How to Measure PH?
The most important indicator for water quality is the pH level, which indicates whether the water is neutral, acidic, or basic (alkaline). Learn how to measure the pH of water.
Listen here, folks, today's pH value of your local creek is 6.8! Now this is not something that you would hear about on your local news channel, is it? And, when you think about it, what do you really know about how to measure ph? Sure, maybe years ago you did a science project for your chemistry class and took the pH of water samples. Maybe you even got a good grade. But what did you actually learn? Do you remember the basics?
Well, let’s do a quick recap. The most important indicator for water quality is the pH level, which indicates whether the water is neutral, acidic, or basic (alkaline). pH of 7 is considered neutral (neither acidic nor basic) while values below 7 are viewed as acidic, and values above 7 are viewed as alkaline (basic). So far, so good. Now, when it comes to water - you should know that quality water should at least have a neutral pH value. High-quality water should lean towards the alkaline side of the pH scale.
Let’s compare this with products that we use in everyday life. For example, coffee has a pH value that varies from 4.85 to 5.10 which is considered acidic. The same goes for lemon and orange juices that have pH values of 3 and 3.9 respectively. Our mornings are looking pretty sour right about now. On the other hand, kale and tofu have a pH of 7.5, and baking soda has a ph level of around 8.3. That kale smoothie doesn’t sound so bad right about now?
Understanding the PH Scale
The pH scale is a logarithmic scale which means that the differences of a single integer actually represent a tenfold difference in acidity or alkalinity.
The range goes from 0 to 14 and measures the base or acid quality of the water. Although the scale ranges between 0 and 14, some very strong acids may have a negative pH, while some very strong bases may have a pH exceeding 14.
Water normally contains an equal amount of hydroxide ions and hydronium ions. When the proportion of hydroxide and hydronium ions change the ph level also changes. Or to put it simply pH is a measure of the amount of free hydroxyl and hydrogen ions in the water. Acidic is the water that has more amount of free hydrogen, while basic (or alkaline) is the water that has more free hydroxyl ions.
Measuring PH Levels
There are various different methods that we can use to measure pH levels. And they are relatively easy to do, which means you can do them on your own, even at home. Great news!
Testing with a pH Meter
The method including pH meter involves a pH-sensitive electrode and a reference electrode. Before starting, you should calibrate the probe and meter, by following the manufacturer's instructions. The calibration process might include previously testing in a substance with a known pH level. Before using it, you should clean the probe, rinse it with water and dry it with a clean tissue.
The next step should include collecting a sample in a clean container that must be deep enough to cover the tip of the electrode. You should let the container of water sit for some time to allow the temperature to stabilize. The accuracy of the pH meter probe is affected by the temperature of the water. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the sample and adjust the meter to match.
After this, you should put the probe into the sample and wait for the meter to come to equilibrium. Read the pH meter to get the measurements of the water sample. If the results are closer to 7, you have pure water.
Testing with Litmus paper
The litmus test is a quick method to determine whether the sample is acidic or basic (alkaline). Litmus paper can either be red or blue. To perform the test, drip the litmus paper into the sample for a few seconds.
If the blue litmus paper changes to red, the sample is acid. Red paper can indicate that the sample is alkaline or basic if it changes to blue. Blue paper that doesn't change color indicates that the sample is alkaline. And the same goes for the red paper that doesn't change color - it's acid.
Although the litmus method is simple and quick it faces a few limitations. The litmus paper can only tell if the water sample is alkaline or acid, but it doesn't give a numerical pH value. In some cases, the paper can change colors for other reasons excluding the acid-base reaction.
Testing With PH Test Strips
Did you ever wonder how to measure pH in the body? It's really easy and simple to see how acidic or alkaline your organism is. It's a well-known fact that acidity in your body can cause all different kinds of problems, like fatigue, allergies, mood disorders, etc. It's important to know our bodies' pH levels so we can adjust our diet accordingly.
So to test the pH in our body and to get the information that you need, you should test your body fluids, preferably both urine, and saliva. For these kinds of tests, you can use pH test strips that provide reliable and quick results about your pH levels.
Today it is so easy to know the pH level on almost everything. You can just google the type of food, and in less than a few seconds you will know whether the apple you're planning on eating is acid or alkaline. However, when it comes to measuring the ph in your body or the water you drink it's a different story. Luckily there are tool kits that give this kind of information for the pH levels for both your body and your water. And they are precise and quick. It is crucial to monitor the pH levels on a consistent basis. This will allow you to have a more detailed sense of what is that you're dealing with and what (or if) you need to change.
What Is the Most Accurate Way to Measure pH?
The most precise way to test water is with a pH meter. Testing with a meter reduces the chances of dealing with a human error. However, the pH meter is not as easy to use as test strips for example, and is also more expensive. If you just want to test your home water pH levels or your body's pH and not do a complicated lab experiment, you can opt for some quality pH test kits.
How Do You Check pH at Home?
The perfect way to check your pH at home is by using pH testing drops which can quickly and accurately determine the pH levels of your water or even saliva. You can just add a few drops to your water and have an immediate answer about your pH levels. So easy right?
What Household Items Can Be Used to Test pH?
You can make your own pH indicator strips with a couple of items you can find in your home. You’ll need coffee filter papers and red cabbage. First, you’ll need to make a juice in your blender with the red cabbage using distilled water. Next, soak the coffee filter paper in the concentrated cabbage juice which acts as a neutral at this point. You can dry the paper by removing them from the juice and cutting them into thin strips. Dip the strips into different kinds of liquids to test out their pH levels. If the strip turns red, you have an acidic fluid. If the strip turns green you have an alkaline or basic fluid. If it stays purple, the substance you’re testing is neutral.