Does Salt Change the pH of Water?

By John Albers; Updated April 24, 2017
Does Salt Change the pH of Water?

What is pH?

pH is a measurement of a liquid's acidity or alkalinity. It exists as a scale ranging from -1 to 14. Literally pH refers to the concentration of hydrogen ions within any solution. Low pH values are connected with high concentrations of hydrogen ions, while high values are connected with low concentrations. Acids have low pH values and alkalines have high pH values. The scale is based on the concentration of hydrogen ions in pure water, whose value on the scale is a 7. Seven is considered to be something called a base, meaning it is neither acidic nor alkaline. Anything with a lower value that 7 is acidic, the lower the number designating the strength of the acidity. For example, stomach acid is a 2. Anything with a value higher than 7 is considered to be more alkaline, bleach being a 12.

What are the Chemical Properties of Salt?

Salt is chemically known as sodium chloride. It is one of the most common mineral compounds found in the world, with untold tons of it filling the sea. It's also the most common spice found in foods across the world. It's required for the human body to function normally, the sodium-potassium exchange being an integral part of the impulse causing the human heart to beat. Chemically speaking, it's a desiccant. It absorbs water from its surroundings. However, as it neither has nor produces any hydrogen ions, it's neither acidic nor alkaline. It's a base.

Does Salt Change the pH of Water?

It depends upon the pH of the water into which the salt is being introduced. Chemically speaking, salt is a base compound, falling smack in the center of the acid-alkaline spectrum. If introduced to water which has a high pH, the pH might be lowered incrementally toward the center of the pH spectrum depending on how much water there was and how much salt was introduced. If the water had a very low pH, making it very acidic, the salt would increase the pH toward the center of the spectrum.

About the Author

John Albers has been a freelance writer since 2007. He's successfully published articles in the "American Psychological Association Journal" and online at Garden Guides, Title Goes Here, Mindflights Magazine and many others. He's currently expanding into creative writing and quickly gaining ground. John holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Central Florida in English literature and psychology.