pH electrodes will NOT give accurate pH values in distilled or deionized water because distilled and deionized water do not have enough ions present for the electrode to function properly. The readings will drift and be essentially meaningless. If you want to test the accuracy of your pH electrodes, use pH buffers.

Tap water usually has enough ions present to allow a pH electrode to function properly. Because of this, tap water can be a good short term (~24 hours) solution for storage.

It is important to keep mind that water (distilled, deionized, or tap) is NOT “pure” (i.e., pH equal to 7). The moment it comes in contact with air, CO2 gas begins dissolving into it, forming carbonic acid. The actual pH, therefore, will typically be slightly less than 7.

If you need to accurately measure the pH of a very pure sample of water, the ionic strength of the water can be adjusted, without changing the pH of the water, using pH Ionic Strength Adjusters (pHISA). pHISA can be purchased from Thermo Scientific,