How to Clean Battery Leaks and Spills

by Contributor

Alkaline and lead-acid batteries are the most common batteries with which most people come into contact. Alkaline batteries, such as AA batteries, often leak when left in electrical appliances too long. Lead-acid batteries, such as car batteries, may leak and sometimes spill. Batteries contain corrosive chemicals that can cause damage and injuries if the chemicals are spilled or leak.

Step 1

Put on protective gear, such as goggles and rubber gloves.

Step 2

Scrub alkaline battery leakage with a weak household acid like vinegar or lemon juice. You can use cotton swabs, toothbrushes or sponges to gently clean any areas that have alkaline residue on them.

Step 3

Use a thick paste made from baking soda and water to neutralize lead-acid battery leaks and spills. Alternatively, you can pour soda pop on the battery posts, then scrub them clean.

Purchase an OSHA approved battery spill response kit if you work in an area where lead-acid spills are likely. The kits contain all the materials that you need to safely clean a battery acid spill.


  • Put petroleum jelly on lead-acid battery posts after cleaning them to prevent further corrosion and leakage.
  • Some battery manufacturers will clean or replace your electronic items if the battery leaked during the course of normal use.


  • Putting plain water on an acid-based battery spill is dangerous.
  • Ensure that you disconnect your lead-acid battery before cleaning it to avoid the risk of shock.

Items you will need

  • Protective goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Cotton swab or toothbrush

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