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Tap Water vs. Distilled Water: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 4, 2023
Tap water is water supplied through municipal systems, typically containing minerals and impurities, while distilled water is water that has been boiled and condensed, removing most impurities and minerals.

Key Differences

Tap water is the water that comes from municipal sources, usually treated to be safe for drinking and other uses. Distilled water, however, is the result of distillation, a process that involves boiling water and then condensing the steam back into a liquid, effectively removing most of its impurities and minerals.
The mineral content in tap water varies depending on the source but typically includes calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals. Distilled water, on the other hand, lacks these minerals, as the distillation process removes most of them, resulting in a more pure form of water.
Tap water often contains added fluoride and chlorine to make it safe for drinking, while distilled water, having undergone distillation, is free of these additives and most other contaminants.
In terms of taste, many people find tap water to have a more pronounced flavor due to its mineral content, whereas distilled water is often described as having a flat or neutral taste because it lacks these minerals.
Tap water is readily available and convenient for everyday use, while distilled water is often used in situations where purity is essential, such as in laboratories, medical facilities, and in certain industrial processes.

Comparison Chart


Municipal water systems
Process of boiling and condensation

Mineral Content

Contains minerals like calcium, magnesium
Nearly free of minerals


Often contains fluoride and chlorine
Free of additives and most contaminants


More pronounced due to minerals
Flat or neutral due to lack of minerals

Common Uses

Drinking, cooking, cleaning
Laboratories, medical applications

Tap Water and Distilled Water Definitions

Tap Water

Tap water is the most common source of water for household use.
We use tap water for everything from cooking to bathing.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is free of most impurities and minerals.
Distilled water is preferred in medical procedures for its purity.

Tap Water

Tap water can vary in taste and quality regionally.
The mineral content in tap water changes depending on the local water source.

Distilled Water

Distilled water has a neutral taste due to lack of minerals.
Distilled water tastes flat, making it less preferred for drinking.

Tap Water

Tap water often includes minerals and is treated for safety.
Tap water is typically safe for drinking due to rigorous treatment processes.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is water that has been boiled and recondensed.
We use distilled water in our laboratory to ensure purity in experiments.

Tap Water

Tap water is water supplied by local municipal systems.
The tap water in our city is known for its high quality and taste.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is often used in situations requiring high purity.
Car batteries and irons often recommend using distilled water.

Tap Water

Tap water may contain trace amounts of various substances.
The tap water here contains a small amount of fluoride for dental health.

Distilled Water

Distilled water can be produced from various water sources.
Distilled water can be made from tap, spring, or even rainwater.


What is tap water?

Tap water is the water that comes directly from a faucet or tap, usually supplied by a municipal water system.

Can you boil tap water to purify it?

Boiling tap water for at least one minute can kill most pathogens, making it safer to drink.

Does tap water contain chlorine?

Yes, chlorine is commonly used in tap water for disinfection purposes.

Is fluoridated tap water harmful?

Fluoridated tap water is not harmful and can help prevent tooth decay; however, opinions vary.

Is tap water hard or soft?

It varies by location; tap water can be hard (high in minerals like calcium and magnesium) or soft (lower in these minerals).

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water that has been boiled into vapor and condensed back into liquid, removing impurities and minerals.

Can distilled water dehydrate you?

No, distilled water hydrates you like regular water, though it lacks minerals.

Why is distilled water used in laboratories?

Its purity makes it ideal for experiments where contaminants could affect results.

Is tap water safe to drink?

In most developed countries, tap water is safe to drink as it's treated to remove contaminants and pathogens.

Does tap water have a taste?

Tap water may have a slight taste due to minerals, chlorine, or other additives.

Is distilled water safe to drink?

Yes, it's safe but lacks minerals found in other types of water, affecting its taste.

Is distilled water acidic?

It can be slightly acidic as it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air.

Does distilled water help with detoxification?

There's no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Can tap water be used in aquariums?

It can be used if treated to remove chlorine and balanced for pH and mineral content.

Can tap water go bad?

If stored improperly, tap water can become contaminated over time.

Is filtered tap water better than bottled water?

Filtered tap water can be comparable to bottled water in safety and taste, and is more environmentally friendly.

Is distilled water good for batteries?

Yes, its purity makes it ideal for use in batteries to prevent mineral buildup.

Is distilled water good for plants?

It can be used, but plants also benefit from the minerals in non-distilled water.

Can you cook with distilled water?

Yes, but it might affect the taste of food due to its lack of minerals.

Can distilled water freeze faster than tap water?

Yes, because it lacks impurities that can lower the freezing point.
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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