There’s almost an infinite number of reasons why you could be in need of some distilled water right now.
Perhaps you need it for medical purposes or a brand-new home aquarium! Or maybe your tap water is just so horrible, and you don’t want to have to buy bottled water every week.
Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve stumbled across this article while lost in the middle of the woods and need to figure out how to make some distilled water to survive.
Okay, so you most likely aren’t trapped in the middle of the woods.
If you are and have internet access, you should be calling for help!!
But that’s beside the point.
Whatever reason you make your own distilled water, we’re here to help. Of course, you can go to the store and purchase distilled water but why do that when you can make it at home easily for free?
Before we begin, let’s answer one very simple question. Can you guess what that question might be?
What is Distilled Water?
If you’re looking up how to make distilled water, then you probably already know what it is and the purpose of it.
But just in case you don’t, let’s go over exactly what it is and why you would even want distilled water.
Distilled water is water that has undergone a purification process (and there are a few processes you can use that we’ll talk about) to remove all contaminants, including any minerals in the water.
Like we said, this can be used if you believe your drinking water is unsafe, you can use it for cooking, you can use it to make ice, in humidifiers, household aquariums, steam irons, hospital equipment – there are countless places that will benefit from distilled water usage.
Distilled water is beneficial not only for your health but in some places (e.g. hospital equipment) because lead or any other chemicals won’t collect and clog up the system.
Can’t You Just Boil Your Water?
While boiling your water is an integral part of a couple of the distillation processes, you won’t have distilled water if you just boil your water.
If you’re in a pinch, boiling the water alone will disinfect it and get rid of a lot of the bacteria.
However, it’s not going to get rid of contaminants such as lead, fluoride, etc.
There are a few different ways that you can distill your water and like we said, one of the main ways involves boiling the water.
Boiling water is an integral part of the process.
What does it do exactly though?
The contaminants in the water have a much lower boiling point than water does.
Therefore, when you heat up the water, these contaminants are going to evaporate first, leaving only the pure distilled water.
But the trick is, you need to collect the water vapor and turn it back into just plain old water.
How do you do that, you ask?
Well, let’s get into it.
“The Glass Bowl on the Stove” Method
- Giant five-gallon pot (you’ll also need its lid!)
- Glass bowl
- A decent amount of ice
Okay, cool. Do you have everything you need? Perfect. Now let’s get to distilling!
- The first thing that you’ll want to do is fill the five-gallon pot up about halfway full of whatever contaminated water you’re trying to distill.
- Next, go ahead and place the glass bowl inside the pot, on top of the water.
- One small note here is that you have to make sure that the bowl is not touching the bottom of the pot! This is an important step. It should float by itself, depending on the size of the bowl compared to the pot. If, however, you find that the bowl isn’t floating by itself then place a round backing rack (or something similar) beneath the bowl to ensure that it isn’t touching the bottom of the pot at all.
- After you’ve accomplished this, make the water fairly hot but not quite boiling. If the water starts to boil, then make sure you remember to turn it down. You only need to do this for around five to 10 minutes. The point of this is to allow for the contaminants to completely evaporate. Like we mentioned above, these contaminants have a much lower boiling point than water, so they should all be leaving the water at this stage.
- Now that we’ve gotten rid of the contaminants, we need to collect this magical distilled water. How does one do this, you may ask?
You need to take the lid from the pot that you’re currently using, turn it upside down, and now place it on top of the pot. Now that it’s on top of the pot, throw in a bunch of ice into the lid. This is going to create a condensation effect with the new hot/cold barrier that you’ve just created. Now you have a sort of feedback loop that’s going to fill the bowl in the pot with your newly distilled water! Yay!
- Once the ice starts to melt, feel free to replace the ice on top as needed if your new system isn’t collecting enough water quickly enough.
- As soon as you have your desired amount of distilled water in your glass bowl, it is now time to remove all of the water you have collected.
You need to be careful, though! You were just boiling water in this pot so everything (including the glass bowl you were using) is very likely to be extremely hot.
If you don’t want to take the risk, feel free to wait until everything cools.
- Voila! You’re finished. Now all you need to do is pour the distilled water into a clean water bottle and let it finish cooling, if necessary.
Congratulations! You have now officially made your first batch of distilled water.
You may find yourself thinking:
“Is there an easier way to obtain distilled water?”
Lucky for you, technically there is a much easier way! We’ll warn you now that this process will take a little bit longer.
However, if you’re not in any sort of rush, this way is much easier and requires barely any tools at all.
So, what is it?
Think of nature.
Rain or Snow
Yes! Believe it or not but both the rain and snow (well, any precipitation really) that fall from the sky already come in the form of distilled!
Think about it.
The water evaporates from lakes, puddles, rivers, – anywhere really! Once it evaporates, it condenses into the atmosphere.
Now, as long as you don’t live in a severely polluted area, the water that’s falling down in the form of rain or snow is 100% safe to drink and for all intents and purposes, distilled.
There are only three steps to this process.
- Find a container that you want to collect your water in.
- Place said container outside where it’s going to collect the most rain.
Often times (as long as you clean them first), you can place the container underneath your gutter where all the rainwater runs off!
You might need a fairly large container e.g. a barrel, but a large Rubbermaid container could also work.
- Collect it in a container and then allow a day or so for the sediments to settle. There could be larger particles (dirt, etc), but as far as fluoride and things of the sort, it’ll be completely pure.
Once the sediments are settled, you can literally drink the water straight from the collection tank but most likely you’ll want to pour it into a bottle of sorts and allow it to cool further.
If you’re feeling lazy or really want a large amount of distilled water, you don’t even have to put in that much work?
What if You’re in the Middle of the Forest and Still Need Water?
We thought you’d never ask.
Why it may not be 100% perfectly distilled, you can still have access to water that’s pretty dang close. At the very least, this is going to be clean, drinkable water.
So, what’s the last method?
If you’re out there in the wilderness, camping, and now trapped in the middle of the woods and still need clean water, fear not!
There is still a way for you to get clean drinking water.
It’s going to require a little bit of ingenuity, but we have faith that you’ll get there.
So – what do you need to do?
- Take a cone-shaped object. The best thing would be a liter (or larger) water bottle but a pant leg will also work in a pinch. Tie a piece of cloth over the opening of the bottom so water can get through but nothing larger can get through.
- You need five different layers to distill this water. The first is going to be a layer of charcoal. This is also the most important layer.
If you’re camping, you can literally just use the charcoal that you use for making fires.
The next four layers are going to be alternating layers of sand and small rocks (it doesn’t matter in which order you do this).
- Now, there’s only one thing left to do. Any guesses?
Go ahead and pour that dirty water into the top of the newly-constructed device you have here. It will trickle down and actually filter out any impurities.
By the time it makes it through the cloth, it will be clean drinking water!
The one thing we have to note about this method is that the water won’t be 100% distilled.
If you have access to any of the other methods, we suggest you use them.
We just wanted to include this method to be thorough and just in case you ever find yourself in some sort of survival situation.
Lastly, we thought we would mention distillation kits.
If you’re feeling super bougie and don’t want to put in any sort of work, then consider purchasing a water distillation kit.
This is a good option if you distill a lot of water or don’t have a giant pot and glass bowl to begin with.
In that case, get yourself a distillation kit!
You can literally get them on Amazon.
We hope this was helpful! We wanted to show that you definitely don’t have to buy distilled water.
It’s easy to do and anyone can do it at home for free!