What Is the Difference Between Reverse Osmosis and Deionization?

July 26, 2017

If you are a business looking to upgrade your facility’s water purification system to a system that is more efficient, or seeking information to help you choose the right system, then some terminology may interest you—specifically, “reverse osmosis” (RO) and “deionization” (DI), because they play a role in the water purification process for a wide range of industries. Another term to know is “deionized water,” which is the type of high quality water needed to clean instruments and fixtures used in certain facilities. Properly deionized water in Cincinnati, OH does not contain mineral ions, and other water contaminants are greatly reduced.

Let’s take a look at the key differences between reverse osmosis and deionization.

Reverse osmosis

Most of us are familiar with the word “osmosis” but aren’t exactly sure what it means or why it’s important. First, osmosis is a natural process dedicated to the movement of water molecules or the molecules of a solvent. The molecules move across a semi-permeable membrane from a less ion-concentrated solution over to a more ion-concentrated solution in order to balance out the concentrations on either side of the membrane. The human body uses osmosis to pass water to its individual cells.

Reverse osmosis is the opposite of osmosis in that it’s a process that moves water or a solvent through a porous membrane in the complete opposite direction for natural osmosis. This happens when water is forced to endure a greater hydrostatic pressure than normal. During the water purification process, reverse osmosis can remove a good amount of contaminants—between 90 and 99 percent. But to reach this threshold, pressure must be applied to the dirtier, more concentrated side of a semi-permeable membrane so that water molecules are sent back across the membrane. Once it reaches the cleaner, less concentrated side, you’ll get purified water.


Deionization is used for water purification for use in medical facilities, pharmaceutical facilities, laboratories and other places where purified water is necessary to avoid contamination. It is a process that removes positive and negative ions from water or a solution using an ion exchange process. Furthermore, deionization filters have several names, including ion exchange and nuclear grade; nuclear grade DI filters are capable of removing inorganic chemicals to produce ultra-purified water.

Because deionized water in Cincinnati, OH has such a high purity level, it degrades quickly. The good thing about deionization is that it’s a type of water purification system made to supply purified water only when needed. However, deionization filters are not physical filters that can trap and remove all sizes of bacteria and other particles, so deionization does not remove all types of contaminants.

Commercial and industrial facilities, including hospitals, labs, hotels, car washes, distilleries and more, can benefit from investing in on-demand water purification systems. For more information about deionization and deionized water in Cincinnati, OH, or to find out how a commercial RO water system in Cincinnati, OH can help your bottom line, call the experts at Ultra Pure Water Technologies, LLC. We look forward to assisting you!

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