How to Test ph of Water Without a Kit?

You must test the pH level of the water to determine its acidity level. Unpolluted water is neutral with a pH level 7. A pH level above 7 is considered to be alkaline or base and a PH level below that is considered to be acidic.

The pH level gives you an idea of how contaminated the water is and works like a precaution measure to avoid water-borne diseases. So, how can we test the pH of water without a kit?

A typical pH kit consists of pH test strips, pH test meter, and indicator drops. But, if you don’t have these kits, you can test the pH level by using a litmus paper or a red cabbage.

Why Should You Test the pH Level?

Water with a low pH can dissolve toxic chemicals. The water with such contaminants is unsafe for human consumption.

You are recommended to check the water sample on-site. When a sample is collected and tested later, carbon dioxide in the air can get dissolved in your water sample. When this carbon dioxide reacts with the ions, it increases the acidity in basic or neutral solutions. To prevent this, the sample water must be tested within 2 hours of collection.

Methods of Testing pH Level

These simple tests are suitable to get quick results for simple household needs. They may not work for commercial testing on products you intend to sell.

Testing the pH of Water Without a Kit- Using a Red Cabbage

Step 1: Cut a red cabbage and place it in a clear glass bowl. Boil two cups of distilled water separately. Pour this boiled water into the glass bowl with red cabbage, covering it completely. Stir occasionally and leave it for about 30 minutes.

Step 2: A chemical reaction in the cabbage makes the pigment molecules alter the color of the distilled water. Strain off the resulting liquid which has a purplish red color. This will now work as your pH indicator solution.

Step 3: Pour the resulting liquid in a separate clear glass or plastic container. The, put a few drops of the pH indicator solution in this container.

Step 4: The watercolor will now change, giving you an idea of whether it is acidic (pink or red), neutral (purple), or basic alkaline (blue, bluish-green, or greenish-yellow). You can match this color against a color chart to determine the numerical value on the pH scale.

The numbers on any pH scale range from 0 to 14. You can try experimenting with various other fruits and vegetables to make your own pH indicators. Such as blueberries, plums, red onion, turmeric, red rose petals, apple or grape skins.

Testing the pH of Water Without a Kit- Using pH Testing Strips

Testing strips gives a more accurate color that helps to identify if your water is acidic or alkaline.

Step 1: Place the testing strip in a clear glass or plastic tube.

Step 2: Pour water in the tube, make sure it covers the pH test strip.

Step 3: Pull it out after a few seconds and match the resulting color to the pH color chart.

How to Make a pH Testing Strip- DIY

Get a filter paper such as acid-free art papers, coffee filters, and immerse it in the cabbage juice indicator. Once it is thoroughly wet, remove the paper and let it dry in an environment free of acid or alkaline condensation. After it is dried, cut the paper into strips. You can smear your sample water on the test strip with a cotton swab and compare the color of the strip against the pH color chart.

A testing strip needs to be kept dry at room temperature. Generally, it expires within three to six days.

Testing the pH of Water Without a Kit- Using Litmus Paper Strips

Litmus paper only gives you an acidic or alkaline response. The paper is either red or blue in color.

  1. If your sample water is alkaline or base, it turns red litmus paper to blue.
  1. Likewise, If your sample water is acidic, it turns blue litmus paper to red.
  2. In the case of neutral or pure water, the color of the litmus paper does not change.
Using Litmus paper in water Using Litmus paper in gas
Prepare a sample Dampen the litmus paper
Dip the litmus paper in your sample Expose litmus paper to gas
Analyze the result Analyze the result

How Effective is a Litmus Paper for Testing pH Level of Water?

Litmus paper gives a quick result but might not be always accurate. If it shows your solution is acidic, you cannot determine if the pH is 2 or 6. For better accuracy, you should opt for a pH meter or a pH paper.

The Most Accurate Way to Test the pH level of Water

Testing with a digital pH meter is more precise and reduces the chance of mishandling or any other human errors. Different people see colors differently, so the tests depending on color may not be most accurate. The use of outdated strips can also affect the accuracy of the reading.

A pH meter measures the total amount of hydrogen-ion in the water. It does not depend on changing colors and displays the numerical pH value.

For a correct reading, you must verify the accuracy of the meter and also clean the probe tip with double deionized water. Once the tip is dry, you need to make sure the temperature of the sample water matches the temperature of the meter. Lastly, you can dip the probe in the sample water and wait for the meter reading to stabilize.

Final Words,

Every substance around you, be it the water you bathe in, the juice you drink, or the saliva in your mouth, has a pH level. Testing the ph of water is important for various different reasons and can be done in various ways. The methods mentioned in this article are all easy and suitable for DIY testing.