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How to Distill Water

Arjun Kulkarni Sep 26, 2018
Distilled water is a pure form of water that is produced by condensing water vapors from impure water. Apart from being a major science project and used for drinking purposes, it has several industrial applications as well. Here we tell you how you can distill water.
If you're afraid that your tap water which you drink everyday might not be safe for drinking, or if you're camping somewhere outdoors, and you are low on clean drinking water, then distilled water is definitely the option for you.
It is very easy to make and is great to prevent the build-up of minerals in machines. It converts any kind of water source like river water, lake water, salt water, etc., into the purest form of water by removing all the bacteria, viruses, toxins, chemicals, and other waste.
It is used by people in many parts of the world for different industrial projects. The most common use that you'll see is in drinking, car batteries, and steam irons. Before learning about the distillation process, it is important that we first know what exactly distillation is.

What is Distilled Water?

It is said to be the purest form of water. The chemical composition of water is said to contain only hydrogen and oxygen, but water acts as a host to other substances including various minerals and other impurities which are dissolved in it. Distillation is a process which clears up all these impurities present in the water, producing clean and pure water.
It is used in various chemical projects. Scientists specifically use this water as there are chances that some of the dissolved minerals and impurities may interfere with some of the chemical processes. Hence, for the chemical reactions to go right, they need water which contains no impurities whatsoever.
Distilled water is also recommended for human consumption in the form of drinking water, though some schools of thought believe that the minerals and impurities that come mixed with spring water or rainwater are good for the human body. The human body does need certain essential minerals and the natural water supplies them in the required quantity.
Of course, there are certain caveats to the use of distilled water. It does not stay pure for too long as atmospheric carbon dioxide soon dissolves in it. This lowers its pH level and makes it more acidic. Hence, if carbon dioxide is absorbed by the water, the water no longer retains its purity and its use.
Moreover, it becomes harmful for human consumption. Hence, while using distilled water, precautions must be taken to ensure that it has not absorbed carbon dioxide, otherwise its use is negated.

How to Make Distilled Water?

So, now that you know what it is, let us see how we can distill water at home. There are many ways in which you can distill water.

Method #1

For this process, you will need...
  • 5 gallon stainless steel container
  • Rounded lid
  • Small container that floats inside the large container
  • Ice cubes


  • First, pour the water in the large container.
  • Get all the materials ready and place the container on top of the heater.
  • Set the small container in the large one such that it collects the water dripping from the center of the lid.
  • Now heat the water. When the temperature of the water reaches its boiling point, the liquid water will turn into water vapors.
  • This water vapor will rise into the air and form droplets on the inverted lid that will eventually fall in the smaller container.
  • Turn down the heat on the stove when the water begins to boil.
  • Now, put the ice cubes on top of the inverted lid.
  • This will create the hot-cold barrier for condensing the steam.
  • You can continue to boil till you have enough water in the bowl. Then, turn off the heat and remove the bowl of distilled water carefully.
  • The water which you will get in the small container will be your 'distilled water'.
  • Store in a clean and sterilized container or bottles so that your water does not get contaminated again.

Method #2

You can also collect the distilled water outside the container by using a funnel with aquarium tubing by placing it at a lower level than the funnel. This will avoid the contamination of water from the container.

Method #3

You can also collect distilled water from rain or snow. They are the purest form of water and are naturally condensed in the atmosphere to fall as precipitation. Collect rainwater or snow in a container.
Allow the sediments to settle down at the bottom of the container for a day or two. If you live in a pollution-free area, then you can drink the water as it is by pouring off the clean water. However, if required, you can run the water through additional filtration process such as boiling. Store it in a refrigerator or at room temperature in a clean bottle.
The word distillation is not only limited to water. There are many more types of distillation such as fractional distillation, which can be used for other liquids to get them in a purer form.