Keep a Bottle of Distilled Water in Your Cleaning Kit—Here's Why

After reading about these uses for distilled water, we bet you'll add a couple of jugs to your grocery list.

You accidentally spill wine on the sofa or sauce on the carpet, and you instinctively head to the faucet. Water is one of the first things we reach for—along with our go-to cleanser and lint-free microfiber cloth—to combat a stain.

But if you've ever scrubbed a spot on your upholstery only to be greeted with an obvious, unsightly watermark in place of the original stain, take note. Here's why you should use distilled water for certain household cleaning tasks (and how else you can make use of this underrated item).

What Is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is water that has been boiled and evaporated. Its water vapor is then condensed back into a liquid without the minerals. It's arguably water in its purest form possible, even more so than water from a natural spring, artesian well, or regular tap—all of which retain trace (but safe) amounts of minerals and other contaminants like bacteria or pesticides.

Uses for Distilled Water

Besides cleaning—which we'll get to soon—distilled water is optimal for:

  • Drinking (for us and our pets)
  • Cooking
  • Pickling and canning
  • Making coffee, tea, and ice cubes

Outside the kitchen, we can use distilled water to fill a number of items around the house—like certain medical devices and car engines—to avoid a nasty buildup of minerals or containments. And the list goes on...

What to Clean Using Distilled Water and How to Do It

Distilled water is simply better for cleaning. What comes from your tap is "hard water," meaning it contains minerals. When it dries, those minerals often leave water marks and spots on some types of fabric and glass. Since distilled water is pure, it doesn't leave residue the way tap water can.

Include a bottle (or two) of distilled water in your cleaning kit now, so you can reach for it when tackling any of these cleaning tasks. Here's how you can use distilled water for cleaning.

Spot-Cleaning an Upholstered Couch

If you have an upholstered fabric couch that doesn't have removable, machine-washable covers, you're probably used to spot-cleaning spills and stains. And if you use tap water to tackle these spots, make the switch: Distilled water is mineral-free and less likely to leave a ring or water spot. (Of course, first consult the manufacturer's care instructions.)

If you have a microfiber couch, follow these cleaning steps and dab (don't rub!) the spot, starting from the outside and working your way in so the stain doesn't spread. You can also combine 1 cup distilled water, ¼-cup white vinegar, and a few drops of mild dish soap to create a homemade cleaning solution.

For Streak-Free Windows

To get spotless windows, you probably know about lint-free microfiber cloths and wiping in an s-pattern. But here's one more secret: Swap distilled water for tap water when mixing up a DIY cleaning solution. It helps prevent streaks and spots, leaving your windows and mirrors sparkling clean and clear.

Washing Your Car

Water spots aren't just unsightly, they can damage the paint on your car over time. For a streak-free, spot-free automotive shine, add some distilled water to your car wash routine. You don't need gallon after gallon of it though, just use mineral-free water as a final rinse after the car is completely washed. This rinse helps prevent mineral buildup from dulling the finish on your car.

In Your Clothing Steamer

If you're filling your favorite clothing steamer with tap water, you may notice a white mineral buildup develop. Over time, it can clog your machine and potentially transfer some of that chalky mineral buildup onto the delicate clothing you're steaming. To prevent this and to prolong your steamer's lifespan, fill your steamer with distilled water exclusively. Hint: The same idea holds true for humidifiers, diffusers, and clothing irons, too. Hard tap water in a humidifier can result in broken-down minerals being expelled into the air in the form of fine white dust.

Where to Find Distilled Water

Because the uses for distilled water are so varied, many big-name retailers carry it—from home supply stores to grocers to discount stores. Look for half-gallon and gallon-sized jugs wherever water is sold. Lots of retailers also offer the convenience of delivering those heavy jugs to your home.

Alternatively (and considerably less expensively), a number of brands of home water distillers are widely available. Taking up about as much counterspace as an espresso machine, home distillers can convert a half-gallon of tap water into distilled in less than an hour.

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