Image of multiple batteries upright

How to clean battery corrosion safely & naturally.

Last Updated: November 18, 2021

Battery corrosion can be dangerous to you and your favorite gadgets. Learn how to actually clean up battery corrosion safely and naturally.

Ever opened the battery compartment of a device — the TV remote, the kids’ talking toys, the smoke alarm — only to find everything covered in crusty battery acid? No fun — but no need to panic!

Battery corrosion and leakage are quite common, and you don’t have to toss out your gadgets that get slimed with it — yet. Here’s how to clean battery corrosion safely — and without equally gross chemicals.

While you’re at it … learn about other safe and effective green cleaning methods to keep your home spic ‘n span the nontoxic way.

But first, what is battery acid?

Battery acid is a highly corrosive substance that can ruin whatever device it leaks into. It also contaminates soil, burns your skin, and harms your eyes.

Leaky alkaline batteries emit a fluid that turns into a white, powdery crust.

Lithium-ion batteries might just suddenly quit working or, in rare cases, catch on fire or explode (yikes)!

Illustration of a skull and cross bones

Is battery corrosion dangerous?

Battery acid — and the corrosion that occurs when it leaks — is highly toxic and caustic. Alkaline batteries leak potassium hydroxide, a substance that can cause serious eye damage and respiratory and skin irritation.

So, how do you clean off battery acid safely? Well, the most important safety precaution to take when you’re dealing with battery corrosion is to wear gloves, a face mask, and eye protection. Keep scrolling for more specific tips on how to clean it up from various types of products.

What you need to safely clean battery erosion

Illustration of a check mark in a box

Wondering what type of cleaning product will work? Will baking soda and vinegar clean battery corrosion? Yes, in fact, this power couple is one of the best ways to banish battery corrosion for good.

Baking soda neutralizes the battery acid, and a little vinegar (or lemon juice) reacts with the baking soda to break it down.

Here’s everything you’ll need to remove corrosion in the battery compartment:

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

Become a Grove member

Wondering who Grove is, what types of products we offer, and how to get a free gift set when you sign up? Learn more about flexible monthly shipments, customizing your shipment, and joining millions of happy households — no monthly fees or commitments required.

3 steps to safely clean up battery corrosion

1. Protect yourself

Wear safety glasses, a face mask, and gloves while you’re mucking around with battery corrosion, which is highly caustic.

Protect your work surface with an old rag or a sheet of scrap cardboard.

2. Remove and dispose of the old battery

Remove the corroded battery from the device, and place it in sand or kitty litter in a sealable plastic bag (use a separate bag for each battery).

Call your city’s household hazardous waste office to find out how to dispose of it. Never throw corroded batteries in the garbage, since they’re a hazard in the landfill — and extra-hazardous to the environment.

3. Neutralize the battery acid

Sprinkle some baking soda over the corrosion to neutralize the battery acid.

Dip an old toothbrush or cotton swab in vinegar or lemon juice so it’s soaking wet, and dab it on over the baking soda. Let it fizz for a couple of minutes, then scrub the corrosion away and rinse with clean, water-soaked cotton swabs.

Let the compartment dry completely before you put new batteries in.

Grove Tip

Baking soda and vinegar: The dynamic duo

There’s not much baking soda and/or vinegar can’t clean, and they both do it 100 percent naturally. Intrigued?

Read up on how it went when Grove writer Phoenix tried cleaning vinegar on her pots and pans, windows, and shower door — and see what happened when Grove writer Kristen tried baking soda on some pretty hardcore household messes!

How to clean battery corrosion in toys

Battery acid in your kids’ favorite toys is no laughing matter. But before you send ‘em to the Island of Misfit Toys, watch below to see just how easy it is to clean battery corrosion in toys.

4 tips for preventing battery acid leakage

The best way to avoid having to clean up battery corrosion is to follow a few simple tips and tricks to prevent them from leaking in the first place.

1. Install batteries properly

Improper installation can damage the batteries, leading to acid leakage.

2. Remove the batteries if you aren’t going to use the device for a long time

If you're donating items, take the batteries out first.

3. Never mix old and new batteries in the same device

When the device dies, replace all of the batteries with new ones.

4. Don’t store batteries in the freezer or refrigerator

Just keep ‘em in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight.

Follow Emma Roberts' lead — Go plastic-free with natural products from Grove

Read more from Grove