How to Test Soil pH With pH Test Strips


A gardener should always know the pH level of his soil. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil, but others do best in alkaline soil. Soil pH testers are readily available at most garden supply stores and are simple to use and understand. The kits come with paper strips that change color and a color chart that tells the pH level. Once you know your soil's pH level, you can adjust it accordingly to fit your needs.

Step 1

Put 1 tbsp. of soil into a bowl.

Step 2

Add just enough distilled water to make the soil the consistency of a milkshake. The amount of water needed depends on the type of soil you have. Add a little water at a time, and constantly mix it with a spoon.

Step 3

Let the soil sit for one hour. If the soil dries out at any point during the hour, add more water.

Step 4

Dip a pH test strip from the soil pH tester kit in the soil, and let it sit for one minute. Then, rinse the strip with distilled water.

Step 5

Compare the color on the strip to the color chart included with the pH tester kit.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use tap water, as it may contain chemicals and minerals that can alter the test results.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Distilled water
  • Spoon
  • Soil pH tester kit


  • Neighborhood Link: Soil pH Test Notes
Keywords: test soil pH, read pH test strips, use soil pH test strips

About this Author

Kenneth Coppens is a part-time freelance writer and has been for one year. He currently writes for Demand Studios, eHow, Associated Content and is the Indianapolis Craft Beer Expert for Examiner.