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This question, “Can you use distilled water in a Keurig?” may come up for different reasons. One reason this may come up is because the Keurig manual says not to use distilled water. There are also questions, in general, about whether distilled water should be used for any type of coffee, including non-Keurig coffee.
So in this post, we will break down the benefits and risks of using distilled water with coffee and specifically in a Keurig. This should help provide you with more information on whether you can use distilled water in a Keurig.
Using Distilled Water to Make Any Coffee
I was recently shopping, and I looked at a bag of coffee beans. I read the brewing suggestions on the back and noticed it said, “Never use distilled or soft water.” That got me thinking and researching this more, as it is not only Keurig that says not to use distilled water.
There are two factors I’d like to consider on whether you can use distilled water in coffee. One of the reasons is related to health effects. Another reason is related to the taste of the coffee.
Health Effects of Using Distilled Water in Coffee
A big debate exists about whether distilled water is safe to drink. I’m going to do my best to remain neutral on this debate and explain both sides. It is important to understand the safety of drinking distilled water since coffee is primarily made up of distilled water. If you want to know whether you can use distilled water in a Keurig, you need to know if it’s safe to drink.
Distilled Water: Safe to Drink
On the side of it being safe, the argument is basically that the water is much purer than tap or bottled water with minerals. When the water is purer, it has less chemicals, bacteria, and parasites. This is a major argument for why distilled water is safe to drink.
The CDC even says that people with weakened immune systems can benefit more from distilled water. They explain that a specific parasite can exist in other types of water. It is removed in distilled water.
The CDC article relating to this parasite and distilled water can be viewed here.
So when it comes to using distilled water in a Keurig, the distilled water has the benefit of being pure when absorbing the coffee. When comparing the use of tap water, which may contain chemicals, and the use of pure distilled water, there is an argument that the pure water would be safer.
Distilled Water: Not Safe to Drink
The argument against the safety of distilled water mainly states that the water can easily pull its surroundings into the water. Since distilled water does not contain anything other than hydrogen and oxygen, it basically acts like a vacuum.
There are two sides to the negative health effects of this. One of them is that the distilled water does not contain essential minerals that the body needs. In addition, this argument states that distilled water can pull essential minerals out of the body. This can have a negative effect on a person’s health.
Another argument is that distilled water can pull metals and plastic materials that surround it into the water. A detailed article from the World Health Organization discusses this argument.
This article, Health Risks from Drinking Demineralised Water, can be viewed by clicking here.
When it comes to coffee, the plastics and metals from the coffee maker could get pulled into the distilled water. This can lead to drinking coffee with the plastics and metals from the coffee machine mixed in the coffee. It is argued that this can have negative health consequences.
Balancing the Perspectives
As we can see, there are arguments on both sides. The negative health consequences written about can sound strong. At the same time, they say the amount of actual plastic or metal mixed into the distilled water is very insignificant.
Regarding the purity of distilled water versus tap and mineral water, the regulators (FDA and EPA) have certain standards that need to be met. A WebMD article on distilled water seems to indicate that the difference between tap water and distilled water is not that much. It isn’t saying that there is no difference, as they discuss the differences. They seem to indicate that there isn’t a major difference.
Again, people can argue back and forth on this topic. Since everyone’s health situation is different, I cannot advise on what you should do. It is important that you consult with your doctor on health-related matters as your doctor knows your specific health situation. I’m simply presenting the pros and cons and how distilled water relates to drinking coffee and whether it can be used in a Keurig.
How Distilled Water Affects the Taste of Coffee
When it comes to the taste of coffee, everyone has their different preferences, different likes, different tastes, etc. Some people prefer a strong coffee, while others prefer a weaker coffee. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the taste of coffee.
At the same time, there are certain facts that need to be considered as well as preferences. The article by WebMD previously mentioned in this post mentions how distilled water has a flat or bland taste. It explains that it is due to calcium, sodium, and magnesium not being present in the water. Since there are no minerals in the water, it changes the taste.
There is an article by the Specialty Coffee Association regarding the taste of coffee. In summary, the article explains that minerals in the coffee beans are absorbed when there are minerals in the water vs when there are no minerals in the water. In addition, minerals in the water affect whether the water is acidic or alkaline. That can affect the taste of coffee as well.
Using Distilled Water in a Keurig
Specifically regarding the Keurig machine, Keurig says not to use distilled water in their instruction manual. Although Keurig says not to use distilled water, the question of whether you still can use distilled water is questioned. This section is going to focus on how distilled water affects the machine.
Why Keurig Says Not To Use Distilled Water
It has been questioned why Keurig says not to use distilled water. There is no public information as to what Keurig’s reasons are. We researched the “Why?” question and gave some possible reasons in another post.
In summary, there are sensors in the Keurig machine. The distilled water does not conduct electricity as well as water with minerals. For that reason, the sensors may not function correctly without the correct amount of electrical conductivity.
The other possible reason has to do with what was mentioned earlier in this article. The vacuum-effects of the distilled water could cause parts in the Keurig machine to break down faster. If the distilled water is absorbing the plastics and metals, parts in the machine may not work correctly.
A Personal Experience
I’ve used distilled water in my Keurig. There are a few reasons I used distilled water. I personally don’t like using tap water. My preference is pure water. I also wanted to avoid mineral buildup inside the machine. Since buying bottled water can be expensive, I purchased a water distiller and use that to distill water.
Using Pure Distilled Water
For a while, I was using the pure distilled water in my Keurig. The coffee maker generally seemed to work fine. I liked the taste of the coffee.
I noticed as time went on that the “add water” light wasn’t working correctly on my Keurig. Sometimes the Keurig would run low on water, and the “add water” light would not come on. With that being said, I’m not sure if something in the distilled water damaged that sensor.
On the other side, I have not seen the “descale” light come. This light is supposed to come on when the Keurig needs to be descaled. Since the light hasn’t come on, there is an indication that there hasn’t been mineral buildup. That is a good thing.
Using Distilled Water With Added Salt
As I heard about the potential dangers of drinking coffee with distilled water, I realized I should probably do something different. I started adding a small amount of Himalayan pink salt to the distilled water. This slightly increases the mineral content in the water. It also gives the distilled water less of a vacuum-effect since it adds minerals back into the water.
This approach I’m taking is an “in-between” approach. It’s not 100% using distilled water. At the same time, it’s not using water with a lot of minerals. So far, this balanced approach is working well for me. So I plan to continue using this distilled water with a small amount of Himalayan pink salt for the additional minerals.
In case you are interested, I use the Megahome Countertop Water Distiller which can be viewed on Amazon by clicking here. It has worked very well for me.
What to do?
So should you use distilled water in your Keurig? According to Keurig, the answer is “no” to using distilled water. First, it is important to recognize that the manufacturer has said not to use distilled water. Since they made the coffee maker, they know best regarding how it’s designed and how it functions.
With that being recognized, distilled water technically can be used. I used it in my own personal experience. Is it the best idea to? Not necessarily. Just because it shouldn’t be used, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good alternatives.
Distilled Water Alternatives
Let’s think outside the box. Many times we may think the only options are either distilled water or tap/mineral water. Below are a few additional ideas that could potentially be used in a Keurig. They’re technically not using distilled water, but it’s using pure water that contains a small amount of minerals.
Mixing Salt With Distilled Water
I mentioned previously that I mix salt in with my distilled water. If salt is added to distilled water, is it technically distilled water? Distilled water is water that has been purified by turning water into steam and turning the steam back into water. That is pure hydrogen and oxygen.
When minerals are added, the question is whether that remains distilled water. It’s technically not pure hydrogen and oxygen anymore. At the same time, its purities came from distillation. In that sense, it doesn’t have the same characteristics as distilled water right after it was distilled. At least, it’s not 100% distilled water.
So mixing a small amount of salt into distilled water is one alternative to using 100% distilled water. It brings back some of the minerals and conductivity which could help the Keurig not to be damaged.
Mixture of Distilled Water and Spring Water
Another option is adding half distilled water and half spring water to the Keurig. This can vary in many different ways. It could be half distilled water and half tap water or another water with minerals. The key in the mixture is making sure you’re adding minerals back into the water. You just want the mineral content to be less than what is in the normal spring or tap water.
If more distilled water is preferred, 3/4 distilled water and 1/4 spring water is another option. Doing this will add a smaller amount of minerals to the water.
There is no specific recommendation from Keurig as to how many minerals are to be in the water. With that being said, I cannot make a specific recommendation of what to do with the mixture.
So there are many factors to consider when we ask the question, “Can you use distilled water in a Keurig?” There are safety factors of drinking coffee made from distilled water. Also, there are factors related to how the distilled water interacts with the Keurig coffee maker.
By exploring these factors more, I hope this article has been informative on whether you can use distilled water in a Keurig.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us by clicking here. Have a great day!
As a disclaimer: This post is not directly making any specific recommendations for you personally. The authors of this post do not directly represent Keurig and are not medical experts. Hot Coffee Brewing and its authors are not responsible for any damage to your Keurig machine. For any health-related questions, please consult and discuss them with your doctor. This post is not medical advice.