How to Use pH Strips to Test Water

By Alex Smith; Updated April 24, 2017
Lemon juice is acidic and rates a two to three on the pH scale.

pH strips allow you to test the acidity of a liquid. The strips measure on a scale of 14, where seven is neutral. Lower numbers are increasingly acidic, while higher numbers are increasingly alkaline (or basic). Water, being a neutral liquid, should register a seven. If a pH strip shows that it is another number, you know that the water is not pure. pH strips are fast and easy to use.

Fill a beaker with the water that you wish to test. Make sure that the beaker is completely clean of foreign contaminants that may affect your test.

Tear off a pH strip from the pack.

Dip the strip into the water briefly. The time required depends on the brand of strips that you are using. Some strips require 20 seconds while others need only one, so read the instructions carefully.

Remove the strip from the water after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed.

Compare the color of the strip to the chart provided with the strips. Acids are represented with warmer colors (red, orange, etc) while alkalines are represented with cooler colors (blue, green, etc).

Tip

Some strips are designed to test a smaller portion of the pH scale. Make sure you get strips that test the entire range.

About the Author

Alex Smith began writing in 2006 and brings a combination of education and humor to various websites. He holds a Master of Arts in theater and works as a professional makeup and special-effects artist.