Whether you’re using a dehumidifier to reduce the overall humidity in your home or just to dry out your bathroom after a shower, it’s hard to deny the magic of these machines. With a bit of electricity, they can take damp air and turn it into liquid water.
If you’ve ever pulled out your appliance’s water reservoir and wondered, “Can I drink dehumidifier water?” You’re not alone. Many homeowners wonder if there is a way to put this water to use rather than dumping it down the drain.
The short answer is no. Dehumidifier water is not safe to drink. But the reasoning behind this answer is a bit complicated. Keep reading to find out why and to learn how you can safely drink and use your dehumidifier water.
Is Dehumidifier Water OK to Drink?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you may think.
According to Dr. Joe Schwarcz of McGill University, the water condensate created during the dehumidifying process is pure H2O.
As air passes through your dehumidifier, water vapor is pulled out and cooled into liquid water. Impurities in the air, including mold spores and bacteria, are not present within these water molecules. This process is similar to how distilled water is created using condensate from steam.
To learn more about how dehumidifiers work, check out our article on dehumidifier functionality.
Info: The difference between distilled water and the water in your dehumidifier is in the purity of the collection materials. Where the tools used to collect distilled water are cleaned to assure the final product isn’t contaminated, your dehumidifier is very unlikely to be sterile.
As air is pulled into the unit, pathogens such as mold and bacteria make contact with all of the surfaces. While these contaminants are not present in the water vapor that is condensed, they can be washed into the water reservoir along with the condensate. Moreover, the water reservoir itself provides the perfect place for these pathogens to thrive and multiply.
Additionally, your dehumidifier’s plastic and metal surfaces are not held to purity standards the way food and water collection materials are. This means that contamination with heavy metals, BPA, and other chemicals is very possible.
All this is to say, while the original condensate product created by your dehumidifier is safe to drink, the final product that makes it into your reservoir is likely not.
Can You Drink Dehumidifier Water If Boiled?
Unless you keep the cleanest dehumidifier reservoir around and somehow sanitize the inner workings of your appliance, there is a very high chance the water in your reservoir is contaminated with pathogens.
Some people wonder if simply boiling their dehumidifier water would be enough to make it drinkable.
While it is true that boiling the water for a full minute (or more at altitude) will kill all the pathogens in it, boiling will do nothing to remove other contaminants like heavy metals and chemicals.
The only way boiling would purify the water enough to make it safe to drink would be if you collected the steam. Basically, you would have to distill the water from your dehumidifier to make it drinkable. This can be done at home fairly easily using the method outlined in the video below.
How to Use Dehumidifier Water
If distilling your dehumidifier water seems like more work than it’s worth, there are still ways you can put that water to use.
Water Your Plants
You can use dehumidifier water to water your indoor and outdoor plants. So long as you keep your reservoir fairly clean, there is nothing in the water that will harm your plants.
Do keep in mind that dehumidifier water lacks many of the minerals present in tap water and spring water that houseplants need to thrive. If you water only with dehumidifier water, you’ll want to be sure to use a balanced fertilizer once a month as well.
Fill Your Toilet Tank
Dehumidifier water is considered “gray water” because it’s not safe to drink but doesn’t contain the dangerous pathogens or odors of black water. One great way to utilize gray water is to pour it into your toilet tank.
Most household toilet tanks hold between 1 to 7 gallons of water. By filling your toilet tank with dehumidifier water, you can save an impressive amount of water and money each month.
Clean Your House
When mixed with common cleaning agents such as vinegar, bleach, or ammonia, you can also use dehumidifier water to clean your home. Use it to fill your spray bottles and mop buckets and your preferred DIY cleaners to save water and money.
Bottom Line: Don’t Pour It Down the Drain
Due to the potential for contamination from pathogens, chemicals, and heavy metals, drinking straight dehumidifier water is not advised. Not even boiling the water will make it safe to consume. The only thing that will make your dehumidifier water ok to drink is distilling it.
If you don’t want to take the time to distill your dehumidifier water, you shouldn’t dump it down the drain. You can use this water to water your houseplants, fill your toilet tank, or dilute cleaning products to clean your home.
Have more questions about where and when it’s safe to use dehumidifier water? Comment below, and we’ll help you find the answers.