What is Dead Water & Is it Bad for You to Drink?

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Ever heard a drinking water supply being referred to as “dead water”? Wondering what this means? We’ve discussed all you need to know in this article.

Note: Here, we’re talking about dead water in terms of water characteristics (i.e. what the water contains). We’re not referring to dead water as standing or still water, or using dead water as a nautical term.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • Dead water is water that’s free from minerals, salts, and other healthy ions.
  • This water is sometimes referred to as “dead” because it has a flat, plain, or bland taste.
  • Natural water sources aren’t usually dead. Usually, dead water is achieved as a result of water treatment, like reverse osmosis, water distillation, and deionization.
  • You can improve the quality of dead water by using a remineralization water filter or mineral water drops.

πŸ’§ What Is Dead Water?

Dead water is water that is free from all minerals and charged ions.

It’s rare for water to naturally be dead. As it occurs in the environment, water contains minerals, salts, and other ions and metals that it has picked up from rocks and soils in its surrounding environment.

Some water sources contain more minerals than others, depending on where it’s sourced. For instance, groundwater supplies typically have a high mineral content because of the rocks surrounding underground aquifers.

Typically, dead water is achieved by treating water with a reverse osmosis system, a water distiller, or a deionization (DI) machine.

These systems use their own unique processes to remove minerals and ions from water. Reverse osmosis and water distillers go one step further, removing all dissolved solids and producing almost completely pure water.

Dead water on table

πŸ”Ž What Causes Dead Water?

As we mentioned above, dead water is usually caused by a treatment method that removes salts, minerals, and other healthy ions.

There are a few reasons why these processes are used – typically to improve water quality, remove contaminants that are harmful to health, or make water suitable for a specific purpose, such as medical sterilization or cosmetics manufacturing.

In many cases, removing minerals is a side-effect of a treatment that’s chiefly intended to remove harmful contaminants.

For instance, the primary purpose of a drinking water reverse osmosis system is to remove metals, chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, some VOCs, and other potentially dangerous contaminants that commonly occur in tap water supplies. However, the RO process is so thorough and comprehensive that minerals are also removed by the RO membrane, even though these are a beneficial component of drinking water.

Note: There’s a misconception that rainwater is pure and free from minerals, but this isn’t true. While rainwater is typically lower in minerals, salts, and other ions compared to surface water and groundwater, it isn’t mineral-free, so it’s not usually classed as dead water.

🩺 Is Dead Water Bad For You?

Dead water isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t have any specific health benefits, either.

The trace minerals found in normal drinking water supplies are essential to human health. The likes of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium are all needed to help us maintain our bodily processes, including:

  • For strong bones and muscles
  • For proper nerve function
  • To support the flow of blood around the body
  • For proper organ function
  • To regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels

A lack of these minerals and ions in your diet may lead to deficiencies. The symptoms of a deficiency vary depending on the mineral you’re deficient in, but could include decreased immunity, muscle cramping, nausea, irregular heartbeat, and numbness or tingling in the extremities.

However, it’s unlikely that drinking dead water will cause you to be deficient in any minerals because you should be getting plenty of these in your diet anyway. Drinking water doesn’t contain a high enough concentration of minerals to make much of a difference either way, whether the minerals are present or not.

The lack of minerals in dead water means it has a “flat” or “plain” taste that you might find unpleasant. If your only water source is dead water and you’re not incentivized to stay hydrated, this could be a problem. in the long run.

Woman drinking flat-tasting water

🚰 How To Improve Dead Water Quality

So, you know that dead water isn’t necessarily dangerous or bad for you, but you might simply prefer to drink minerals in your water supply.

Assuming that use a water treatment system that produces dead water, how can you restore life back into your drinking water and make it more appealing to drink?

The best way to improve the quality of dead water is to use some form of remineralization. That means you can still enjoy the benefits of your water treatment (such as pure, contaminant-free drinking water), but you can restore your water’s mineral content and enjoy great-tasting alkaline water.

Some reverse osmosis systems have built-in remineralization post-filters, which add traces of healthy minerals back into water after it has been treated. This is the easiest and most convenient way to bring your dead water back to life – but it will, of course, invoke the additional cost of another filter stage.

You can also improve the quality of dead water and restore its mineral content with mineral drops. These concentrated liquid solutions are typically added drop-by-drop to a glass of water and contain micro minerals that improve water’s taste and alkalinity.

If you don’t want the hassle of a remineralization filter or you’re using another form of water treatment (like water distillation or deionization), mineral drops are a great solution. They’re also easy to take with you on your travels.

πŸ“‘ Final Word

Regardless of why you have dead water, it’s important to know that a lack of minerals in your drinking water isn’t dangerous, as long as you’re eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits, and veggies.

However, you don’t have to drink dead water if you don’t want to! Before you abandon your reverse osmosis system or switch to bottled water, consider installing a water remineralization filter or using mineral drops to add traces of minerals back into your drinking water.

Not only will this boost your water’s health properties, but it’ll also improve its taste, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds with water that’s contaminant-free but mineral-rich.

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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