Can you use tap water to water your houseplants?
If you have ever read about plant care, you will probably know that many sources say you must use filtered or distilled water to water your plants. But does this really hold true? Can you not use tap water to water your plants? The use of distilled water as a home plant watering method has been controversial. What are the alternatives? We’ll get to those questions in this plant care guide.
Rather than discussing the benefits and risks of tap water for plants, we will explore whether it is appropriate to use tap water to water houseplants. Together, we’ll answer the question: Is tap water appropriate for watering houseplants?
Here are some of the things we will cover in this plant care guide:
- If you want to water your plants with distilled water, should you use it?
- Why tap water should not be used?
- Is it possible to water houseplants with tap water?
- What you can do instead of using distilled water for your houseplants?
Here’s what you need to know to find out whether you can use tap water to water your houseplants.
Should you use distilled water to water your houseplants?
Answering the question: Is it best to use distilled water for houseplant watering? The short answer is: Absolutely. Distilled water is ideal for houseplant watering. Although bottled water usually doesn’t contain highly reactive minerals, drinking tap water can be used to water your houseplants.
My concern is with guidebooks that tell you to use distilled water only to water your plants. Not everyone has access to distilled water or wants to go through the effort. Distilled water is the best solution for your plants, but it is not the only solution.
It is clear that distilling water is the best solution, but distilled water doesn’t always have to be used. Let’s see how to treat tap water in situations where there are no other alternatives. The reasons why you should choose bottled water won’t surprise you. Let’s explore these reasons to help you decide for yourself what you prefer.
Reasons to avoid using tap water
When you use tap water, especially when it is not distilled, it contains various chemicals that are harmful to you and your plants. For example, tap water contains lead, chlorine, and pathogens. If you consistently water your plants with this tap water, you will cause problems.
When it comes to plant problems, the temperature of the water can also play a role. If you use ice cold water to water your plants, the roots can be damaged. Tropical plants are often sensitive to temperature changes and could die if exposed to cold water at their roots.
Luckily, a simple solution exists to overcome both challenges. You’ll find out about it in the next section.
How can you use tap water to water your houseplants?
You can use tap water to water your houseplants as well, but it takes some preparation on your part. Distilled water is the preferred solution, but it’s not the only one. You can use distilled water, but it requires a bit of planning. Water your plants with tap water by making sure it is clean and that it isn’t too cold. When you use tap water, you have to make sure it’s at room temperature and not too cold.
When you use tap water to water houseplants, you need to soak it for at least 24 hours a day. What does this mean? You must plan your watering schedule at least 24 hours in advance.
For instance, if you want to water your plants at 3PM tomorrow, then you need to fill up your watering can the day before.
Allowing your water to sit in the watering can for at least 24 hours allows the sediment to settle down. During this period, most of the particles will gradually sink to the bottom of your watering can, making the water warm up until it’s at room temperature.
Just before you’re ready to water your plants, the water will have settled and become room temperature. This makes it less likely for your plant to be exposed to chemicals in the water. You are also preventing your plant from being exposed to ice cold water.
Is there any alternative to distilled water when watering your houseplants? Yes, there are several alternatives! We’ll describe them in the next section.
Alternatives for using distilled water for your houseplants
However, if you’re not quite ready to use distilled water, you still have some choices. Here are a few simple ways you can water your houseplants without using distilled water:
- Rain water
- Tap water that has settled for at least 24 hours
- Boiling tap water and letting it cool
Rain water is probably one of the best options for watering houseplants, when compared to tap water. It is clean and does not contain any of the contaminants that tap water contains. Choosing this solution has only one disadvantage: the rain water will need time to warm up if it is not already room temperature.
If you boil your tap water and allow it to cool to room temperature, that kills the pathogens and gets the water at the right temperature. However, this is a last resort since you could still expose your plants to chemicals in the water.
While distilled water is still the best option for watering your houseplants, it’s not the only option. You have a few great alternatives if you’re unable to use distilled water throughout your plant care routine. Depending on your needs, you can use tap water if you let it set for a day and/or boil it. Rain water is another great option to use but make sure to let it warm up before using it.
If you are wondering how to water your plants, you have a variety of options, so you can try them all to determine which works best for you.