How to remove green corrosion on electrical terminals

Written by mary lougee
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How to remove green corrosion on electrical terminals
Electric boxes exposed to moisture form green corrosion on terminals and connections. (electrical box image by jimcox40 from

Electric terminals attach copper wiring to a metal object to conduct electricity for operation or grounding of an item. Vehicles have several electrical components with terminals including battery cables, starters and the air conditioning system. All electrical appliances and household fuses have terminals to connect them to their power source. Moisture in the air oxidises terminals and causes a green coating that reduces the electrical conductivity between components. Cleaning and protecting the junction of metals keeps electricity flowing properly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adjustable wrench or screwdriver
  • Plastic cup
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Spoon
  • Safety glasses
  • Wire brush
  • Automotive battery silicone spray

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  1. 1

    Turn the electricity to the component with corrosion off. Turn a car engine off or the main power switch to an electrical fuse box or unplug an appliance.

  2. 2

    Remove the electrical terminal from its connection point. Use a screwdriver to turn screws counterclockwise and pull the terminal off. Use adjustable wrenches to remove bolts from a terminal to disconnect them.

  3. 3

    Mix one part baking soda to three parts of water in a plastic cup. Stir the mixture with a spoon to melt the baking soda. Put on safety glasses.

  4. 4

    Dip a wire brush into the mixture in the cup and brush onto the terminal and connector. The mixture will bubble up on the green corrosion to release its hold on the copper and metal terminals, connections and wires. Continue brushing and adding the mixture until all corrosion is removed.

  5. 5

    Let the terminal, wires and connectors dry completely.

  6. 6

    Spray a liberal amount of automotive battery silicone spray on each side of the connection. Reconnect the components with screws or bolts.

Tips and warnings

  • Silicone spray coats copper and metals that touch to conduct electricity and block moisture from the joint.
  • Wear safety glasses to protect eyes while scrubbing connections with a wire brush. Bubbling corrosion on the wire brush may splash into your eyes.

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