Does Distilled Water Taste Any Different From Regular Tap?

As you're walking past the grocery store aisle where you'll find the packages of both cheap and expensive bottled water, you notice it's there that the store is selling distilled water. But it doesn't seem different than the stuff you get out of the tap at home, so what makes it so special? 

As registered dietarian nutritionist Elizabeth Barnes explains to Food Network, distilled water is water that is purified through a process known as steam distillation, the process of collecting steamed water that has been re-liquified. The purpose of this distillation process, Barnes says, is to refine the water down to its purest elements — in this case, hydrogen and oxygen. Compare that with tap water, which contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. 

So if distilled water is water at its purest, free from any other elements, does it taste any different than the tap water you'd get from your kitchen sink? Could you even drink distilled water at all?

Some say that distilled water has a flat taste

To put it simply, it's entirely possible to drink distilled water the same as you would drink any other kind of water. If you don't have access to clean water, drinking distilled water is said to be a very safe choice, helping to prevent the symptoms of dehydration as well as regular water. But distilled water, believe it or not, actually does differ slightly from tap water in terms of taste. 

Those who try distilled water for the first time may say that it's flat or lacks a certain crispness or flavor that you may find in regular tap or bottled water. This is because distilled water is devoid of those minerals that come in tap water. While you may not have ever considered magnesium or calcium to have a taste, the presence of those minerals gives tap water that subtle but distinct flavor, unlike distilled water. Some people may not mind the taste of distilled water, but there are those who'll say that it's not something they'd drink too often. 

While drinking distilled water has no harmful side effects and is totally safe, its flat flavor may make it an acquired taste for some. Though its taste may be somewhat unexpected, distilled water actually has many more uses outside of just drinking it.

Distilled water is used in everything from cleaning to aquariums

A man is cleaning out his aquarium. Someone down the street from you is washing their car. A woman is ironing some clothes for the day ahead. What do all of these people have in common? They're all likely to use distilled water, something prized for being versatile in cleaning. The reason behind this again lies in the water's chemical makeup. 

If you've ever washed a window or cleaned a glass table with tap water and soap, you may notice the streaks left behind. This is because of tap water's mineral content, which forms that clear, stain-like residue as the liquid dries. Since distilled water doesn't have those minerals or contaminants, it leaves no streaks or smudges behind. Distilled water is also good for steaming irons because the hot steam contains no minerals that could build up in your machine. 

It's the purity of distilled water that makes it so versatile. Even if you don't drink it, you can still find many uses for it around your home.