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How to Clean Alkaline Battery Corrosion

Jennifer Habersham

After having not used a battery-operated electronic device for quite some time, you might find that the item doesn’t work. Thinking that the batteries have run dead, you open the back to find the batteries caked with a chalky white substance that has a distinct metallic smell. Your batteries have corroded.

Thankfully, unless the damage is severe, you should be able to fix the problem. Cleaning the corroded area is simple, but work carefully so as not to burn your skin.

  1. Put on your gloves. Alkaline battery corrosion can burn your skin, so it is important to keep your hands covered.

  2. Remove the battery and discard.

  3. Wipe away any large pieces of the corrosion with your wash cloth.

  4. Pour a small amount of white vinegar into your bowl.

  5. Dip your cotton swab into the vinegar and rub it along the corroded area. The vinegar will dissolve the corrosion. Repeat until the corrosion is gone.

  6. Dip your cotton swab into ordinary water and rub along the area that was corroded. This will help to remove any vinegar residue.

  7. Wipe the area down with your second wash cloth to make sure that everything is dry. The corrosion caused by the alkaline battery will now be gone.

  8. Tip

    When using the vinegar, the corroded area will fizz when the vinegar comes in contact. This is normal. Some people prefer to mix the vinegar with water before applying to the corroded area. While this is not necessary, it will still work. However, it will take longer to remove all of the corrosion. If you have a large device with alkaline battery corrosion, substitute wash cloths for the cotton swabs.


    Alkaline battery corrosion can burn the skin.