Purchasing bottled water is both wasteful and expensive, and tap water is often virtually undrinkable, so what are you to do? Aside from subscribing to a water-delivery service (which is also expensive), one option is to take matters into your own hands and distill your own water at home.

The process of distillation entails the heating, boiling and evaporation of water to remove contaminants. Distilled water is the purest water you can possibly have, as all of the chemicals, toxins and bacteria are removed as the water evaporates and condenses.

While there are many tutorials on the web concerning the assembly of solar-powered water distillers, this method is often better employed for the distillation of very small batches of water. Bearing that in mind, we will be creating our water distiller to work with a heat source other than the sun–such as a stovetop, be it gas or electric.

Things You'll Need

Use your drill to make a hole in the side of a large metal pit (with lid). Make the hole equal in diameter to your heavy-duty plastic tubing (you should have 3 feet of same).

Insert the tubing into the drilled hole, leaving a small length inside the pot (about 2 or so inches), and at a point where it is above the water level.

Fill a bowl or similar container with ice and water and place it adjacent to your large metal pot. This will be your water bath, and will cool the steam into condensed distilled water. The ice is not necessary, but will speed the process and keep your water bath cooler longer. Additionally, change the water in the bath periodically if it becomes too hot.

Next to the water bath, place a glass or plastic jar or jug. This will act as a catch container, and will be where the distilled water will collect. It is best to use the jar or container that you will use to ultimately store your condensed water. Also, if it’s practical, position the catch container at a level lower than the water distiller and water bath, as this will speed the process of collecting the condensed/distilled water.

Feed enough length of the tubing out of the pot so it can coil into the water bath, and then into the catch container, where the distilled water will collect.

Fire up your stove or hot plate. Once the water boils, the steam generated will travel through the tubing, be cooled in the water bath and then collect in your container, leaving you with pure, toxin-free drinking water. Just be sure to scrub out your boiling pot, as all of the toxins and contaminants from the source water will remain here after the distilling process.


  • Double-check that your plastic tubing is resistant to high temperatures.

    Check and periodically refresh the water in your cooling bath for maximum effectiveness.

    Distill only into glass or a heavy plastic container; cheap plastics, like those used in bottled-water bottles, have been shown to degrade with extended use.