how to clean corroded battery terminals

How to Clean Corroded Battery Terminals

Have you opened a car’s hood only to find out that a whitish or ashy substance has covered up the battery terminals? This substance can result in the battery’s inability to generate power to start the car’s engine.

Corrosion and rust are common on a car’s battery when the car is packed without being used over a long period. In this case, most people may resolve to get a new battery replacement; not so fast because corroded battery terminals can be cleaned.

This article thoroughly addresses how to clean corroded battery terminals. Sit back, relax and go through every bit of information provided here to guide you in getting rid of those corrosions and rust on your car’s battery terminals.

How to remove Car Battery corrosion

It is pretty simple to get rid of corrosion and rust from a car’s battery. Kindly follow these steps as they guide as a step-by-step process to enable you to clean the corroded terminals of your car’s battery.

Step 1: Turn off the car’s engine

First and foremost, turn off the car’s engine because the battery is a delicate component that can lead to electrocution. Ensure to take preventive measures like wearing hand gloves and eyeglasses as you commence the process.

Step 2: Remove the battery cables

Use a wrench to remove the battery’s cable from the terminals (from negative to positive to avoid a spark or electrocution from the current flow).

Step 3: Mix baking soda with water

After removing the cables, the corroded areas on the battery terminals and part of the cable clamps will be exposed. Then, mix some baking soda in a small quantity of water (maybe a cup of water would do) inside a dish.

After that, get a toothbrush or battery terminal brush and apply the mixture on the battery terminals and the cable clamps. Scrub the surfaces thoroughly until the corrosion is entirely out of the terminals and the clamps.

Step 4: Dry the surfaces with a towel

Once you are satisfied with the extent of the corrosion removal from the battery terminals and cable clamps, dry the surfaces with a clean towel or any other cloth.

Step 5: Add petroleum jelly to terminals

After wiping the surface with a clean cloth, get some petroleum jelly and apply it on the battery terminals and the cable clamps to prevent any possible future corrosion.

Step 6: Reconnect the battery.

Once the whole corrosion cleaning process is done, gently reconnect the battery cables to the terminals in the reverse order with which it was disconnected (starting from positive to negative).

How to clean Battery acid off terminals

It is important to note that battery acid can result in chemical burns; hence, it is essential to get some protective equipment like eyeglasses and hand gloves before cleaning battery acid off terminals. To clean battery acid off terminals, follow the guide below.

  • Get white vinegar or lemon juice.

White vinegar or lemon juice are mild acids that can get rid of battery acid easily. White vinegar eliminates battery corrosion like baking soda-water solution. So, you could pour some white vinegar or lemon juice into a small container or dish.

  • Dabble the liquid with a brush

After getting the vinegar or lemon juice, use a toothbrush or any other small brush to dabble the liquid on the battery acid. Carefully dip the brush in the vinegar or lemon juice and use it to scrub the battery acid until it is completely eliminated.

  • Wipe the battery terminals surface

Once the battery acid is completely out of the terminals, get a clean cloth and thoroughly wipe out the liquid from the terminals.

After that, remove any available residue by scrapping the terminals with a metal device. Then, polish it with a pencil eraser to finish the cleaning.


Does a corroded battery need to be replaced?

A corroded battery may not necessarily need to be replaced because it can be cleaned. After that, the battery can work again. So, if your car’s battery is corroded or covered with rust, kindly remove the battery and clean it. However, if it is an original battery and the terminals are covered with heavy corrosion and rust, you may have to replace the battery with a new one in other to avoid any future complications in your car.

What happens if you touch a corroded battery?

Touching a corroded battery is not ideal at all. Corroded battery terminals can result in chemical burns if you touch them. The chemical burns may not be immediately obvious, but its symptoms would surface after a few minutes or hours.
Some of such symptoms include; redness of the skin, blackened skin, and skin irritation. So, to avoid any of such problems, avoid touching the corroded areas of a battery’s terminals. If you need to clean them, ensure to be extra careful and use protective materials like hand gloves.

How do you clean corroded battery terminals with Coke?

Coke is a common soft drink, but some people have not realized that it can clean out corroded battery terminals. Amazing!
So, how do you clean corroded battery terminals with Coke? Here’s how to: Gently remove the negative battery cable from its position and do the same for the positive.
Please do not remove the positive terminal before the negative terminal; it can result in electrocution because the current is still intact.
After that, open a bottle or can of Coke and pour it slowly over the corroded areas of the battery terminals. Ensure to pour a little quantity. The Coke will form bubbles and consume the corrosion and rust on the battery terminals.

Does vinegar clean corrosion?

Of course, vinegar is one liquid that can clean rust and corrosion, even the ones on a car’s battery terminals. To clean out corrosion and rust from a battery’s terminals, get some white vinegar and soak the terminals with the vinegar for some hours.
After that, the vinegar will dissolve the corrosion; then, you can wipe the terminals with a clean cloth. This can effectively remove the rust and corrosion on a car’s battery.
If your car’s battery’s terminals are corroded, why not try out the white vinegar method and see how effective it would be in removing the corrosion?

Can you clean battery corrosion with alcohol?

Alcohol can also be an effective liquid to use in cleaning corroded battery terminals, as they contain elements capable of eliminating corrosion and rust on battery terminals. A classic example of such alcohol is Isopropyl alcohol.
Suppose your vehicle’s battery terminals are corroded because the vehicle was packed or the battery was kept somewhere for a long time. In that case, you could use Isopropyl alcohol to remove such corrosion and use the battery again.

Final thoughts

Getting rid of a battery because its terminals are corroded may not be the best, except in rare cases. The corroded terminals can be cleaned with specific liquids, and the battery can be used again.

Why not experiment with how to clean corroded battery terminals using any of the approaches described above in this article on the corroded surface of your car’s battery terminals?

However, if the corrosion is very bad, you may have to inquire from a professional auto mechanic if such a battery can be used after being cleaned. Ensure to always protect your car and its components from any form of complications.


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