Is Boiled Water the Same as Distilled Water?

Published on April 19, 2024

Is Boiled Water the Same as Distilled Water?

The process of water distillation deals with heat. That’s the major reason why many people who don’t know all the peculiarities of water distillation might believe that this process is a synonym for simple water boiling. 

The truth is that these processes aren’t the same, and water boiling shouldn’t be considered a 100% alternative to distillation with the same efficiency rate. Why is it so and what peculiarities of water purification should you learn to understand this difference between these two concepts? This is the question we are going to answer in this short but comprehensive review.

Does Water Becomes Distilled Through Boiling?

To some extent, yes, water becomes distilled through boiling, but that’s not a complete process. To understand a complete process, we need to cover the basics of water distillation.

So, distillation, or purification, is one of the oldest methods of getting rid of unnecessary compounds from the water. This method is also known as water treatment because through this water becomes purer. Except for direct consumption, distilled water is also more effective in terms of using it as a cleaning agent. It can better work with soap, ensuring a more efficient and less time-consuming clothes-washing process. 

The reason why many people confuse distilled water with common boiling is that boiling is part of the process. The first step is to convert liquid into vapor by heating. However, this way only bacteria and certain biological compounds might be killed, while the primary goal of purification is to exclude all extra elements. That’s why it’s necessary to cool the steam and condense it into a liquid form again. All inorganic elements, particles, and compounds will not evaporate. This way they won’t be condensed into a new liquid, and this is how they are removed from the water and the water becomes 99% pure.

What Should You Know About Purification of Water?

Distillation and boiling are two of the most frequently applied methods of water purification. As we’ve already found out, they are different in their goals and methodology. Here are several more differences for you to know:

  • Boiled water is better for drinking compared to distilled. This is because the process of distillation eliminates not only harmful particles but also useful minerals that are organic for water. That’s why it’s not recommended to consume distilled water in drinking.
  • Distillation is a more lengthy and complex process that includes special equipment. While boiling water is just heating it to 1000 C, distillation is also about gathering the evaporation in a special tube, cooling it, and condensing it in pure water. That’s why this process takes more time.

These aren’t the only ways to get rid of unnecessary elements, particles, and compounds. In laboratories, the following methods can be used:

  • Deionisation: a chemical process that is based on the removal of ions.
  • Demineralization: the method that focuses on the reduction of the amount of inorganic mineral salts.

In laboratories, different chemical agents might be used to conduct these processes more efficiently. Calcium carbonate, for example, is applied to adjust the level of pH and alkalinity.

Key Properties of Boiled Water

  • Temperature Stability: Boiled water exhibits enhanced temperature stability, as it has reached its boiling point, which ensures that its temperature remains relatively constant until subjected to external factors.
  • Taste Enhancement: Boiled water often exhibits a smoother and more neutral taste profile. The removal of impurities and volatile substances can contribute to an improved overall taste, making it more palatable for various uses.
  • Inactivation of Parasitic Cysts: Boiling is effective in inactivating parasitic cysts, such as those from Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium, ensuring that the water is safer to consume in regions where these parasites may be present.
  • Increased Solubility: The solubility of certain minerals and salts may increase in boiled water. This can be relevant in applications like cooking and brewing, where precise control over dissolved substances is desirable.
  • Enhanced Oxygenation: Boiling releases dissolved gases, including oxygen. While it removes some gases, the process also facilitates reoxygenation, making the water more suitable for supporting aquatic life in situations where oxygen levels are critical.
  • Mineral Concentration Adjustment: Boiling can lead to a concentration adjustment of minerals in water. Depending on the initial mineral content, boiling may either concentrate or dilute certain minerals, impacting the water's overall composition.
  • Reduced Turbidity: Boiling helps reduce turbidity by causing suspended particles to settle. This clarification process results in clearer water with fewer visible particles, enhancing its visual appeal.

The Bottom Line

On the whole, purification procedures are necessary in different areas, and chemical experiments in laboratories are no exceptions. That’s why everyone should understand the clear distinguishing line between distillation and boiling: the first method is more complex and is used for more specific purposes than just water treatment for drinking. Understanding these key properties of two different methods provides insights into their efficiency for different purposes.

Author: Chemist EU

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