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How to Clean Leaking Batteries

We never give it much thought, but batteries are a big part of our lives considering they're used to power flashlights, remotes, laptops, mobile devices, smoke alarms, cars and countless other things used in our daily lives.  Be honest; the last time you gave a battery any thought was probably when it went dead, or leaked and made mess.  If you're wondering how to clean a battery leak, Rainbow International® has you covered!  Oh, and something you may not know - those spare batteries in your junk drawer that have never been used can leak, too.

Batteries act much like small fuel tanks that deliver power to devices.  Pressure inside a battery is caused by hydrogen gas that is released as the fuel breaks down.  As the pressure increases, it results in the leaking of potassium hydroxide which typically reacts with carbon dioxide to create the white powder (potassium carbonate) you want to clean up.  Potassium hydroxide can be harmful to the eyes, throat and skin, however the white powder we're going to clean up isn't a health threat. 

How to Clean Leaking Batteries

First you'll want to spread newspaper over your work area to contain the mess.  You'll also want to put on protective gloves.

Using a Q-tip, rag, or toothbrush, apply a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to the area that's corroded.  Let the liquid set for a couple of minutes so it can work to neutralize the alkaline discharge.  You may notice some fizzing, which is normal and not dangerous.

Using your Q-tip or rag, wipe away the excess residue.  Once the excess is removed, clean with a cotton swab or cloth and water.  Dry the device and you're ready to install fresh batteries.

Note:  If there are areas that are difficult to get to within the battery compartment, you may want to consider a toothpick. Sandpaper is useful for cleaning the contacts.

Lithium batteries are less prone to leaking, so you may want to consider this type of battery for your devices in the future.  Have you ever wondered about rechargeable batteries and whether they're a good option?  While they're more costly, there are situations in which the extra cost may be worth it.  You'll find this information helpful!

Cleaning a battery leak isn't hard at all, it's more of a nuisance.  Following the tips above, you'll have the white mess all cleaned up in no time.

As experts in fire and water damage restoration, mold removal, cleaning and reconstruction following a disaster, Rainbow International is always happy to provide homeowners with helpful tips!