Does Microwaved Water Affect Plant Growth? My Grandchildren Did a Research Project for Me.

Mark Virkler's picture

I have seen pictures on the internet of plants withering when fed microwaved water, and I wanted to know for myself, so I offered to pay each of my three grandchildren $1 if they would do an experiment for me. Their mom, Charla Virkler, oversaw the experiment and she shares the results below. 

Water Testing by Charla Virkler and Her Willing Helpers/homeschooled Kids

I've heard of families who tested different kinds of water on plants, in hopes of seeing firsthand what affect (if any) microwaves and filters have on the quality of water.

I always wondered if they'd doctored their findings. The microwaved plant withered so quickly, I figured there was a good chance they didn't let the water cool completely, or they were adding fertilizer of some kind to the non-microwaved version.

So when we did this challenge, I made sure it was as completely above-board as possible. I needed to prove this to ME!

We went to the hardware store and bought three containers of mums (because it's October and that's all you can find now).

We marked one "filtered water," one "tap water," and one "microwaved water." I asked the kids what they thought would happen.

Jasmine (Age 9): filtered water might win because the water is clean and doesn't have anything added to it. Microwaved water might work because it kills the bad stuff. (Earlier thoughts: tap water is closest to rain water, so it's what the plants are used to.)

Bekah (Age 7): filtered water will win. I don't know why.

Hudson (Age 5): microwaved water will win because it might make it better.

For the next 12 days, we watered the plants with the appropriate water. The filtered water comes out cool, so I let it warm up in the sun for a couple hours, while the microwaved tap water cooled. When both were at room temperature, the kids watered all three plants.

We set them all out in the sun all day, and brought them in if it looked like rain. (We missed it one evening, but by then the results were clear so it didn't make any visible difference.)

Day 1 - Microwaved Water

Day 12 - Microwaved Water

Day 1 - Filtered Water

Day 12 - Filtered Water

Day 1 - Tap Water

Day 12 - Tap Water

Do You Really Want to Eat or Drink Anything Microwaved?

Results were very clear. Tap water didn't help the plant grow much, but didn't kill it as quickly as the microwave did. The filtered water was the only one that helped the plant to flourish. 

OK, personally, that is enough research for me. My $3 convinced me I do not want to consume anything microwaved. If water is damaged this much, can you imagine what the microwaving does to destroy the nutrient quality in food? I want to flourish. You can surely invest $3 and get your grandkids to do a similar experiment.

Also, I don't need chlorine or fluoride or pharmaceuticals in my water. I want them filtered out. So I can easily and cheaply switch to filtered water.

If you want additional research on microwaving food and health, check out these articles:


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Anonymous's picture

I don't know if you still follow this

But thank you for doing this! I’ve been looking through articles myself, my biggest question is did you microwave the water in a plastic container? That’s somewhat known for being malignant to health, but if you microwaved it in glass that would be really something notable, I think.

Anonymous's picture

Microwaving the container

Thanks for your question!
I never (EVER) microwave plastic, so I did use a glass container. I have a small glass measuring cup I used for all the plants.
I hadn't even thought about that part of things because I do so carefully avoid putting plastic in the microwave!
Charla :)

Anonymous's picture

Other comments

I was asked a few things after this article was published.

The directions for the plants said they needed to be moist, so I watered them whenever the dirt got dry, so every 2-3 days. (I've always tended towards being an under-waterer rather than an over-waterer). I watered all three plants at the same time (making sure the water didn't intermingle), and they all got the same amount of sunshine. If I'd overwatered one, they'd all be overwatered.

I was very surprised that there was so much difference in such a short time! I expected we'd have to keep doing it for 2-3 months before we'd see any change!

If there are other things I didn't mention that I should have done to keep them more controlled, I'd love to hear that you tested this yourself. The plants I used (hardy mums) were less than $5 for the three, so it's an easy, quick, cheap test to do.

Charla Virkler

Anonymous's picture

Water Test

I have a couple of concerns with the testing results. The first is that the health of each plant is not known prior to testing. I have purchased multiple plants of the same type, feed and watered them the same with the resulting one or two that did not fair as well as the others purchased at the same time. The second was that the filtered water, of which I am a very big fan of, was placed in the sunshine to warm. Is it possible the sunshine could make the water even better than it just being filtered? I know I feel better in the sunshine.

All that aside, I will need to do more reading on the microwave information and the filtering research that is mentioned.

Thank you and your family for caring and sharing!!

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for your

Thanks for your thoughts!
You're right that the health of the plants might not have all been identical. I did my best to buy three that looked close in flowering age. The ideal scenario would have been to start from seed, but my thumb isn't terribly green when I start from seed.
It is possible that the sunshine helped the filtered water even more...I'm not sure of another way of getting the filtered water warm enough not to put the plants into shock from the cold, though (it's hooked up to our refrigerator, so it's colder than cold tap water).
If you decide to do this test as well, I'd love it if you wanted to report back on your own findings!