How to Clean Battery Leaks and Spills

Written by ehow electronics editor
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Alkaline and lead-acid batteries are the most common batteries with which most people come into contact. Alkaline batteries, such as AA batteries, often leak when left in electrical appliances too long. Lead-acid batteries, such as car batteries, may leak and sometimes spill. Batteries contain corrosive chemicals that can cause damage and injuries if the chemicals are spilled or leak.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Protective goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Cotton swab or toothbrush

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  1. 1

    Put on protective gear, such as goggles and rubber gloves.

  2. 2

    Scrub alkaline battery leakage with a weak household acid like vinegar or lemon juice. You can use cotton swabs, toothbrushes or sponges to gently clean any areas that have alkaline residue on them.

  3. 3

    Use a thick paste made from baking soda and water to neutralize lead-acid battery leaks and spills. Alternatively, you can pour soda pop on the battery posts, then scrub them clean.

  4. 4

    Purchase an OSHA approved battery spill response kit if you work in an area where lead-acid spills are likely. The kits contain all the materials that you need to safely clean a battery acid spill.

Tips and warnings

  • Put petroleum jelly on lead-acid battery posts after cleaning them to prevent further corrosion and leakage.
  • Some battery manufacturers will clean or replace your electronic items if the battery leaked during the course of normal use.
  • Putting plain water on an acid-based battery spill is dangerous.
  • Ensure that you disconnect your lead-acid battery before cleaning it to avoid the risk of shock.

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