How to Test Your pH Level Without Strips or Kit?

Why Should You Learn How to Test Your pH Level Without Strips?

To determine the acidity level of your water, you will need to test its pH and some of the simplest methods to test water pH level is by using pH test strips or a testing kit. However, this doesn’t mean that you are only limited to these two options because there are other methods available for testing the pH of your water.

A pH testing kit can be quite costly, and if you order it online, it would be impossible for you to know your water’s pH immediately because you’ll have to wait for it to arrive. There is also a possibility of you buying too many strips when in reality, you only need one.

With the help of this guide, you will learn different ways to test the pH of water without a kit or a test strip. In addition, you will also find other relevant information included in this guide. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

When Should I Test My Water pH Level?

If you have some concerns that your water is too acidic or alkaline, then it would be a good idea to test your water pH levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that the ideal range of water pH for city water supplies is between 6.5 and 8.5. However, pH is not regulated by the EPA.

For anyone that is using a city water supply, there is a low chance that your water will be too acidic or alkaline. But if your water comes from a private well, there would be a higher chance that the pH level of your water is higher or lower than what the EPA recommends.

pH is often affected by various factors and some of the common causes of a change in pH are the weather, acid rain, chemical or heavy metal pollution, or other pesticide contamination. You do not want your water to be too alkaline, as it will be unsafe to drink. On the other hand, you do not want it to be too acidic as well because your pipes may be corroded, leading to metal leaching.

Alkaline water consists of some healthy minerals that give the water its alkaline properties, and acidic water will be lacking these essential minerals. All in all, it would be a good idea to test the pH level of your water just to make sure that it isn’t contaminated with impurities and heavy metals (which is more likely for acidic water).

How to Test pH of Water at home Without a Kit or Strips?

Here are some effective methods of testing the pH of water without a kit or strips.

Using Red Cabbage

The first method is the red cabbage method. While a red cabbage might remind you of an ingredient you only see during the holiday season, it is actually more than just a side dish on the dinner table. Here are the steps that you can follow to use red cabbage for testing water pH:

  1. Cut the cabbage and place it in a clear glass bowl.
  2. Boil two cups of distilled water and pour the distilled water over the cabbage, completely covering the cabbage.
  3. Then, use a wooden spoon to stir the cabbage and let it sit for about half an hour.
  4. In the meantime, a chemical reaction will happen which causes the pigment molecules in the cabbage to change the color of the distilled water.
  5. The next step requires you to pour the water through a strainer to strain the cabbage from the water. The liquid that you gathered can now be used as your indicator solution to test pH levels.
  6. Finally, add the water you wish to test into a separate plastic or glass container, and add a few drops of the red cabbage pH indicator solution. The cabbage juice indicator will change color, depending on the alkaline or acidic level of your water.

If the red cabbage juice indicator turns into a pink or red color solution, it means the water is acidic, if the water remains purple, it means the water is at a neutral pH level, and alkaline water will turn the cabbage juice indicator blue, green, or yellow. You can then use a pH color chart to check the color changes and establish a numerical pH value that matches the color on the pH scale.

Besides red cabbage, you can try using other fruits and vegetables to make a pH indicator solution. Plums, red onion, blueberries, rose petals, apple skins, or turmeric can also be a great indicators.

DIY pH Testing Strips

The next method that you can consider using to test your pH at home is DIY pH testing strips in your cabbage juice indicator. This will allow you to identify the pH balance of your water in a clearer manner. You can select between coffee filters or acid-free art papers as your testing strips. Here are the steps to follow for conducting a water pH test:

  1. Follow the steps mentioned earlier to make your cabbage water.
  2. Take the pH paper and dip it into your cabbage indicator.
  3. Once the pH paper is fully saturated with the solution, take it out and let it sit on a clean surface to dry. Be sure that the paper is in a neutral environment free from any alkaline condensation or acids because it will affect the results of the pH test.
  4. When the paper has dried completely, you can cut it into several pieces and your DIY pH strips will be ready for use.
  5. After that, turn on your faucet and fill up a glass of water. You can then choose to dip the pH test strip into the glass of water or use a cotton swab to smear a water sample onto the pH testing strip.

Once the water comes into contact with the strip, it will change color and you can compare the resulting color with the pH color chart. Make sure that your pH test strips are thrown out after 5 days as they would’ve expired by then and won’t give accurate results. You can also compare your test reading to other alkaline and acid substances by doing a pH test for water mixed with baking soda, and vinegar.

Litmus Paper

The final pH testing option that you should use is litmus paper. A litmus paper is reasonably cheap compared to a pH test kit, and you can easily get it from your local DIY stores. To use a litmus paper for testing your water, you may follow these steps:

  1. Get a sample of water from any of your faucets.
  2. Dip the litmus paper into the sample that you’ve prepared and test its pH value.
  3. Observe the color change of the litmus paper.

For alkaline water, it will turn a red litmus paper blue. On the other hand, acidic water will turn blue litmus paper red. If your water is neutral, it will not affect the blue or red litmus paper.

How Effective is Litmus Paper for Testing pH?

While a litmus paper is easy to use and can provide a reading very quickly, it actually isn’t the best way to know exactly how alkaline or acidic your water is. No matter how alkaline your water is, the paper will just turn blue and the same goes for acidic water, except that it turns red.

The Most Accurate Method to measure pH levels in water?

Moving on, let’s take a look at the most accurate way to test pH of water, and that is by using a pH test meter. Even though using a digital pH meter is a more expensive way to conduct a water pH test, it is, however, much easier and faster than your own pH strips, or buying them online.

Additionally, a digital pH meter allows you to do a water pH test as often as you’d like to, and this can be a huge benefit if your water comes from a private well and you want to make sure your water isn’t too low or too high on the pH scale. Using a pH meter also eliminates the chances of a human error by the person testing.

A pH meter doesn’t rely on the change of color to determine how alkaline or acidic your water is. Instead, a pH meter measures the total amount of hydrogen-ion (acid) present in your water by dipping a glass electrode into the water. A numerical value of the pH level of your water will be displayed, allowing you to take necessary actions.

To ensure that you are getting an accurate reading from the pH meter, you can cross-check it with an established pH substance before you carry on with the test. Once you’ve verified that the pH meter provides an accurate reading, rinse the probe tip with double deionized water, and use a clean tissue or cloth to dry it before you use the meter to test your water.

Once the probe is cleaned, you can proceed to pour your test water into a small and clean container, letting it sit for several minutes to reach a stable temperature. Allowing the water temperature to stabilize is important because temperature affects the pH. You can determine the temperature of your test water by using a thermometer.

The temperature of your water should match the default temperature of the digital pH meter, and you can do so by inputting the temperature of the water into the meter. Once you’ve done that, place the probe into the sample until the tip of the probe is completely covered. All that’s left to do is wait for the digital meter reading to stabilize.


Now that you know the different methods to test the pH of water, you can easily test your pH without using strips or kits. If you want to save some money, you may opt for the DIY methods, but if your budget is more flexible, you should invest in a pH meter.


How can I neutralize water pH?

Base alkaline substances are typically used to neutralize acidic water, while acidic substances are used to neutralize base alkaline water. Here are some ways for neutralizing the pH condition of your water:

  • A water filtering system can be used at the point where the water enters your home. The neutralizing filters usually contain a substance to neutralize alkaline water, and the substance is calcium carbonate. If your water is acidic, you will need to use a synthetic magnesium oxide substance to neutralize it.
  • An injection system is also a good option as soda ash can be injected to neutralize acidic water, while acetic acid, which is found in vinegar, citric acid, or alum, can be used to neutralize high alkaline levels of water. However, injection systems require more maintenance as compared to a water filtration system.
  • A water distillation system can also be an effective way to neutralize the acidic pH of your drinking water. Distillers can heat and remove the acidic particles and steam that is free from acid will be formed.
  • A water ionizer system that uses electrolysis is another great choice because it separates the alkaline and the acidic parts of water. The alkaline water can then be used for drinking, while the acidic liquid can be used for washing and cleaning.

What is the suitable pH value for drinking water?

pH measurements range from 0 to 14, with 0 being at an extremely high acidic level, 14 being an extremely high alkaline level, and 7 being neutral. The EPA recommends that you drink water with a pH value of 6.5 to 8.5, 7 being the most ideal.

Does a human have a pH condition?

Yes. Humans have a natural saliva and body pH, which is why the health of your teeth and gums can be affected by the pH of your saliva. A tip for you when eating acidic foods is to take sips of pure water to rinse the acid from your mouth. You can also rinse your mouth with soda water, then with pure water. This helps to ensure your gums and teeth stay healthy.

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