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Filtrate vs. Residue: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 4, 2023
"Filtrate" is the liquid that has passed through a filter, whereas "Residue" is what's left behind after filtration.

Key Differences

Filtration processes divide substances into two parts: the "Filtrate" and the "Residue". The "Filtrate" is the clear liquid that emerges after passing through a filter, while the "Residue" remains atop or within the filter medium.
Picture making coffee using a French press. The "Filtrate" would be the liquid coffee that pours out, while the "Residue" would be the grounded beans trapped by the press's mesh.
In scientific experiments, particularly in chemistry, a mixture may be filtered to separate solid components from the liquid. The resulting clear liquid is the "Filtrate", and the solid particles that don't pass through the filter constitute the "Residue".
Water purification serves as another example. Here, the "Filtrate" is the clean, drinkable water, whereas the "Residue" encompasses all the impurities and contaminants that the filtering process catches.
Thus, "Filtrate" and "Residue" are opposite outcomes of a filtration process, with the "Filtrate" being the desired, purified product and the "Residue" being the unwanted or separated portion.

Comparison Chart


Liquid that's passed through a filter.
Material left behind after filtration.

Position in Filter

Emerges out of the filter.
Remains on or within the filter.


Generally clear or purified.
Contains impurities or unwanted components.


Often the desired product.
Typically the discarded or secondary outcome.


Mostly liquid, but can also be gaseous.
Usually solid, but can be viscous or semi-solid.

Filtrate and Residue Definitions


The liquid product resulting from filtration.
After filtering the mixture, the Filtrate was clear and free of debris.


What's left behind after an extraction or separation.
After distillation, a thick Residue remained at the bottom of the flask.


A separated solution devoid of its solid components.
By using a fine mesh, they obtained a Filtrate with no visible particles.


Material not passing through a filtering medium.
Upon inspecting the Residue, she noted the presence of several large particles.


What passes through a filtering medium.
The coffee Filtrate had a rich aroma, indicating a successful brewing process.


The remnants of a substance after its primary elements are removed or used up.
After burning the wood, the ash Residue was collected.


The purified portion of a separated substance.
The Filtrate was collected in a beaker for further analysis.


Unwanted or secondary material post-process.
The soap-making left a Residue that was further refined into other products.


To put or go through a filter.


Matter remaining after completion of an abstractive chemical or physical process, such as evaporation, combustion, distillation, or filtration; residuum.


The outcome of a purification method.
The water treatment plant ensures that the Filtrate meets health standards.


The remainder of something after removal of parts or a part.


Material, especially liquid, that has passed through a filter.


The part of a monomer or other chemical unit that has been incorporated into a polymer or large molecule.


The liquid or solution that has passed through a filter, and which has been separated from the filtride / filtrand


(Law) The remainder of a testator's estate after all specific bequests and applicable debts and expenses have been disposed of. Also called residuum.


To filter.


Whatever remains after something else has been removed.


To filter; to defecate; as liquid, by straining or percolation.


(chemistry) The substance that remains after evaporation, distillation, filtration or any similar process.


That which has been filtered; the liquid which has passed through the filter in the process of filtration. Contrasted with retentate, the material remaining on the filter.


(biochemistry) A molecule that is released from a polymer after bonds between neighbouring monomers are broken, such as an amino acid in a polypeptide chain.


The product of filtration; a gas or liquid that has been passed through a filter


(legal) Whatever property or effects are left in an estate after payment of all debts, other charges and deduction of what is specifically bequeathed by the testator.


Remove by passing through a filter;
Filter out the impurities


(complex analysis) A form of complex number, proportional to the contour integral of a meromorphic function along a path enclosing one of its singularities.


That which remains after a part is taken, separated, removed, or designated; remnant; remainder.
The residue of them will I deliver to the sword.
If church power had then prevailed over its victims, not a residue of English liberty would have been saved.


That part of a testeator's estate wwhich is not disposed of in his will by particular and special legacies and devises, and which remains after payment of debts and legacies.


That which remains of a molecule after the removal of a portion of its constituents; hence, an atom or group regarded as a portion of a molecule; a moiety or group; - used as nearly equivalent to radical, but in a more general sense.


Any positive or negative number that differs from a given number by a multiple of a given modulus; thus, if 7 is the modulus, and 9 the given number, the numbers -5, 2, 16, 23, etc., are residues.


Matter that remains after something has been removed


Something left after other parts have been taken away;
There was no remainder
He threw away the rest
He took what he wanted and I got the balance


The remains after a process, often after filtration.
The Residue in the filter was disposed of safely.


Is the Residue always discarded?

Not always. Sometimes, the "Residue" has value or is used for further processing or analysis.

What is the purpose of obtaining a Filtrate?

The purpose is often to separate and obtain a purified liquid devoid of unwanted particles or impurities.

Can both Filtrate and Residue be useful?

Yes, depending on the context, both the "Filtrate" and "Residue" might have significance or utility.

Which is typically clearer, Filtrate or Residue?

"Filtrate" is typically clearer as it's the portion that has passed through the filter.

Do all filtration processes result in a Residue?

Most do, but the nature and amount of "Residue" can vary widely based on the mixture and the filtration method.

Can Filtrate be a gas?

Yes, in processes like gas filtration, the "Filtrate" can be a purified gas.

How can one determine the efficiency of filtration?

By analyzing the purity of the "Filtrate" and the completeness of the "Residue" separation.

What happens if the filter's pores are too large?

A filter with overly large pores might allow some "Residue" to pass through, contaminating the "Filtrate".

Can Filtrate be refiltered?

Yes, "Filtrate" can be refiltered to achieve further purification or clarity.

How is Filtrate typically collected?

"Filtrate" is usually collected in a container placed below the filter setup.

How do you ensure complete filtration?

By choosing appropriate filter media, ensuring proper setup, and sometimes applying pressure or vacuum.

Can the amount of Residue indicate the impurity level of a mixture?

Often, a larger "Residue" might indicate a higher level of solid impurities in the original mixture.

Can a Residue be harmful or toxic?

Yes, depending on the material being filtered, the "Residue" can contain hazardous or toxic components.

Is Residue always solid?

While "Residue" is often solid, it can also be viscous, semi-solid, or even a denser liquid in some cases.

Is it possible for Filtrate to still contain impurities?

Yes, no filtration process is 100% efficient, and some minute impurities might pass through.

Why might the Residue be of interest in scientific experiments?

"Residue" can provide insights into the composition, properties, or reactions of the mixture being studied.

Why might one re-filter a Filtrate?

To achieve greater purity, clarity, or to remove finer particles not caught in the first filtration.

How can Residue be cleaned from filters?

By backwashing, using solvents, or mechanically scraping, depending on the filter type.

Can Filtrate and Residue be recombined?

Yes, they can be mixed back together, though this would negate the purpose of the initial filtration.

In what industries are the concepts of Filtrate and Residue particularly important?

Industries like water treatment, chemical processing, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and more, often rely on these concepts.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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