How to Remove Battery Acid




About: Ashley hails from beautiful, sunny, Idaho--what am I saying? Ashley is actually a potato that has experienced intense genetic modificaiton. Idaho does not exist. I.D.A.H.O. is actually a top secret governme...

Battery acid buildup is an unfortunate circumstance that can lead us to think our electronics are dead. This usually happens when you leave batteries in an electronic over a long period of time without using it. Battery acid shows up in the form of a white powder, and can cause some serious damage to your electronics. In an ideal world you either use your electronics all the time, or take your batteries out when you think you won't be using it for a while. Unfortunately for me, I like to think that I use my electronics much more often than I actually do meaning that I leave batteries in all the time.

I picked up my trusty TI-84 Plus Silver Edition calculator the other day to find that it had some battery acid buildup. Instead of tossing it (let's be real, I don't have the heart) I was able to neutralize the acid and clean up the battery compartment good as new! Hopefully this instructable helps you salvage some of your unused but still loved electronics!

Step 1: What You'll Need

It's pretty simple to get rid of battery acid. The important part is to use ingredients that will neutralize the acid. You'll need the following:

  • baking soda
  • cotton swabs
  • a small container
  • water
  • paper towels
  • gloves

Odds are you have most of these already!

Step 2: Neutralize the Acid

Start by carefully removing the batteries from the device. Try not to touch them as the acid is bad for you so if you have gloves go ahead and put those on. Then put a couple teaspoons of baking soda into a small container. Add enough water so that it becomes a paste, and use your Q tip to coat the battery acid with the paste. This helps to neutralize the acid and allows it to be safely cleaned away.

Step 3: Take It Away!

Now grab a clean Q tip, or paper towel and dip it in water. Use this to remove any of the baking soda paste (and the acid!). Use another dry Q-tip or paper towel to help dry out any pooled water, and let the electronic air dry for an hour or so to make sure that all of the water is evaporated. This will also let you see if there is any baking soda or acid left over. Repeat this process until everything is removed.

Be sure to safely recycle any of the compromised batteries you took out of the electronics and use fresh ones to avoid the same thing happening!

Thanks for reading, and hopefully this helps you salvage any acidified electronics!

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    3 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I always use white vinegar. I also apply it with a cotton swab. The vinegar dissolves the battery acid residue and cleans the contacts very well. I let the vinegar soak for a few minutes until it stops foaming then I remove the leftover residue with cotton swabs and let air dry before replacing the batteries.


    2 years ago

    They are called Alkaline batteries because they use an alkaline electrolyte instead of an acidic one. You aren't neutralizing any acid with that paste, but instead scrubbing the corrosion and alkaline salts from the leads. Using a drop of vinegar on a cotton swab followed by water would yield similar results.

    Good job on using what you had on hand to take care of a problem. That takes good ingenuity. Well done!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! And thanks for the super helpful comment, that's good to know as an alternate method!