How to Reduce TDS of Water?

How to Reduce TDS of Water?

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We all know that water quenches our thirst and has other remarkable qualities. But many of us don't realize how much those waters are affected by TDS or Total Dissolved Solids. It's a fancy term for the chemicals and minerals in your daily drinking water. 

Too much TSD can cause several health issues as it builds up over time. That's why today we're discussing how to reduce the TDS of water for everyday consumption! 


What is TDS in water and its purpose?

TDS, aka Total Dissolved Solids, measures dissolved minerals and other materials in water. The purpose of measuring TDS levels is to gauge the quality and health of your drinking water since high levels can indicate potentially harmful chemicals or contaminants.

Moreover, high TDS may make the water salty and bitter, which isn't fit for human consumption. 


What does TDS contain?

Most people think of hard, salty water in Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). But TDS is a combination of inorganic salts and organic matter! 

Inorganic salts comprise a significant component of Total Dissolved Solids (around 75-90%). The principal constituents are calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium salts. Other minor components may include iron and sulfates.  

Organic matter makes up 10-25% of TDS, mainly carbon compounds from natural sources such as humic acids released from soil particles. 

An even distribution between in

organic salts and organic matter will help ensure good water quality. Here's a table to understand the constituents of TDS better.

The importance of measuring TDS levels in water? 

Measuring Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) level in water is vital for residential and commercial applications. 

For residential use, measuring the TDS level impacts how drinking water tastes, smells and even looks. Higher levels can result in unpleasant "off-tastes" that many would describe as bitter or salty. In comparison, lower levels can lead to bland-tasting tap water. 

Furthermore, higher levels could cause mineral deposits around your sink area due to calcification and potentially damage fixtures like pipes and other plumbing features. 


How to measure TDS levels in water?

Now you know the meaning of TDS in water. Measuring total dissolved solids can be done with various testing kits, devices, and methods. 

TDS meter

This device measures electrical conductivity, which helps you identify dissolved solids in your sample by creating an electrical current that passes through it once this liquid solution has been added. 


  • Requires minimal effort or technical knowledge
  • Gives accurate readings quickly


  • Doesn't give detailed results about the solid impurities

Gravimetric analysis

This is one of the most accurate ways to measure TDS levels in the water. It involves measuring the weight of solid particles left behind when a measured volume of water is evaporated. 


  • Provides precise analysis and results. 


  • The procedure includes longer wait times for analysis as well as equipment costs.


The reaction between the reagent and dissolved solids will cause this color change. This will allow you to determine your TDS value based on how much reagent was needed for the transformation. 


  • Accurate readings can be taken via molecular-level interactions between the tested components.


  • These types of tests require more skilled professionals, typically given their complexity.

TDS (total dissolved solids) testing is just the tip of the iceberg when measuring the amount and composition of dissolved substances in a body of water. While TDS can tell you approximately how much total matter is present in your sample, it won't tell you what individual substances are present or at what concentrations they're found. 

If you need more information about which compounds are involved, additional testing methods like ion chromatography and mass spectrometry to know about substance concentrations. Ion chromatography is a valuable technique used to separate ions and molecules through specialized columns. 

The filtered material is then detected by electrical detection or post-column derivatization. This suits it, particularly for trace analysis in water testing, since different compounds can be precisely identified to parts per billion or even parts per trillion. 

Mass spectrometry works on the same principle but at larger scales. Instead of ions being separated, molecular particles are fragmented into smaller pieces. These are then assigned weights based on their particular charge/mass ratio, enabling them to be more accurately identified than IC alone could manage. 


TDS levels in water: how much is safe for your health? 

Although it is widely accepted that drinking water with a moderate level of total dissolved solids (TDS) is safe for your health, the exact limit of TDS levels in water can vary by source and location. According to the World Health Organization, a good benchmark for acceptable TDS levels in drinking water would be 50-500 mg/l. 

Here's a table of safe total dissolved solids in drinking water, and learn how to reduce the TDS of water at home. 


Why reduce TDS in water?

Reducing Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in water is an important goal in preserving our freshwater resources. Here are a few great reasons why: 

  • Health concerns: High levels of TDS in drinking water can lead to various health problems, including digestive issues, skin irritation, and even kidney stones for those with weaker constitutions. 
  • Aesthetic Reasons: Quite simply, having high concentrations of TDS makes the water less aesthetically pleasing – it looks cloudy or murky without treatment and may taste slightly bitter or salty due to certain dissolved minerals that can give off unpleasant flavors. 
  • Industrial Processes: High amounts of TDS can cause scaling on machine parts used in industrial processes, which damages equipment over time if not regularly descaled. This expensive process requires regular maintenance when TDS levels rise too high. 
  • Agricultural Irrigation: The natural salt content in water drawn from rivers is already relatively high due to inputs from runoff throughout the watershed basin. Reducing these salts allows those waters to have much more efficient use rates in one's crop fields without causing adverse long-term effects for the crops themselves! 

Methods for reducing TDS in water 

Several effective methods of reducing Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels exist. Let's break it down:

  • Activated carbon filters: Activated carbon is one of the most popular means of filtering out TDS from water. It works by trapping beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium while removing unwanted contaminants through adsorption. 

By passing untreated water through an activated carbon filter, particles, chemicals, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants will be captured by the porous surface of the charcoal. This makes it one of the most efficient methods to eliminate chlorine, heavy metals, sediment, and other pollutants from your drinking water. Activated carbon may reduce organic matter by 90% and heavy metals by 70-80%. 

The advantage of using activated carbon filters over alternative methods is their ability to trap particles much smaller than those that can be removed by mechanical filtration or any other type of media filter. 

The absorption process used by these filters provides superior purification while at the same time conserving resources because they don't require backwashing as many other types of filters do. This type of filtration can improve taste and odor and reduce chlorine levels. 

  • Reverse osmosis: Reverse osmosis filters out almost all dissolved salts, particles, bacteria and other contaminants in water supplies. RO systems force unfiltered water through a semipermeable membrane with tiny pores that only allow pure molecules. This removes nearly 99% of dissolved solids. 
  • Distillation: Distillation is another reliable way to remove dissolved solids such as salts and metals from your drinking water thanks to its boiling point properties separating entire impurities present within a sample liquid using vapor extraction, which leaves behind only purified H₂O molecules.
  • Deionization: Deionization works similarly to reverse osmosis but does not require pressure or temperature adjustments. Instead, positively charged ions attract negatively charged ions until the change turns into neutralized HOH molecules.
  • Ion exchange: Ion exchange uses resins (little beads which contain active sites) to replace problematic cations [positively charged ions] with positive charges bound by hydrogen - either proton obtained from sodium chloride solution or sodium bicarbonate. 

Let's compare all these methods to remove TDS from water.

Factors to consider when choosing the best TDS reduction method 

Choosing the best TDS reduction method depends on many factors, so it's essential to consider weighing your options. 

  • Cost: Investing in a long-term solution will save more than using a short-term approach. Skip buying bottled water and tossing bottles into landfills. Installing a reverse osmosis system or another filtration system in your kitchen taps could be much cheaper. 
  • Water quality: It’s also crucial when selecting your TDS reduction method. Make sure the device you choose meets applicable standards for drinking water safety. 
  • Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency may be an issue if you want something with minimal power draw. 
  • Water usage: The end usage of the water will be a factor in removing TSD, depending on whether it's for industrial use, agricultural use, or human consumption.


Does 0 TDS reading perfect?

With a zero TDS reading, there's a good chance that your water could be missing essential minerals and nutrients needed for human health and having an overly acidic pH level.

Is pollution the only source of TDS?

When it comes to TDS (total dissolved solids) in drinking water, pollution from human sources can contribute. However, natural environmental factors like storms and coastal areas subjected to seawater runoff have higher readings than most of us would be comfortable with.

TDS=water hardness?

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) and water hardness are often confused with being the same, but it's important to note that there is an essential difference between them. TDS measures all potential particles in your water, while water hardness only looks at calcium and magnesium. 



While natural levels of TDS can vary depending on the source and geography of the water, high levels of TDS can lead to a subpar taste and unpleasant odor in drinking water and buildup scale in plumbing fixtures. Therefore, it is vital to reduce TDS. 

The first step is understanding which method to reduce TDS from your water supply. You may choose reverse osmosis or distillation. You may use an activated carbon filter to learn how to reduce the TDS of water without RO. Glacier Fresh activated carbon filters are ideal for improving the taste, odor, and even the color of drinking water. 


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