How to clean alkaline battery corrosion

how to clean alkaline battery corrosion


If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have a battery leak, you know just how corrosive potassium hydroxide can be. The alkaline batteries that power most household electronics tend to corrode over time and eventually leak this noxious substance. While the corrosion itself isn’t dangerous, it can damage devices and create a hazardous situation if left unattended. Fortunately, cleaning alkaline battery corrosion is quick and easy once you know what steps to take!

alkaline battery

Alkaline batteries tend to leak potassium hydroxide, a corrosive substance that can cause skin irritation. Learn to clean battery corrosion safely and effectively using common household items.

Alkaline batteries are often used in smoke detectors, flashlights and other household appliances. While these types of batteries can be useful for a variety of purposes, they also have the potential to cause damage if handled improperly.

When alkaline batteries are exposed to air for an extended period of time, a chemical reaction occurs that results in corrosion—a grayish-white substance that forms on the battery terminals and on any nearby surfaces where it has dripped. This corrosion is usually caused by mishandling the battery or leaving it in storage for too long without using it.

If you suspect that your alkaline battery contains corrosive material as a result of improper handling, here’s how to clean up its mess safely:

Stop your child from playing with batteries! Kids love shiny objects like coins or jewelry – but don’t let them play with batteries because they can hurt their eyes if they get too close while holding them up toward light sources like flashlights or mobile phones!

Steps. Wipe the battery leak with a cloth or sponge.

To remove alkaline battery corrosion, wipe the visible area of the battery with a cloth or cotton swab. After you’ve finished cleaning, use a dry cloth to dry off any remaining water droplets.

Don’t use paper towels to clean your batteries because they will leave lint on them. Also avoid using anything abrasive like steel wool or scouring pads because they could damage the plastic sealant around the terminals and cause further leakage.

If possible, try not to touch or handle these batteries at all until you’ve cleaned them up!

Steps. Wear gloves when handling alkaline batteries.

Step 1: Wear gloves and safety goggles when handling alkaline batteries.

Step 2: Remove the battery from your device with the tongs, being careful not to burn yourself in the process.

Step 3: Dispose of the battery in a fireproof container (like a metal can) to prevent fires from occurring due to alkaline corrosion or leaks.

Steps. Clean the terminals with a moistened toothbrush.

To clean the terminals, you can use:

  • A moistened toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol
  • A cotton swab dipped in distilled vinegar (or water)
  • An old paper towel or cotton swab that’s been dipped in distilled vinegar

Steps. Clean the area with a soft, damp cloth.

  • Place the alkaline battery in a baggie and dispose of it as hazardous waste, according to local ordinance.
  • Wipe the area clean with a soft, damp cloth.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling the battery.
  • Dry the surface completely with a paper towel or soft cloth until there is no moisture left on it at all.

Step. Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

To prevent future corrosion, apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the terminals before you put them away.

Step: Dip a cotton swab in distilled vinegar and clean the corroded area on the battery.

Dip a cotton swab in distilled vinegar and clean the corroded area on the battery. Rinse off the battery with clean water, then dry it with a soft towel or paper towel.

Step: Rinse the battery under running water.

Rinse the battery under running water.

If your battery has been submerged in salt water, rinse it thoroughly with fresh water to remove all traces of that noxious substance.

Step: Clean the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol.

To clean the terminals, use a toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol and scrub away any corrosion. The rubbing alcohol will dissolve any corrosion but it will also corrode the terminals. Make sure you are wearing gloves when cleaning the terminals as well as eye protection because of possible splashes from the caustic liquid you have to pour on them.

Corrosion should always be cleaned right away in order to prevent damage to your electronics or other devices.

The longer you leave corrosion on your battery, the more damage it can do. Corrosion is especially dangerous for alkaline batteries because of their high voltage and silver oxide cells. While your electronic devices may still operate after a few weeks or months of corrosion, the electrical current that flows through them will be weaker than normal. This means that your devices will run at lower power levels and may not function as well as they did before they were damaged by alkaline battery corrosion.


If you follow these steps, your alkaline battery corrosion will be cleaned up in no time. You can also use this method on other types of batteries that have corroded due to leakage or damage.