How to Test Water pH at Home

Have you ever wondered why your hair just doesn’t feel clean after a shower? Or why your clothes don’t feel as soft and luxurious as they used to? The answer could be in your water! In this article, we’ll take you through the steps for testing your home’s water quality and hardness. You’ll learn about what the results mean, as well as how to make sure your water is safe and healthy for you and your family.

Water testing kit with all the supplies laid out on a tile counter.

Testing Your Water Quality at Home

The first step in testing your home’s water quality is to purchase a water testing kit. You can find these at most hardware stores or online. I purchased the SJ Wave 16 in 1 Water Test Kit. The kit comes with 100 test strips and are designed to test a variety of different parameters, including pH (or acidity/alkalinity) levels, hardness, chlorine content, iron levels, and other potential contaminants.

Our home is supplied water from a well rather than public city water. There are pros and cons to having a well as the water quality can vary considerably. I like to test our water from time to time to make sure there are no heavy metals or contaminants present. Having a DIY kit that only takes a few minutes makes regular testing easy and convenient.

How to Use the DIY Water Testing Kit

Once you have the kit on hand, follow these easy steps:

Time needed: 5 minutes

How to test the PH of your water at home with a kit.

  1. Remove strip from the bag

    Immediately seal the bag tightly and put it away. It’s important that the unused strips do not get exposed to moisture otherwise they will become defective.

  2. Dip the strip in water

    Immerse the reagent area of the strip in the water sample for 2 second and take it out immediately. Usage a clean paper towel to absorb excess water from the edge of the testing pads. .

  3. Wait 30 seconds

    Hold the strip horizontally for about 30 seconds and compare the results against the chart provided with the kit.

  4. Get the results

    Read the results within 30 seconds in good light for the most accurate results.

Test strip submerged in a test tube filled with tap water.

Interpreting Your Results

Once you’ve read your results, it’s time to interpret them! Different regions will have different standards for acceptable water quality levels, so consult with local government or environmental agencies if you need help understanding what constitutes safe drinking water in your area. Generally speaking, here are some of the things you should look out for when interpreting your results:

  • pH Levels – Ideal pH levels should be between 6-8; any higher than 8 could indicate an alkaline imbalance which can lead to corrosion in pipes and fixtures over time.
  • Hardness – High mineral content (hardness) can cause problems like scale buildup in pipes and fixtures; ideal hardness levels should be less than 150 parts per million (ppm).
  • Chlorine Content – While chlorine helps disinfect drinking water from bacteria and other contaminants, too much chlorine can impart an unpleasant taste or odor; ideal levels should be less than 4 ppm.
  • Iron Levels – High iron content can give off a metallic smell; ideal levels should be under 0.3 ppm for best results.
  • Other Contaminants – Some areas may also have additional criteria depending on their specific environment; check with local authorities if there are any other contaminants you should keep an eye out for when testing your water supply at home.
Water testing color chart with the used test next to it to interpret the results.

As you can see from the test strip above the water sample I tested passed all areas. Our water is soft and slightly alkaline. There is a recommended threshold for a few of the chemicals which is indicated by the black box surrounding some of the colors.

Our tap water is soft which is surprising considering well water has a reputation for being full of minerals that can make it hard. When we visit our family in California I can never seem to get my hair clean in the shower no matter how often I wash it. The water there is hard and leaves a residue on my hair.


Testing your home’s water quality is essential if you want clean and safe drinking water free of any harmful contaminants or minerals that could damage plumbing fixtures over time. With a bit of effort—and some help from a simple DIY testing kit—you’ll be able to make sure that both you and your family are getting all of the benefits that come along with having high-quality H2O.


What happens if the pH in drinking water is high?

When the PH of water becomes greater than 8.5, water taste can become more bitter. This elevated pH can also lead to calcium and magnesium carbonate building up in your pipes. While this higher pH doesn’t pose any health risks, it can cause skin to become dry, itchy and irritated.

What is an unhealthy pH for water?

Acidic water with a pH of less than 6.5 is more likely to be contaminated with pollutants, making it unsafe to drink.

How can i test the pH of my water without a kit

You can use litmus paper or a pH meter to determine how acidic or alkaline your water is.

How do you change the pH of your water?

You can apply lime treatment to raise the pH of the water. You can also reduce the pH of the water using a light acid such as vinegar.

Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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