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Dilution Advice: The Importance Of Using Distilled Water


diluting with distilled water

Are You Using Distilled Water?

If you are mixing from the tap you could be making a product work harder than necessary.

Think about the process of showering, washing dishes, or washing clothes.  Can you imagine recycling the suds used for washing?  Although this is a somewhat exaggerated example, using hard water in a surfactant (soap) mix is creating similar problems.

How Does It Affect The Product?

When you mix tap water with your favorite cleaner the product subtlety is already cleaning the mineral deposits In the water.  This has some effect on the cleaning effectiveness of the product.  For waterless washes or quick detailers, I believe it can affect the lubricity (gentleness) of the product as well.

Spraying your car with a hose or filling up a five-gallon bucket, the water quality is not going to have a noticeable cause for concern.  But when we look at pre-mixing into a 16-ounce spray bottle the effect of the impurities becomes magnified.

Steamers: The Most Versatile Tool in Your Arsenal

Distilled Water Use Is Also Important For Steam Cleaning.

Think about our home plumbing system.  Those pipes are often built to withstand/defend against the corrosive elements produced by hard water.  Over many years those my pipes may deteriorate.  Many of the steam cleaners that have broken down prematurely, its cause can be attributed to using unfiltered water.

One of the processes of removing minerals and impurities from water is nearly identical to what takes place when you are creating steam.  Hence by using non-filtered water you would be creating a buildup of bacteria and corrosive elements in a very expensive tool.

Even with proper soft water application for steam cleaners, it is recommended to clean them once a month with a vinegar solution.  The vinegar solution breaks down excess hardened mineral deposits that could be clogging the tubes.

Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
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9 comments on Dilution Advice: The Importance Of Using Distilled Water

  1. Kris Westfall says:

    What about regular bottled water? Is bottled water or filtered water from A grocery store clean enough to dilute with? How about bottled water for use in A steamer? I would like to know your thoughts about distilled VS. bottled. Thanks for all the great information.

    • Rodney Tatum says:

      I recommend only using distilled water or water that specifically mentions covers that it can be used as distilled water in the description.

      Drinking water stripped of impurities is different from distilled water stripped from good minerals for our body that are bad for our car’s paint or our tools.

  2. Filtered- Spring-Distilled- CityTap & country well ,that is softened or Hard are ALL DIFFERENT from each other with many variables , that include but are not limited to p.h. value & mineral content. All of this can cause too much of pain to the end user being the detailer . Distilled is the purest & best in every scenario but not likely to be available in the quantity needed, unless you want to purchase 5 gal jugs of distilled and haul it around. Perhaps consider using a easy to use ,quick connecting water filter attached to hose. These type water filters are used alot in R.V. living & for campers. NO it wont turn the water into distilled by any stretch , but will filter out alot of things . These filters are on amazon for $20 and are rated for hundreds of gallons before you need to get another. Someone needs to invent a magic device that fits inline like a filter for a hose and allows any type water to enter and be magically changed to distilled as it comes out the other end. At the end of the day my in house comparison testing using all the types of water that i mentioned above did NOT make so much of a difference in the cleaning test results that warrants using one water instead of another water. I only tested them with a.p.c and water based dressings. I did notice that chlorinated tap water stayed fresher longer than country well water . I assumed this was because city water has chlorine and probably flouride in it from the water treatment plant and well water has nothing added.

  3. Rafael Díaz says:

    Hi there,
    Using a filter for tap water hose will be basically almost equivalent to buy bottled water which is generally filtered by RO (reverse osmosis) and UF (ultra filtration) processes . Water minerals and “contamination” are very well removed by these systems so you can get water of a very good quality (when I say good quality I mean pharm industry grade) when distilled is not available at the grocery store. Hope this helps.

  4. Steve says:

    Distilled water is $1 per gallon at Walmart. I find it’s plenty for personal use, but a detailing business that does a lot of steaming might need something more.

  5. Ken says:

    Hi Rodney

    I have very light scratches on my rear bumper what pad can I use by HAND to remove and what product can I use with pad to apply on surface.


    • Rodney Tatum says:

      Hi Ken! I admit accessing potential solutions to visual cosmetic damage can always be a challenge when you factor me not being visually present or not seeing them.

      With that said you are always going to be a little bit handicapped when working by hand with respect to intensity and accuracy of working by hand.

      Although in these situations I do use a variety of foam and microfiber applicators, Detailed Image does sell a kit that can reduce the handicap of polishing by hand.

      The product is called the Polishing Pal Hand Buffing Kit.

      • Rodney Tatum says:

        I actually recommend two products do to shorter working time (easier on your shoulders) and small bottles are easier on your budget.

        Gyeon Compound+
        Gyeon Polish

      • Ken says:

        Hi Rodney… totally understand you not being able to seeh issue, the car is black and a 2020, I started to detail
        Myself as a hobby this year, the car is in really beautiful shape I take great pride in it, I haven’t got to the point of using a dual action polisher yet, but the basic way to wash and dry the car I’ve got down pretty good.
        I think taking my golf clubs out of the trunk I probably didn’t notice I hit them again the bumper . Anyway will take your advice to see if I can remove using those products. Until I learn how to use a machine .

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