[Histonet] Distilled Water vs DI water for IHC and H&E staining

Morken, Timothy Timothy.Morken at ucsf.edu
Thu Jul 28 11:54:01 CDT 2016

Charles, for most histology applications water from laboratory-grade DI and distilled systems are fairly interchangeable because modern systems bring them pretty close to the same purity. But some stains can be affected if they are susceptible to chemical interactions with something left in the water. That is probably more important for tests like enzyme histochemistry than bulk chemical dye staining. 

These systems are not just stand-alone "deionized" or "distilled" anymore and now include various pre- and post- filtration steps for removing particulates, volatile compounds, bacteria, etc  (ours "DI" system has several DI resin beds, carbon filters, particulate filters, UV etc). Even modern distilling systems will filter tap water with various filters (particulates, carbon, bacteria) before distilling. 

I don't think the consumer type filters will do the same job as a DI or distilled system. They are designed to filter out only the particulates and volatile compounds (particulate/bacteria and carbon filters for the most part). There is no deionization or demineralization (assuming you are using city tap water). However, a reverse osmosis system (which also has several other filters pre-RO) may do the trick for you. It is not quite as good at purifying as a laboratory-quality DI or Distilled system, but may suffice for histology. 

Tim Morken
Pathology Site Manager, Parnassus 
Supervisor, Electron Microscopy/Neuromuscular Special Studies
Department of Pathology
UC San Francisco Medical Center

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Riley via Histonet [mailto:histonet at lists.utsouthwestern.edu] 
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 4:54 AM
To: histonet at lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Distilled Water vs DI water for IHC and H&E staining

Does anyone know if there is a difference in staining results when using DI water versus Distilled water? Our lab is trying to get away from the DI system we have as it is becoming expensive to maintain and we were looking to see if we could just use a home drinking filter with UV lighting for our water supply. Please let me know any thoughts or concerns you might have with this idea


Charles Riley HT(ASCP)CM

Histopathology Coordinator/ Mohs
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