How to Clean a Water Distiller (Easy Step-by-Step)

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Wondering how to clean a water distiller between uses?

We’ve shared the step-by-step instructions for cleaning a stainless steel distiller boiling chamber and a distiller lid in this guide.

đź“Ś Key Takeaways:

  • To clean a water distiller, fill the boiling chamber with hot water and add 2 tablespoons of cleaning crystals. Set the distiller to boil, then shut off the machine, remove the water, and rinse the chamber after 30 minutes.
  • Cleaning a water distiller’s boiling tank will extend the life of the heating element by reducing a buildup of minerals and impurities.
  • You should do a deep clean of your water distiller about every 3-4 weeks on average.

🧼 How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Chamber: Step By Step

Follow these steps to clean the boiling tank (the stainless steel chamber that boils water) in a distilled water unit:

1. Gather your equipment and supplies. You need hot water, distiller cleaning crystals or distilled white vinegar, a non-abrasive cleaner sponge, and a pair of rubber gloves (optional).

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 1_ Gather your equipment and supplies

2. Fill the boiling tank with hot water. Add hot water to the distiller’s boiling tank until it reaches the fill line. Don’t have access to hot water? Normal cold tap water is fine, but it’ll take longer for the cleaner to take effect.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank - Step 2_Fill the tank with hot water

3. Add the cleaner to the water. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of distiller cleaning crystals to the water in the boiling tank.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 3_ Add the cleaner to the water

(Alternative method): Fill the boiling tank with water and white distilled vinegar. Add a 50/50 solution of warm water and white distilled vinegar to the boiling chamber until it reaches the fill line.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 4_ (Alternative method)_ Fill the boiling tank with water and white distilled vinegar

4. Reset the machine. Switch the distiller off or unplug it, then switch it back on/plug it back in and press the reset button (if the machine has one). Or, run a cleaning cycle if your distiller allows it.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 5_Reset the machine

5. Boil the water for 30 minutes. Wait for the boiling vessel to boil the water for 30 minutes, then switch off the machine. Allow the boiling water to cool down before moving on to the next step.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 6_ Boil the water for 30 minutes

6. Rinse the tank. Pour the leftover water and cleaning solution out of the boiling tank and rinse it with clean water.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 7_ Rinse the tank

7. Repeat if necessary. If there are stubborn stains inside the boiling tank that don’t easily wipe away with a sponge, repeat the process again.

How To Clean A Water Distiller Boiling Tank- Step 8_ Repeat if necessary

🧽 How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid: Step By Step

The exact steps for cleaning the lid in your distilled water system depend on the machine’s design. Check your user manual for more information.

We’ve outlined the general steps to take below.

1. Gather your items. You will need a sponge, some hot water, a cloth, and dish soap.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 1_ Gather your items

2. Take off the lid and seal. Remove the lid from the distiller and take off the seal, making sure to remember the direction it should be put back on.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 2_ Take off the lid and seal

3. Unscrew and remove the casing. The plastic casing will usually be screwed onto the lid. Remove this casing and place it on one side.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 3_ Unscrew and remove the casing

4. Remove the condensing tube and fan. Firmly dislodge the condensing tube and fan from the lid. You might need the help of another person for this job.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 4_ Remove the condensing tube and fan

5. Wash the casing, condensing tube, and fan. Fill a bowl with hot, soapy water and soak the casing and fan, then rinse. Don’t soak the condensing tube – just rinse it under running water from your tap and clean it with a brush or a sponge.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 5_ Wash the casing, condensing tube, and fan

6. Clean the rest of the lid. Use a cloth and more hot water mixed with dish soap to wipe down the rest of the lid.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 6_ Clean the rest of the lid

7. Dry and reassemble. Thoroughly dry all the components and attach them back onto the lid.

How To Clean A Water Distiller’s Lid- Step 7_ Dry and reassemble

🤔 What Are Distiller Cleaning Crystals?

Distiller cleaning crystals are a cleaning product designed to be dissolved in water and used to get the boiling tank clean in a distilled water machine.

These crystals consist of natural ingredients, usually citric acid monohydrate, which is found in all plants, especially in citrus fruits.

Citric acid is a great natural cleaner because it breaks down tough stains and kills bacteria, mold, and mildew, so it cleans and disinfects in one.

You can buy distiller cleaning crystals from online marketplaces and websites that sell distillers.

Distiller cleaning crystals

How Do Distiller Cleaning Crystals Work?

Distiller cleaning crystals usually work by lifting mineral buildup and other stains when dissolved in water and added to the boiling tank.

As part of a regular maintenance schedule, these crystals can be used to keep a water distiller clean and extend the life of the heating element.

đź“‘ Alternative To Distiller Cleaning Crystals: White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is a great alternative to distiller cleaning crystals.

Like distiller cleaners, white distilled vinegar is highly acidic. This means it’s great at breaking down tough stains caused by water scale.

Since it’s natural and non-toxic, white distilled vinegar is another safe cleaner to use to get your distiller’s boiling tank clean. Just use equal parts vinegar and water in place of the distiller cleaning crystals.

White distilled vinegar

🧴 Why Clean Your Distiller?

Cleaning your distiller boiling chamber is essential if you want to get years of use out of the machine.

To understand why you should keep your water distiller clean, we need to look at the distilling process.

When water is distilled, water particles vaporize and travel out of the boiling tank, where they’re cooled and condensed into a separate container. This water is as close as it gets to pure water, and is virtually contaminant-free.

Contaminants like metals, limescale, and chlorine, have a higher boiling point, so they’re unable to evaporate with water and are left behind in the boiling tank.

The mineral deposits, dirt, and impurities form a stubborn residue that sticks to the walls and base of the boiling chamber. Even if you don’t have visibly dirty water, the contaminants left behind during the distillation process will build up in the distiller.

The only way to remove these deposits is by cleaning the boiling tank. It’s important to clean the tank to maintain sanitary conditions in the distiller and extend the life of the heating element.

How does the boiling tank’s cleanliness affect the lifespan of the heating element?

Because if you don’t remove the debris and mineral buildup from the tank, it’ll accumulate on the heating element and act as a barrier between the element and the water, reducing its efficiency and making it work harder to heat a batch of water.

So, you’ll need to keep a distiller clean to allow the machine to work as efficiently as possible to produce pure water over its years of operation.

Illustration of the distillation process

📆 How Often To Clean A Water Distiller

It’s good to get into the habit of cleaning your water distiller at least once every 3 to 4 weeks.

You should also give the boiling tank a quick clean with a non-abrasive cleaning sponge after every distillation cycle. Plus, change the post-carbon filter as recommended (usually every 3-4 weeks).

The more often you can clean the boiling chamber, the better. Scale and debris buildup is always easier to remove when there’s less of it.

If you leave it too long, you’ll end up spending much longer than you want scrubbing at tough, caked-on stains.

âť” Cleaning A Water Distiller: FAQ

What happens if you don’t clean a water distiller?

If you don’t clean a water distiller, minerals, scale, and other debris will begin to build up inside the boiling chamber. Eventually, this mineral buildup will become so heavy that a layer of insulation will form around the heating element, reducing its efficiency. The dirt in the boiling tank will also cause unsanitary conditions and may lead to bacteria growth.

Can I use vinegar to clean my water distiller?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean your water distiller. Vinegar is very acidic, which makes it a fantastic natural cleaner and scale remover. Simply add a solution of 1 part hot water, 1 part vinegar to the boiling tank, then put the machine through a cleaning cycle.

Can I clean a water distiller with bleach?

Yes. If it’s been a while since you’ve last cleaned your distiller and you want to sanitize the machine, bleach is a good cleaner to use. Dilute 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water and add it to the boiling chamber, then program a cleaning cycle. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the boiling tank before adding a fresh batch of water to distill.

How do you clean a distillation machine?

The best way to clean a distillation machine is by dissolving distiller cleaning crystals into hot water, then setting the machine to boil the water for 30 minutes. Some water distillers have a dedicated cleaning cycle that you can program after adding the cleaning solution to the boiling chamber.

  • Brian Campbell
    Founder, Water Treatment Specialist

    Brian Campbell is a water treatment specialist and water expert based in Denver, Colorado. He's always been obsessed with water quality, and has spent years testing all kinds of treatment devices from simple pitchers and portable devices to complex whole home systems.

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