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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

How Can You Tell Acids and Bases Apart?

By September 5, 2007

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There are many acids and bases in your home. Soap, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and ammonia are all examples of acids and bases. How do you know which is an acid and which is a base? The easy way is to check my pH list of common chemicals. If you have litmus paper, acids change its color from blue to red. Bases don't change the color of litmus paper, though they can return the blue color to paper that has been made red. If you don't have litmus paper, there are other properties that distinguish acids from bases. Acids taste sour, while bases taste bitter (that's not a particularly safe test). Bases tended to feel slippery on your fingers (another non-safe test). Acids and bases react with each other to form salt and water. Acids react with many metals to produce hydrogen gas. Both acids and bases can conduct an electric current in an aqueous solution, so you can't use that characteristic to tell them apart.

Acids & Bases Quiz | What Is the Strongest Acid?
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September 9, 2007 at 3:56 pm
(1) pamela back says:

I would like to make some fizzy bath bombs. Where can I find citric acid?

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