best substitute for distilled water

Best Substitute for Distilled Water

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

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

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

We’ll discuss the best substitute for distilled water in the post below, whether you are using 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 the liquid state. This process is the most effective in removing all impurities from water.

You can make it yourself at home, however, it requires a lot of time especially when you need large amounts of distilled water. In case you don’t have time to make distilled water you can use other alternatives.

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 substitute for distilled water. Compared to other distilled water substitutes this type is the most similar since the water doesn’t have minerals.   There are 3 methods that are normally used to process demineralized water. 

They include ion exchange, membrane filtration and electro deionization. These processes provide very clean water that is 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 not the same. The major difference between the two is the methods used to create the water.

Distilled water is produced after boiling the water up to the boiling point and then collecting the steam that forms 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 to use in your steam cleaner or clothing steamer if you cannot get distilled water.

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

Demineralized and deionized water are often labelled 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

Is boiled water the same as distilled water? 

Boiled water is not the same as distilled water. As the water boils, the steam vapor is condensed into a liquid state 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? 

To make distilled water at home, you will need a large pot, heating element, 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 then 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 need to put some ice cubes above the lid to condense the steam back into liquid.
  4. Place the glass in a way that the condensed water droplets fall into the bowl.

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

Bottled water contains some minerals unlike distilled water which is 100% pure. It is not recommended to use bottled water over a long period of time, as the minerals present 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 water is always the best choice.

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

The main difference between hard water 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 these minerals.

When it comes to taste, soft water is slightly salty while hard water has an earthy taste since it has more mineral components.  

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


Now you know that demineralized or deionized water are 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 on a regular basis.

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