    They are used in cooling boxes that you plug into your car's cigarette lighter (12v socket), Mini usb fridges and so on.
    They are also used in heat powered fans for wooden stoves and so on. (When one side is warmer than the other it starts to produce electricity.)
    Google Thermoelectric cooler (TEC) or Thermoelectric generator (TEG) for a lot information.

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    RonGarzajohan.j.edman

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks, Johan. It may not work for boiling and condensing but it would be great if it did. At a less intense level, I could use this Peltier chip to chill the bottom of my hummingbird feeder. We have had many days of over 100F 37C temperature. I'm thinking solar power, since that is when the nectar solution needs cooling. Would there be a way to run this without a fan? The noise would keep the birds away, I think.

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    DeanR31

    3 months ago on Step 7

    This is a great Instructable. But in the time it takes to do this, and the cost of utilities, it is much cheaper to buy a gallon from Krogers for $.99.

    1 reply
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    ButterMyBiscuitsDeanR31

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you for your thoughts. Remember, not everybody has access to a Kroger down the road. (See other discussions) Instructables has readers from all over the world and not all of them can make a quick trip to the store. One reader pointed out that he has limited mobility and doesn’t drive anymore.
    In addition, I made this apparatus with things I had in my home. I spent $0 out of pocket and the apparatus is more than a one time use.

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    fzbw9br

    3 months ago

    You just built a small bomb!
    Myou need to vent it!

    4 replies
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    ButterMyBiscuitsfzbw9br

    Reply 3 months ago

    Remember, there is a cold side too. Air that expands on the hot side does the opposite in the ice chamber.

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    fzbw9brButterMyBiscuits

    Reply 3 months ago

    if you produce steam fast enough, it won't have time to cool, and will create pressure.

    steam volume is something like 1700 times that of an equal weight of water.

    Best to vent.

    ALL commercial distillers are vented.

    Better to be safe, just drill a small hole. you lose SOME steam, but could save your eyesight from flying glass.

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    ButterMyBiscuitsfzbw9br

    Reply 3 months ago

    As the hot side heated up so did the glue from the hot glue gun. The coupling separates easily at that point.
    In addition, as stated in the Instructable, the glue holds the rigid tubing in place and the flexible tube slides over the rigid tubing.
    Easy disconnect...

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    RobT28

    3 months ago on Step 3

    I also use a CPAP machine and I run it on tap water. I presume you live in a hard water area. You can buy de-ionised water cheaper than distilling your own and that is as good as distilled for a CPAP.

    3 replies