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What is distilled water for and how to make it

Distilled water is water that has undergone a process of evaporation and condensation of the steam obtained for purification through a process called distillation. Therefore, it is a purer water than what we find in nature and it serves us for many aspects of our day to day, even if we are not very aware of it.

If you want to discover more about this type of water, do not hesitate to continue reading, because in this AgroCorrn article we explain what distilled water is for and how to make it . Learn about the uses of distilled water and much more with this practical guide.

You may also be interested in: Why is it important to take care of water

What is distilled water – simple definition

Distilled water is a type of purified water that is obtained through a distillation process consisting of boiling and evaporating impure water in a still and the subsequent collection of the condensed water vapor that has been generated. The source water for preparing distilled water can come from a variety of sources, such as the tap, the sea, snow, rivers and streams, plants, or wells.

As the water evaporates, the impurities present in it are eliminated , whether they are salts, minerals, metals or potentially harmful microorganisms. This is what differentiates distilled water from filtered water, where microbes but not all minerals are removed.

Although, with the distillation of water , most of the minerals and metals are discarded, the purity of the source water is still important because certain impurities (for example, heavy metals such as mercury or volatile organic compounds), evaporate together with the water and are not removed from the distilled water obtained, so they cannot be removed correctly with this process.

To learn more about the process to obtain distilled water, we recommend reading these two AgroCorrn articles on What is water evaporation and examples and What is water condensation and examples .

What is distilled water for – properties and uses

The properties of distilled water are the same as normal raw water , except that, as mentioned above, they lack a large amount of the minerals present in the water prior to distillation, as well as many contaminants originally present in the same. Due to the absence of minerals, distilled water is characterized by its tastelessness . In addition, when the distillation process has been recent, the pH of the distilled water is close to neutral, that is, close to pH 7, although after a while, the distilled water absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its pH decreases. up to 5.8.

Humans have been producing distilled water since ancient times through the process of distilling water. We have produced it for so long because it is so useful to us. But what exactly is distilled water for ? These are the uses of distilled water :

  • Distilled water for human consumption:A priori, distilled water is suitable for human consumption, since the distillation process gives rise to cleaner and purer water than it was originally and is safe to drink. However, being purified, it lacks the minerals naturally present in water, since these are not volatile and are excluded with the evaporation of the water. This is why, although professionals maintain that most of the minerals necessary to maintain good health are obtained from food, distilled water is not the healthiest form of water to drink. Only in case of water contaminated by heavy metals or chemicals such as fluorides or organic compounds, it could be more beneficial to drink it as opposed to non-distilled water. In boats, Distilled water is often produced from seawater for consumption. However, it should also be noted that distilled water, and especially that obtained by home distillation processes, can sometimes contain chemical contaminants from the still.
  • Distilled water is used in experiments and laboratory work: generally, tap water is not suitable for carrying out tests and analyzes in the laboratory, but if it is subjected to a distillation process, it can be used in numerous activities such as in the preparation of solutions, the calibration and sterilization of equipment, as an analytical blank, in the cleaning of glassware or for the preparation of high purity water.
  • Because distilled water is devoid of minerals, it is often used in cars and household appliances , such as steam irons and hot water urns, as well as in humidifiers and vaporizers , as it helps prevent mineral build-up, difference from what can happen when using tap water.
  • Distilled water can also be used in aquariums to avoid the introduction of contaminants or microorganisms present in tap water but, in this case, it is necessary to add mineral supplements along with the food of the organisms that live there to maintain their good health.
  • Distilled water can also be used to water plants .
  • It can also be used in certain medical devices , such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices used to treat sleep apnea.
  • It is used by homebreweries to mimic the type of water used in Pilsner-type beers.

How to make distilled water step by step

Now that you know what distilled water is for and its various uses , we will explain how to make distilled water step by step . There are several methods to make distilled water , which depend on the means available for this purpose and the source from which the water comes. All these methods are based on the principle of separating components from the original mixture according to their various boiling points. To do this, the water is heated to its boiling point, so that the chemical compounds that evaporate at lower temperatures are collected and discarded and the substances whose boiling points are at higher temperatures remain in the container after the evaporation of the water. Thus, the collected distilled water has a higher purity than the original water.

One of the ways in which water can be distilled is by using an oven, stove or grill, for which you need a large container of water (stainless steel or aluminum), as well as other smaller containers (glass or metal) that float in the water contained in the larger container, ice and a pointed lid that serves to cover the large container. If you want to make distilled water at home and you get these supplies, follow these steps:

  1. Fill the larger container with water, inside which you have to place the small containers, which will remain floating.
  2. Light the fire and cover the large container with the inverted lid.
  3. Heat the water to a high temperature, reaching its boiling point so that the water begins to evaporate. As a consequence of this, the water vapor will condense on the surface of the inverted lid; To facilitate the condensation process, ice can be placed on the outside of the lid.
  4. The drops of water vapor condensed on the inverted lid will fall on the floating containers, which serve to collect the distilled water obtained.
  5. When the water has completely evaporated and the distilled water has collected in the small containers, turn off the heat and remove the containers.
  6. Save the distilled water that you have obtained. To do this, keep in mind that this water must be kept in containers intended for long-term storage and previously clean (and, when possible, sterilized), in order to ensure that it does not become contaminated. In addition, when preparing distilled water, care must also be taken not to contaminate it during its production process, as could happen when using equipment with the presence of contaminants that could pass from glass or other material into water, so it is necessary use materials or instruments that are very clean or, preferably, sterilized.

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