Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Distilled vs. Deionized water

The production of true distilled water is exorbitant in cost to
produce Distilled water is water in which the minerals are removed
by double steam distillation. That does not insinuate that the water
is also free of microbes,dissolved salts (such as chloroform,
and trichloroethylenes, methylenes, and trivalent ketones in addition
to pathogens, and whatever else is in the water sample that does not
solve out with the boiling point of water…so the vapours carry the
remnants to the collection (point-of-use) chamber.

Deionized water is something entirely different and is what results
in most “home water distilling” machines,and more accurately reverse
osmosis, membrane filtration, and/or neutralizing filtration units in
which water is not double steam treated in general but at most
electrically condensed and collected at the point -of-use as opposed
to the point-of-entry type home water processing equipment connected
to a natural gas supply and devoid of metallic pipes. The result of
which is deionized, but the minerals and salts are generally still
present in the resulting matter.Otherwise there would be layers of
crystals and other impurities that would have to be cleaned out with
each use of the home machine…and given the impatience of most of
america,we can presume,as do the manufacturers- that it is not going
to happen, in addition to being a breeding ground for bacteria
because of the warm environment that is a constant,. Without
additional filtration the fact is that most of these point-of-use
systems make water more corrosive to metals than if straight out of
a municipal water supply tap,requiring the additional neutralization
by carbon, or activated charcoal filtration among other materials,my
personal favorites being ultra-violet light and fine,.999.9 silver
mesh (medically pure silver) NOT the fine silver we get from
suppliers as jewelers.

Commercially distilled water Must, to be sold in the USA as such,be
at a minimum: Produced by double steam distillation,and have on site,
“neutralization filtration units that are functioning”,( though not
necessarily connected to the whole system’s processing…go figure!)
To sell deionized water as distilled water would be in conflict with
FTC regulations regarding the sale of foods beverages and cosmetics,
and all monies would be considered “ill-gotten” and proceeded
against. However the FDA does not see it quite the same way… It is
generally not recommended for drinking,unless it is sterilised and is
truly distilled.Those are the facts according to all recent and
historical (1932 forward) decisions and opinions of the FTC.The FDA
however allows bottled waters, unless labeled as spring water to be
quite broadly, vaguely defined.

So what does this mean for us as jewelers, this adding distilled
water off the shelf to our pickle pots??? or to make other chemical
solutions for which we may have been taught distilled water is
best…: Since it is,potentially more corrosive it may be more
desirable for pickle solutions containg chemicals like sodium
bisulphate… Since it may have microbes in it it may hasten the
growth of mold since citric acid, and how it is handled and how the
pickle pot itself is maintained weigh heavily on the potential for
molds slimes,and other fungal matter to grow. Nothing more, nothing

In my opinion the confusion and linguistic drift into such broad
usage of the term “distilled” water comes from the mid 20th century
research that proferred sterile or distilled water was an excellent
choice for babies formulas and to administer under doctors
recommendations for various conditions in which micro bacteria could
worsen an individual’s condition…That interchange of sterile and
distilled perhaps explains why this discussion is continuing even

Completely aside from jewelry making,if you believe your local
distributor is being untruthful in labeling your distilled water
simply report it to the FDA. It’s a done deal from there- you have
taken the subject as far as it can go.


The National Sanitation Foundation operates a voluntary
certification program for water treatment products.and can to provide
you with about water treatment devices and technologies.
Address: The National Sanitation Foundation, 3475 Plymouth Road,
P.O. Box 1468, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, (313) 769-8010.
Misrepresentations or fraudulent claims can be addressed to the
Federal Trade Commission, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, DC 20580, Phone: (202) 326-2222, or to the Attorney
General of your state.


Buying A Home Treatment Unit. Facts for Consumers. Federal Trade
Commission, August, 1989.

Home Drinking Water Treatment… EPA Fact Sheet. U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Region IX, San Francisco, California, July, 1988.

Distillation and Desalination Processing and Production in Small
Scale Closed Water Systems of Remote Indigenous Populations in the
Western Hemisphere, Dr.R.Rourke,Tulane University,National Science
Foundation, 1972

G’day; When tap water is distilled, any bacteria, viruses and other
such nasties are killed by the 100C heat. Oh yes; there are a few
bacteria which can live at temperatures of 100C or a little higher,
but you are unlikely to find any in tap water. I have worked in
laboratories, some of which did very accurate chemical analyses most
of my life, and all had their own professionally made. continuous
water stills. I tested the water every day and never found anything
likely to affect our work. If water is distilled in enclosed
equipment, it cannot absorb anything other than carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere and a little air. If sterile water is essential; as
for work with bacterial cultures, or for medical purposes, then
heating in enclosed vessels which are contained in autoclaves or
even good quality domestic pressure cookers which attain a
temperature of 121C will completely sterilise it. I can prove this.

If the distilled water is kept in a stoppered vessel it cannot
deteriorate. It cannot corrode any common metal. It may contain tiny
amounts of volatiles, so really analytical quality distilled water is
first heated with a powerful oxidising agent such as potassium
permanganate. However, if water contains a lot of carbon dioxide,
like rain; dilute and mild carbonic acid will be produced and
corrode copper and other metals, also limestone This latter producing
’hard’ water which needs more soap to generate a lather with soap.
Such acid water carves all the huge limestone caves and passages
De-ionised water is not at all the same.-

Cheers for now,
JohnB of NZ