Best Substitute for Distilled Water

best substitute for distilled water

Most people prefer using tap water in their steam cleaner or clothing steamer; it’s quick and simple.

The problem with this is that unfiltered tap water contains over 2000 tiny contaminants. Some contaminants may include bacteria, protozoa, viruses, chemical pollutants, heavy metals, and microplastics, among other impurities.

You can use different water purification methods, such as ion exchange filters, carbon filters, and reverse osmosis filtration systems. However, most of these systems are expensive or challenging to use. 

In 2023 however, finding distilled water is easier said than done. With so much demand comes a distilled water shortage. In this post, I’ll discuss the best substitute for distilled water, whether you use it for your steam cleaner, clothing steamer, or steam mop.

What is Distilled Water?

substitute distilled water

Distilled water is obtained when you boil water and then condense the water vapor back into a liquid state. This process is the most effective in removing all impurities from water.

Distilling water at home requires a lot of time, especially when you need ample water.

Below are the best alternatives to distilled water if you can’t use distilled water in your steam mop, steam cleaner, or clothing steamer.

The Best Substitute for Distilled Water 

alternative to distilled water

Demineralized Water 

Demineralized water is one of the best substitutes for distilled water. Three methods are normally used to process demineralized water. 

They include ion exchange, membrane filtration, and electro-deionization. These processes provide clean water free from all forms of impurities and minerals.  

What is the difference between distilled and demineralized water? 

Distilled and demineralized water have very common attributes, but they are different. The significant difference is the methods used to create the water.

Distilled water is produced after heating water up to the boiling point and then collecting the steam from the boiling water. During this process, all minerals and contaminants are removed.  

Demineralized water is obtained using filtration to remove the minerals. The only disadvantage of demineralized water is that it contains some impurities.

Besides that, all the minerals are eliminated. In short, distilled water is purer than demineralized water. 

What are the uses of demineralized water? 

Unlike distilled water that is 100% pure, some impurities are left behind when processing demineralized water. You can use demineralized water for other purposes such as:

  • Aquariums to control the pH levels of water
  • For automotive purposes like in cooling systems or lead-acid batteries  
  • Laboratory applications 
  • Cleaning circuit boards 
  • Steam cleaning machines and steam irons 
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing 
  • Laser cooling and laser cutting applications 

Deionized Water

Deionized water (such as zero water) is another substitute for distilled water for your steam cleaner or clothing steamer if you cannot get distilled water.

Deionizing water is done through a filtration system that removes the ions, or minerals, from the water.

Demineralized and deionized water are often labeled interchangeably.

Demineralized or deionized water are the only two alternatives to distilled water for steamers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Distilled Water

substitute for distilled water

Does Boiling Water Distill It?

Boiled water is not the same as distilled water. As the water boils, the steam vapor is condensed into a liquid to form distilled water. Boiling water kills microorganisms and removes dissolved gases. Boiling water does not remove inorganic materials, such as those that clog your steamer.

How can I make distilled water at home? 

Making distilled water at home can be done with a large pot, a heating element, a glass bowl, and a rack.  It’s a long and tedious process, which I have covered in this article here. Here’s a quick overview of the steps:
1. Add water to the large pot and place it on the heating element or heat source.
2. Place the pot’s lid upside down to collect the steam coming from the boiling water.
3. You must put some ice cubes above the lid to condense the steam into liquid.
4. Place the glass so that the condensed water droplets fall into the bowl.

Can bottled water be used instead of distilled water in a steamer? 

Bottled water is a type of filtered water that still contains some minerals. It is not recommended to use bottled water over a long period of time, as the solid calcium carbonate deposits will still build up inside your steamer.

Can I use reverse osmosis water instead of distilled water in my steam cleaner? 

Reverse osmosis water contains some minerals which are not found in distilled water. Reverse osmosis water can be used in the short term. However, distilled or demineralized water is always the best choice.

What’s the difference between hard water and soft water?

The main difference between hard and soft water is that hard water contains more dissolved minerals than soft water.  As a result, it can easily cause clogging of appliances or pipes due to the buildup of solid calcium carbonate deposits.

Can You Use Purified Water in a Steam Cleaner?

It depends on how the water has been purified. Some dissolved gases, such as carbon dioxide, or dissolved solids like silica may still be present in purified water. Carbon filtration water may contain dissolved gases, dissolved solids, or microorganisms.

Associated Reading: Can I Use Tap Water in My Steamer?


Now you know that demineralized or deionized water is the best substitute for distilled water, you can ensure you use only these alternatives or distilled water in your steaming device.

If you choose to use other types of water in your steamer, you will most likely shorten its life span, particularly if you don’t descale your steamer regularly. Some steam mops can’t be descaled, so use tap water cautiously.


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