Distilled Water and De-Ionized Water—Is There A Difference?

We all know that water is not created equal. Our taste buds assure us of that fact; we can detect even the slightest of tanginess, thanks to those organs in our tongue. The same goes for purified water. There are a lot of types of purified water (distilled water, de-ionized water, reverse osmosis, chemical oxidations, and others). All are similar but they are not the same.

Two of the most popular modes of purification is distillation (which produce distilled water, of course) and de-ionization (de-ionized water as the product). Because of the difference of procedures, it follows too that the two products are not equivalent.

The process of distillation is a physical process that involves the evaporation of a liquid (in this case, water) by heating and then condensing its vapors thereby removing any impurities found in it.  In distilled water, the mixture of the water and the comtaminants are separated so pure water remain.

De-ionized water, or DI water, on the other hand, is water that has its ions removed. Ions are charged atoms or molecules. It is charged because the number of electrons do not equal the number of protons in the atom or molecule. If there are more electrons than protons, the ion is negatively charged. Conversely, a positive-charged ion has more protons than electrons. Now, DI water goes through a chemical process that uses these charges to remove these same ions to the solution.

However, both distilled water and DI water has its drawbacks. Here’s why:

As we have understood earlier, distilled water is obtained by heating the water, letting it evaporate, and then condensing into a separate container. In this process, the water can be separated from the contaminants. These impurities are left behind in the original dish. But we should remember that compunds have different boiling points. Those compounds that have boiling points between 68 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit are the only ones that removed; those over the boiling point of water do not. Moreover, the containers used can also contaminate the water that is being collected. For this reason, most water distillers also have a charcoal filter and/or a vent to allow for these extra chemicals to be removed from the water, resulting in close to 100% pure water.

what about DI water?

You can be assured that DI water gets rid of all ions but what it does not do, unlike distilled water, is remove viruses, bacteria, organics, and all other non-ionic compounds in the water.

Now, while it is illogical to believe that we can get rid of water pollutants altogether at 100 percent, there are other ways to make sure that we can exterminate as many as possible. For example, we can procure safer distilled water by combining distillation with carbon filtration. Studies show that a combination of the two boosts volatile organic compounds removal rates by almost 99.9 percent under typical conditions.

Like distilled water, the process of reverse osmosis can also be added aside from de-ionization. It is widely accepted that reverse osmosis can block salts and other minerals, as well as pathogens.

So far, the quest for the purest drinking water is found in distilled warer that also goes through carbon filtration.