Is Distilled Water Hard or Soft? Soft Water vs. Hard Water

Is Distilled Water Hard or Soft?

Distilled water is the purest water produced. Scientists use it in their labs to perform regulated reactions such as sterilizing medical equipment and removing the chances of water reacting. Normally we can divide water into two types; soft and hard. Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium, while soft water is free of these. Distilled water, on the other hand, contains no dissolved solids or other impurities. So, is it hard or soft?

Distilled water is very soft water because it lacks all dissolved minerals. Water hardness is a measure of the concentration of two minerals – calcium and magnesium. Water with a concentration of 17.1 milligrams per liter of calcium and magnesium is considered slightly hard. Because distilled water has no dissolved solids, including the minerals that comprise hardness, it is considered to be soft.

You may be wondering whether the mineral deficit makes distilled water safe to consume now. So, keep reading to learn more about the differences and similarities between soft water, learn the pros and cons, and much more!

Is Distilled Water Hard or Soft?

Both distilled and soft water are purer forms of water. However, let’s look at the ground facts about distilled and soft water that set them apart.

Distilled water

The distillation process gives off distilled water, which involves boiling and condensing the steam into a liquid.

This process removes impurities from the water, such as minerals and other dissolved substances.

On the other hand, soft water is treated to remove hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium that make water “hard.” This treatment ensures that the mineral content is only lessened to the point where it doesn’t affect consumers’ skin or form ugly white streaks on utensils or bathroom ware.

Water hardness

However, what exactly is the right amount of mineral content in soft water? Here’s the standard for hardness in water measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L) of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The range of water hardness is:

  • Soft: less than 17.1 mg/L
  • Slightly hard: 17.1-60 mg/L
  • Moderately hard: 60-120 mg/L
  • Hard: 120-180 mg/L
  • Very hard: more than 180 mg/L

Distilled water is free of dissolved minerals. As a result, the concentration of minerals in distilled water is typically less than one mg/L or undetectable.

You can understand that the primary difference between distilled water and soft water is its mineral content.

Distilled water is completely free of minerals, while soft water has some of its minerals removed but still contains some dissolved minerals.

The former also has a neutral pH, while soft water gives a slightly higher pH due to the dissolved minerals. Due to the mineral deficit, distilled water has no taste, while soft water may taste somewhat salty or metallic.

Is It Safe to Drink Distilled Water?

Soft and distilled water are treated types, so it is suitable and safe to drink. However, as previously discussed, distilled water lacks any kind of minerals.

Drinking distilled water means consuming clean water with no taste and no minerals. Consuming this type of water for extended periods can cause a mineral deficit in your body.

As for soft water, it is often preferred for household and personal use, as it doesn’t cause buildup or leave behind mineral residue. It may have a more pleasant taste, than distilled water, due to the dissolved minerals.

Note: If mineral deficiencies are a concern to you, or you’re on a special diet/treatment, it’s best to consult your doctor or a healthcare professional regarding water consumption.

Hard water

Hard water has a high mineral content, particularly calcium and magnesium. While these minerals are not harmful to human health, they can cause a number of issues for households and businesses. The minerals in hard water can reduce the effectiveness of soap and cleaning products, making it more difficult to clean dishes, clothes, and other surfaces.

Hard water can also cause skin irritation and exacerbate certain skin conditions. Overall, the negative impacts of hard water can be significant, which is why many people choose to install water softening or treatment systems to reduce the mineral content of their water.

Types of Water and Their Uses

We have discussed, in detail, the differences between distilled and soft water, and we know they are safe for drinking, but are there any better alternatives for drinking, cooking, or cleaning and washing?

Below we explore different types of water and how they can be used in and around the home:

1. Drinking

Bottled water and spring water are ideal for drinking.

Some companies source it from natural springs. Others like to do it from municipal water sources where water is treated for purification.

Generally, spring water is pure and may contain dissolved minerals that give it a distinct taste. Depending on the source, spring water can be categorized as soft or moderately hard water.

Water treated through reverse osmosis, distillation, or carbon filtration to remove impurities and dissolved minerals can be considered distilled or filtered.

Bottled water may be one of the above or a healthy mixture. This means bottled water doesn’t have a mineral deficit, nor is it too hard to consume or leave an aftertaste.

As long as the water you drink is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you’re good to go.

2. Cooking

In general, both distilled and soft water works well for the majority of the recipes people use and the preferences they have.

Soft water is a good choice as it does not affect the taste or texture of food and has a lower concentration of minerals. It can also be beneficial for making dough, as it helps with creating a light, airy texture.

Distilled water is a good choice for specific applications such as sterilizing medical equipment. However, as it is completely free of dissolved minerals, it can affect food taste in recipes where water is a key ingredient, such as soups, stews, pulses, etc.

3. Cleaning and washing

The best type of water for dishes and showering, such as soft water, is free of impurities and contaminants, and safe for human use.

Soft water is preferred as it is less likely to cause buildup or leave behind mineral residue on dishes, glassware, and shower heads. Soft water can also benefit those with sensitive skin, as it can help reduce the amount of soap scum and mineral buildup on the skin.

You can use distilled and filtered water for dishes and showering, but filtered water is less effective in removing soap scum and mineral buildup.


Is distilled water softer?

Distilled water is technically softer than both soft and hard water. Hard water loses all its minerals through an efficient and effective distillation process. So, in contrast to soft water, which contains a minor concentration of minerals, distilled water has no minerals.

Does distilled water have minerals in it?

Distilled water is free from all impurities and minerals. There are almost zero minerals present in pure distilled water.

Is bottled water soft?

Whether or not bottled water is soft or hard depends on the specific brand and its source. Some bottled water comes from natural springs, which may contain minerals that make the water hard. Other brands of bottled water may be filtered to remove minerals, resulting in softer water.

Final Thoughts

Distilled water is not soft water, and the small amount of minerals in soft water is beneficial in some cases, such as drinking or making dough. In comparison, hard water is a bigger nuisance as it can wreak havoc on your house’s plumbing.

Distilled water is great for cleaning as it won’t leave residue, but it can be challenging to clean soap scum with it since it lacks any minerals to counter the soap scum.

The Filter Guy

Scott Birch is a water filtration installer and designer. He has worked in the industry for many years and is very familiar with and knowledgeable about residential water treatment equipment. Scott enjoys helping people get the most out of their water filtration systems and ensuring that their homes are getting the best possible quality of water.

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