How to Clean a Clock Battery Terminal

If your clock is struggling to keep the correct time despite replacing the battery, a build-up of dirt or corrosion on the battery terminals or battery compartment contacts could be to blame. Built-up dirt or corrosion can interfere with the connection between the battery and the contacts, resulting in a clock that lags. Luckily, regularly cleaning the inside of your clock's battery compartment can solve the problem and prevent future occurrences. The process is so simple that you'll have your clock up and running again in just minutes.

Keep your clock's battery terminals and contact clean to ensure proper performance.
  1. Locate the battery terminals at the ends of your batteries. Examine the battery terminals for dirt or corrosion before installing them in your clock.
  2. Clean any dirt or corrosion off of the battery terminals using a soft optical cloth. Remove stubborn corrosive build-up by rubbing the terminals with a small square of fine-grit sandpaper.
  3. Wipe out the inside of the clock's battery compartment with a soft optical cloth to remove any dust or dirt.
  4. Inspect the battery contacts in the clock's battery compartment for dirt or corrosion.
  5. Rub the battery contacts with a slightly damped cotton swab to remove any dirt or corrosion. Use a small square of fine-grit sandpaper to remove any build up that you cannot remove using water alone.
  6. Wipe out the inside of the clock's battery compartment again using a slightly dampened optical cloth. Allow the inside of the battery compartment to dry completely before installing your batteries.

Things You Will Need

  • Soft optical cloths
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Cotton swab


  • Many clock manufacturers recommend using alkaline, rather than rechargeable, batteries in their clocks to ensure the best performance. Consult your clock's owner's manual to see the battery recommendation of the manufacturer.


  • Never put corroded or leaking batteries into your clock's battery compartment.

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.

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