4 Reasons Why You Should Not Drink Water From a Dehumidifier

Josh Mitchell

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Josh Mitchell

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When I was in college I had a dehumidifier running in my bedroom.

I noticed a few inches of water gathering in the tank every day and it got me thinking, can I drink dehumidifier water?

That’s why I first started looking into the science behind dehumidifier water, and the answer is no – you can’t drink it.

It’s important to carefully monitor what you put in your body if you want to stay healthy, and that means really understanding what’s in your dehumidifier water.

In this guide, I’ll explain why it’s not safe to drink, the potential risks, and what else you can use it for.

Key Takeaways

  • No, you should not drink water from a dehumidifier’s tank.
  • The water extracted by a dehumidifier contains impurities, diseases, mold spores, and other contaminants that can be hazardous to health.
  • You CAN, however, use it for watering your plants, ironing your clothes or for cleaning the floor.

Can You Drink Water From A Dehumidifier?

No, you should not drink water from a dehumidifier.

The liquid water in the dehumidifier tank can contain mold spores, dust mites, and other impurities which have been taken from the warm air.
can you drink water from a dehumidifier

These micro-organisms are often present in the water so drinking dehumidifier water can be hazardous.

I regularly clean my dehumidifier which minimizes the number of bacteria and impurities that the dehumidifier collects.

However, I also know that my indoor air quality isn’t 100% pure so as the humid air passes through the appliance and changes into condensed water it will take the airborne particles with it.

That’s why I never risk drinking water from my dehumidifier.

TL;DR: Water extracted by a dehumidifier may have hazardous contaminants. Do not drink from it.

Is The Water From The Dehumidifier Distilled?

No, water from a dehumidifier is not distilled water.

This is a common myth and it’s part of the reason why some people think that dehumidifier water is safe to drink.

The distillation process and dehumidification process have some similarities, but the key difference is that dehumidifier air has not been boiled.

In my home, I use a refrigerant-style dehumidifier that works using a hot electrical fan that blows warm air over refrigerant-cooled coiled.

As the air cools, condensation occurs as moisture is extracted from the humid air. The water from that process is then collected inside the dehumidifier.

Distillation happens when boiled water becomes water vapor, and then the vapor condenses (to a water form once again).

The process removes minerals and toxins from the water, which is one of the reasons distilled water is recommended for humidifiers.

Though the two processes have some similarities, dehumidifiers never boil the collected moisture, and therefore the water is not pure like distilled water.

TL;DR: No, distilled water and water in a dehumidifier’s tank are NOT the same. The formed goes through the process of boiling, but the latter does not.

Why Isn’t Dehumidifier Water Safe To Drink?

Here are the main reasons why water from a dehumidifier is not safe to drink:

1. Water Hasn’t Been Boiled

The safest way to purify water is to boil it, “Boiling water kills or inactivates viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and other pathogens.” [1]

The boiling process means that water evaporates, and as it does so the impurities are left behind.

Once the water passes back into liquid form it’s pure, and therefore safe to drink.

Dehumidifiers never reach a boiling point and aren’t designed to boil or purify water as they reduce the humidity level.

Therefore, the bacteria present in the damp air will not be removed through the dehumidification process.

2. Water Contains Air Pollutants And Allergen From High Humidity Droplets

Dehumidifiers help you to control the humidity in your home and prevent mold, mildew, and dust mites.

does a dehumidifier help with allergies
However, if these are present in the air already then it’s likely they’ll be drawn into the dehumidifier as the air passes through.

I primarily use my dehumidifier in my basement where there’s limited ventilation and there are likely mold and mildew spores, and at least some dust mites lurking in the air.

Dehumidifiers aren’t designed to filter these out, so if you are drinking water from a dehumidifier there’s a high likelihood it will contain these pollutants.

3. Water Can Be A Breeding Ground For Bacteria

The water in your dehumidifier is confined to the tank and so has no ventilation.

Unlike tap water, which is exposed to air and flows, this means it can become stagnant.

Stagnant water can become full of bacteria and even if you empty and clean your water tank regularly it’s not suitable as drinking water.

4. Water Can Cause Legionella

Legionella is a dangerous bacteria that can be formed when bacteria are allowed to grow and spread.

It’s usually found in freshwater environments like lakes, but can also be found in dehumidifiers, humidifiers, hot water heaters, and other water features – particularly if little air passes through them. [2]

Being exposed to too much Legionella can lead to two very dangerous diseases:

  • Legionnaires’ Disease
  • Pontiac Fever
It’s really important that you empty the water in your dehumidifier and clean the tank, chilled coils, vents, and other components frequently.

You should also never risk drinking dehumidifier water.

TL;DR: Not only is the dehumidifier not boiled, but it can also be a breeding ground for very dangerous bacteria and pathogens.

What Can You Use Dehumidifier Water For?

what can you use dehumidifiers for

In my home, I reuse and recycle as much as possible in my home to stay eco-friendly.

You should never drink dehumidifier water, but here are 4 easy ways you can make use of that old dehumidifier water:

Watering Plants

Dehumidifier water isn’t safe for you or your pets, but plants can deal with it just fine.

Just don’t use it on any plants or crops you’re going to eat as some bacteria may transfer across in the water droplets.

Flushing The Toilet

It’s estimated that 30% of our water consumption is used to flush the toilet and that it can cost 3.8 cents every time [3].

You can save money and be greener by using the water your dehumidifier collects instead.

Just pour the condensed water straight into the bowl (not the toilet tank) and you shouldn’t need to flush.

Ironing Your Clothes

Dehumidifier water works just as well as tap water in a steam iron.

The liquid water is boiled into steam by the iron anyway, so any pollutants or bacteria are removed.

Cleaning Your Floors

Dehumidifier water isn’t dirty, it just contains unwanted pollutants and bacteria.

By mixing dehumidifier water with soap or a cleaning agent in a mop bucket you’ll destroy these bacteria so it’s perfectly safe to use.

TL;DR: Dehumidifier water can be used for various day-to-day errands apart from human and animal consumption.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is Dehumidifier Water Safe For Plants?

Yes, dehumidifier water is safe for plants, but shouldn’t be used for any plants you intend to eat.

Dehumidifier water shouldn’t be used as the only source of houseplant water as it lacks the minerals, nutrients, and heavy metals needed to keep your plant healthy.

Can You Use Dehumidifier Water In The Washing Machine?

Yes, you can use your dehumidifier water in the washing machine providing it hasn’t been left for a long time and become stagnant.

Make sure the water is mixed with detergent and if it looks dirty, or smells, then use clean water instead.

Can You Use Dehumidifier Water For Cleaning?

Yes, dehumidifier water can be used in cleaning as long as it is mixed with soap or a cleaning agent.

In Short, Do Not Drink Dehumidifier Water

Is dehumidifier water drinkable? No, it’s not safe to drink because it can contain some dangerous impurities.

However, I do love to recycle wherever I can so I’ve found a few useful ways to make the most of the water collected.

Hopefully, this guide has helped explain why you can’t drink dehumidifier water, and shown you what you can and do with it safely.

Using it to water houseplants or flush your toilets might not seem like much, but over a few years, it will change your overall environmental impact.

References:

  1. https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/boilwater/response_information_public_health_professional.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html
  3. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/residential-toilets
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Josh Mitchell

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Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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