Acid or Alkaline? The pH of Everyday Items

From alkaline diets to the pH value of food types, measuring pHhas moved beyond the laboratory and into everyday life. Why does pH matter? Some sources believe that proper pH balance is essential for good health. In an aquarium, low pH can put fish in distress and some species may die. In soil, pH indicates nutrient values that are feeding plant growth.

pH Values

Vinegar is about a 2 on the acidic scale (highly acidic) while toothpaste is about a 9 (more alkaline).  A pH value of 7 is neutral. As the number decreases the substance ranks as more acidic; as it increases it is deemed more alkaline. Values range from 0 (totally acidic, such as battery acid) to 14 (fully alkaline, for example, drain cleaner). Tap water is usually a 7 (neutral) while soapy water is influenced by the alkaline in the soap and measures a 12.

Measuring pH

The pH pocket testers, like the Oakton EcoTestr pH2+ Pocket pH Meter, are handy for quick tests. Use them on swimming pools, for home brewing, soil quality, and more. Handheld, portable meters, like the Oakton pH 5+ Handheld pH Meters, typically offer more features than testers and are good for laboratory and field use. Benchtop meters, like the Oakton Benchtop pH 700 are best for stationary lab applications and typically offer larger displays and more robust data management. Litmus paper or pH indicators are quick and inexpensive and provide a quick, rough indication of pH.

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