How to Cleanup Battery Acid

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Avoid contact with battery acid.
Avoid contact with battery acid. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Batteries power many home electronics, from video-game controllers to cameras. Each battery contains an alkaline material called potassium hydroxide, also known as "acid," which can be harmful if it leaks. Leaks can be caused by hot temperatures, high humidity or just weathering over time. Battery acid is dangerous if you come into contact with it. When cleaning up a battery spill, be certain to wear protective gear to prevent exposure.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Lemon juice or vinegar
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic bags

Put on protective gloves and eye wear before dealing with cleaning up the spilled acid. Battery acid is corrosive and can damage skin and eyes, and induce respiratory problems.

Dip a cotton swab in vinegar or lemon juice. This will be used to neutralize the acid.

Use the cotton swab to carefully wipe away any acid that has leaked from the battery. Wrap any used cotton swabs in paper towels before you dispose of them.

Place any leaking batteries in paper towels and dispose of them in a plastic bag. Double bag the battery to be safe.

Do not use lemon juice or vinegar if the leak comes from a car battery. These use a different sort of acid. Instead, use baking soda to neutralize the leaking acid.

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