Do Plants Grow Better With Tap or Distilled Water?

It doesn’t take a gardener to know that plants need water to grow. While it seems natural to water your plants to help them thrive, many things can still go wrong. For instance, some people may not know how much, how often, and what kind of water to feed their plants.

Plants grow better with distilled water than with tap water. Distilled water is void of contaminants or other chemicals, making it safe and pure for optimal plant growth. It is purified water that provides plants with the hydration they need.

Keep reading if you are still at a loss about which type of water to feed your plants for optimum results. This article will discuss why distilled water is better for plants than tap water and some things to consider when using distilled water.

Why Is Distilled Water Better Than Tap Water for Plant Growth?

Distilled water is better than tap water for plant growth because it doesn’t contain any contaminants, such as chemicals or microbes, that can negatively affect your plants’ growth. On the other hand, tap water contains chlorine, which is safe for plants at low doses but can be toxic at high levels.

Many researchers typically use distilled water as the control when conducting studies on the effectiveness of various types of water, including tap water, on plant growth. The absolute purity of distilled water makes it ideal as it prevents unwanted contaminants from affecting the results.

The results of the studies vary due to several factors, such as the chemicals or biological substances present in tap water. Depending on the concentration, these added contents can either be beneficial or harmful to the plants.

However, many studies show that distilled water is better for your plant’s growth than tap water. One such study compared the effects of distilled water, magnetically treated distilled water, tap water, and magnetically treated tap water on plant growth.

The results showed that whether pure or magnetically treated, distilled water increased the shoot and root sizes. In contrast, the two types of tap water caused stunted growth and other physiological damage to the plants.

Since there is no guarantee that the impurities in tap water are safe for your plants, it is easy to understand why distilled water is better for plant growth.

Below, we will look further into the qualities of distilled water and tap water and their impact on your plants’ overall health and growth.

Distilled Water


  • It is void of contaminants. Distilled water undergoes a distillation process that removes unnecessary and sometimes even harmful substances, such as metals, bacteria, and viruses. The process leaves you with pure water that is safe for human and plant consumption.
  • It is safe for the environment. The lack of contaminants makes distilled water safe for the environment. It doesn’t contain harmful elements that can leach off into the groundwater.
  • You can also use it for personal consumption. Both humans and plants can benefit from safe and clean drinking water. 


  • It can be expensive. If you don’t have a machine for distilling water at home, it can be costly to buy distilled water for plants’ regular watering needs.
  • It lacks essential nutrients. The absence of contaminants means distilled water is also void of any chemical or element that could sometimes be useful for plants, such as chlorine or nitrogen.

Tap Water


  • It is readily available. Tap water is widely and readily available at home, making it convenient to water your garden plants directly. 
  • Tap water is cheap. Your utility bills will be significantly cheaper if you use tap water instead of distilled water, even if you have a water distiller. You will also need to consider electricity bills when purifying your tap water.


  • It may contain contaminants. Tap water may be contaminated with harmful bacteria and pollutants, even after passing the water treatment facility
  • It may contain toxic levels of chemicals. If you live in an area with many gardens or farms, chances are the ground contains leached chemicals that can enter the water pipes through cracks or breaks. Naturally occurring toxic chemicals like arsenic may also get into the waterline.

Things To Consider When Using Distilled Water for Plants

Although it is easy to see that using distilled water is far more advantageous for plants than tap water, you still have to consider the disadvantages.

Let’s weigh in on some of them:

It Can Be Costly

If you have plenty of houseplants or a massive garden that requires frequent watering with large amounts of water, you may feel discouraged about using distilled water. As mentioned, distilled water can be more expensive than tap water.

Farmers may reap the benefits of using distilled water because their plants will become larger and healthier with a higher yield. However, hobbyists or home gardeners may find it impractical to spend too much money on their plants’ water source.

Therefore, you have to weigh your options and consider if the cost of using distilled water on your plants is worth it.

Most households use tap water for daily cooking and drinking. Water from the tap generally undergoes filtration processes to make it safe for consumption. However, no one knows what goes on underground as the water travels from the treatment facility to your home.

Some people already have a water distiller or purifier at home for the extra layer of safety when using tap water. The machine filters or purifies tap water, removing significant impurities to ensure that the water is free from contaminants.

It Can Be Time-Consuming To Prepare

Although there are plenty of reasonably priced home water distillers available on the market, the preparation of distilled water can be time-consuming, especially if you are also using the water for personal consumption, such as your food and hygiene needs.

It can take several hours to generate enough distilled water for you, your family, and your plants every day. Larger distillers are available, but they can be even more expensive. You also have to consider how much time it takes to produce distilled water by yourself.

Plants Can Benefit From Substances in Tap Water

While it is clear that distilled water is essentially safer than tap water, we cannot deny that tap water also packs some benefits for your plants that distilled water doesn’t have.

Below are some components of tap water that can be good for plant growth.


Trace amounts of chlorine can benefit plants as it helps with plant transpiration and photosynthesis. 

The amount of chlorine present in tap water is typically safe and healthy for plants and people. This chemical is added to tap water during treatment to eliminate harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. 

A chlorine concentration of less than four ppm in tap water is safe for human consumption. This value is also safe for most plants as it is unlikely for the chlorine to build up to a toxic level in plants.

Good Bacteria

In addition to chlorine, tap water may also contain some bacteria that may be beneficial to plants. Bacteria serve as decomposers that feed on organic matter. These tiny organisms can convert and preserve nutrients the plants can use later.

However, these good bacteria may be accompanied by harmful bacteria. That is why most people would prefer the water to be free from microbes altogether.

Final Thoughts

Distilled water is better for plant growth than tap water, and there are scientific studies to support this claim. However, there are some downsides to using distilled water as it can be costly and time-consuming to prepare.

The bottom line is that you should consider the pros and cons to decide whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. You can then decide whether using distilled water for your plants works for you.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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