How to Clean Battery Corrosion Off Electronics

corroded battery

How to Clean Battery Corrosion Off Electronics

Does your electronic device turn off randomly? Does it no longer hold a charge? Battery corrosion may be to blame. Luckily, a thorough cleaning may restore your electronics to working condition. Here’s everything you need to know about managing and preventing battery corrosion.

The Real Reason Batteries Corrode

How and why does battery corrosion form in the first place? This white, crusty substance is a sign of battery damage, and it happens to even the best batteries over time. Alkaline batteries (those found in most consumer electronics) are notorious for developing leaks. And when leaks form, corrosion quickly follows.

Batteries leak for many reasons. The most common is old age. Once a battery passes its expiration date, the casing is more prone to developing a leak. Sudden changes in temperature may also cause the battery to expand or contract too quickly. When this happens, the battery will begin to discharge hydrogen gases. Eventually, a trail of potassium hydroxide corrosion will form on the terminals and damage the battery.

Potassium hydroxide is quite toxic and is known to cause skin and eye irritation. You should always wear gloves before handling corroded batteries.

4 Steps for Cleaning Battery Corrosion in Electronics

Battery corrosion doesn’t mean your favorite electronics are broken. After a thorough cleaning, your device should work like new. But what removes battery corrosion from electronics? All you need is an acid and a base.

Gather these simple supplies:

  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • Cotton swabs
  • Protective gloves
  • Lint-free cloth (optional)

Now it’s time to remove all traces of corrosion.

Step 1: Dissolve the Discharge

Surprisingly, battery corrosion is a base on the pH scale. You can neutralize it using a household acid. Lemon juice or vinegar are both great options. First, put on some protective gloves. Then remove the batteries and set them aside. Use a cotton swab to apply a small amount of your chosen acid directly to the corrosion on the electronic device. The residue should begin to dissolve. Gently wipe with the cotton swab to remove residue.

Step 2: Scrub with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a helpful cleaning product. It has abrasive properties, yet it’s still gentle on electronics. Apply a small amount to the affected areas of your device, and rub it in to remove stubborn traces of corrosion. Then wipe the surfaces down with cotton swabs or a slightly damp, lint-free cloth.

Step 3: Allow Time to Dry

Once you have cleaned away the corrosion, you need to let your device dry completely before installing new batteries. You can wipe with a dry, lint-free cloth to speed up the process.

Step 4: Dispose of Corroded Batteries

Corroded batteries are useless. After you remove them from your electronics, you need to dispose of them properly. While some local waste management guidelines allow people to throw away alkaline batteries with the regular trash, other areas have recycling protocols in place. Recycling is best for the environment. You can use this online tool to find battery recycling drop-off points near you.

Ways to Prevent Battery Corrosion

While you may not always be able to prevent a leaking battery, you can take a few precautions. First, never use expired batteries. It’s also not wise to mix old and new batteries. If you replace one battery in a bay, it’s best to replace the rest at the same time. Store your devices at room temperature and avoid placing electronics in direct sunlight or near other heat sources.

Professional Electronics Restoration to the Rescue

Maybe you can’t stop battery corrosion and other types of damage to your electronics, but you can still remedy the situation. Whether your devices were compromised by corrosion, water, or fire, Electronic Restoration Services can restore them. Connect with ERS online or call 866-CALL-ERS  for immediate help.