Dry your hands well with a towel. Handling the test strip with wet fingers will alter the test results.
Read the test strip instructions to determine how long the strip should remain underwater.
Open the test strip container. Remove a strip, grasping its top edge between your thumb and index finger to minimize contact. Replace the container's cap.
Submerge the test strip directly into the swimming pool, to the depth recommended in the instructions. Keep it underwater for the recommended length of time, usually a few seconds.
Remove the strip from the pool. Shake off the excess water.
Place the strip on a dry table or other flat surface. Wait for the manufacturer's recommended time while the strip changes color. Use your watch to time the wait.
Compare the strip's color with the test color chart. The chart may be on the back of the container. A color falling in the 7.2 to 7.8 pH range is suitable for pool water. A lower number is overly acidic -- a higher number is too alkaline.