How to identify whether a solution contains an acid or a base

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How to identify whether a solution contains an acid or a base

The use of universal indicator is the most precise way to determine whether a solution is acidic or basic. The universal indicator is made up of 14 different colors that not only indicate the acidity or basicity of a solution but also the strength. A PH higher than 7 indicates that the solution is basic and a PH lower than 7 is an indication of the presence of acid in the solution. The litmus test is another way to determine the acidity or basicity of the solution. When a drop of the solution is put on a piece of blue litmus paper and it turns red, then the solution contains acid. When the red litmus paper turns blue, then the solution is basic. Red cabbage juice can also be used for the acid-base test. The red cabbage juice turns red or pink if the solution is acidic or green/blue if the solution contains a base.

Common household products that contain acid

Yogurt contains lactic acid

Lemon juice contains citric acid

Cranberry sauce contains citric, quinic, L-ascorbic and malic acids

Batteries contain sulfuric acid

Vinegar contains acetic acid

Common household products that contain base

Toothpaste contains mostly fluorides such as sodium fluoride. Sodium carbonate is also another base found in toothpaste

Chalk contains Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

Soap contains caustic soda chemically known as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) (Gilani, 2018).

Drain cleaner contains NaOH

Baking soda contains a weak base called sodium bicarbonate

Acid rain

Acid rain is rainfall that has high contents of sulfuric and nitric acids recording a PH ranging from 4.2 and 4.4 (Nunez, 2018). It can also be in the form of fog or snow. Aquatic ecosystems are the ones most affected by acid rain. As the acid water flows through the ground before pouring into water bodies, it leaches aluminum from soil particles. A significant number of aquatic life cannot endure acidic waters or even temperate aluminum resulting in their loss. For instance, most fish eggs will not hatch at a PH level of 5 or below and at lower levels some fish cannot survive. The leached aluminum from the soil also affects plants as well as animals. Acid rain ejects crucial minerals and soil nutrients resulting in deficiency in plants. At high altitudes, acidic fog has the capability to strip nutrients from the leaves of trees killing the leave and leaving them unable to absorb sunlight and manufacture nutrients. Acid rain also releases pollutants (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxides) into the air that are significantly detrimental to human health.

There are various things that can be done to control acid rain. Limiting the amount of sulfur generated from factories burning fossil fuels is one way. Factories that use coal to generate power should use coal that contains fewer amounts of sulfur or washing the coal to reduce the amount (Bradford, 2018). Scrubbers are equipment installed in smoke chimneys to remove the sulfur from the gaseous by-products released into the air. Avoiding the use of fossil fuels entire is the more precise solution. Renewable sources of energy provide a better option because they produce fewer pollutants.


Bradford, A. (2018, July 14). Acid Rain: Causes, Effects and Solutions. Retrieved from

Gilani, N. (2018, April 27). List of Household Bases & Acids. Retrieved from

Nunez, C. (2018). What is Acid Rain? Retrieved from

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