Science, Tech, Math › Science Learn the pH of Common Chemicals Share Flipboard Email Print The pH of lemon juice is around 2, making this fruit highly acidic. ANDREW MCCLENAGHAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated May 07, 2019 pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a chemical is when it's in aqueous (water) solution. A neutral pH value (neither an acid nor a base) is 7. Substances with a pH greater than 7 up to 14 are considered bases. Chemicals with a pH lower than 7 down to 0 are considered acids. The closer the pH is to 0 or 14, the greater its acidity or basicity, respectively. Here's a list of the approximate pH of some common chemicals. Key Takeaways: pH of Common Chemicals pH is a measure of how acidic or basic an aqueous solution is. pH usually ranges from 0 (acidic) to 14 (basic). A pH value around 7 is considered neutral. pH is measured using pH paper or a pH meter. Most fruits, vegetables, and body fluids are acidic. While pure water is neutral, natural water may be either acidic or basic. Cleaners tend to be basic. pH of Common Acids Fruits and vegetables tend to be acidic. Citrus fruit, in particular, is acidic to the point where it can erode tooth enamel. Milk is often considered to be neutral, since it's only slightly acidic. Milk becomes more acidic over time. The pH of urine and saliva is slightly acidic, around a pH of 6. Human skin, hair, and nails tends to have a pH around 5. 0 - Hydrochloric Acid (HCl)1.0 - Battery Acid (H2SO4 sulfuric acid) and stomach acid2.0 - Lemon Juice2.2 - Vinegar3.0 - Apples, Soda3.0 to 3.5 - Sauerkraut3.5 to 3.9 - Pickles4.0 - Wine and Beer4.5 - Tomatoes4.5 to 5.2 - Bananasaround 5.0 - Acid Rain5.0 - Black Coffee5.3 to 5.8 - Bread5.4 to 6.2 - Red Meat5.9 - Cheddar Cheese6.1 to 6.4 - Butter6.6 - Milk6.6 to 6.8 - Fish Neutral pH Chemicals Distilled water tends to be slightly acidic because of dissolved carbon dioxide and other gases. Pure water is nearly neutral, but rain water tends to be slightly acidic. Natural water rich in minerals tends to be alkaline or basic. 7.0 - Pure Water pH of Common Bases Many common cleaners are basic. Usually, these chemicals have very high pH. Blood is close to neutral, but is slightly basic. 7.0 to 10 - Shampoo7.4 - Human Blood7.4 - Human Tears7.8 - Eggaround 8 - Seawater8.3 - Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)around 9 - Toothpaste10.5 - Milk of Magnesia11.0 - Ammonia11.5 to 14 - Hair Straightening Chemicals12.4 - Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)13.0 - Lye14.0 - Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) Other pH Values Soil pH ranges from 3 to 10. Most plants prefer a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Stomach acid contains hydrochloric acid and other substances and has a pH value of 1.2. While pure water free of undissolved gases is neutral, not much else is. However, buffer solutions may be prepared to maintain a pH near 7. Dissolving table salt (sodium chloride) in water does not change its pH. How to Measure pH There are multiple ways to test the pH of substances. The simplest method is to use pH paper test strips. You can make these yourself using coffee filters and cabbage juice, use Litmus paper, or other test strips. The color of the test strips corresponds to a pH range. Because the color change depends on the type of indicator dye used to coat the paper, the result needs to be compared against a chart of standard. Another method is to draw a small sample of a substance and apply drops of pH indicator and observe the test change. Many home chemicals are natural pH indicators. pH test kits are available to test liquids. Usually these are designed for a particular application, like aquaria or swimming pools. pH test kits are fairly accurate, but may be affected by other chemicals in a sample. The most accurate method of measuring pH is using a pH meter. pH meters are more expensive than test papers or kits and require calibration, so they are generally used in schools and labs. Note About Safety Chemicals that have very low or very high pH are often corrosive and can produce chemical burns. It's fine to dilute these chemicals in pure water to test their pH. The value won't be changed, but the risk will be reduced. Sources Slessarev, E. W.; Lin, Y.; Bingham, N. L.; Johnson, J. E.; Dai, Y.; Schimel, J. P.; Chadwick, O. A. (November 2016). "Water balance creates a threshold in soil pH at the global scale". Nature. 540 (7634): 567–569. doi:10.1038/nature20139 Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Learn the pH of Common Chemicals." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/ph-of-common-chemicals-603666. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 26). Learn the pH of Common Chemicals. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ph-of-common-chemicals-603666 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Learn the pH of Common Chemicals." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ph-of-common-chemicals-603666 (accessed April 12, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: What are the Differences Between Acids and Bases?