How To Test Soil Acidity/Alkalinity without a Kit

Do-It-Yourself Soil Test

Man wearing jeans and boots holding dirt in hands
Compassionate Eye Foundation/Steven Errico/Getty Images

Find out if your soil is acidic or alkaline without a pricey test kit. This simple diy test will give you immediate results.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 minutes or less

What You Need:

  • A soil sample
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • 2 sample containers

Here's How:

  1. Scoop some soil into a container. Then, add half a cup of vinegar. If the soil bubbles or fizzes, it's alkaline.
  2. If there's no reaction, scoop a fresh soil sample into a second container. Add half a cup of water and mix. Then, add half a cup of baking soda. If the soil bubbles or fizzes the soil is highly acidic.
  1. Amend your soil with wood ash or lime, if it's acidic. Amend your soil with sulfur or pine needles, if it's alkaline.

Keep in Mind: Good pH is only one aspect of healthy soil. To improve the health of your soil, check out:


  1. If you want a precise pH measurement, get a soil test kit from your local university extension office or home improvements store.
  2. Soil amendment takes time, so make small changes and wait for them to take hold, before making further amendments.
  3. You may have different types of soil in different parts of your yard, so consider testing each of your garden beds.
  4. Continue to test and tweak your soil over time. Maintaining healthy soil is an ongoing task.

Continue Reading...