Batteries provide power to our cars, electronics, and smartphones hence becoming a trivial part of our daily lives. Therefore battery leakage differently known as battery acid is not an uncommon occurrence. This mostly occurs when the batteries are not used for an extended period thus leading the terminals in a battery to be covered with acid. This unfortunate occurrence can leave you thinking your electronic gadgets are dead as opposed to the truth.
To make matters worse, all this can happen despite heeding to the expiration date listed on the package. So, the next time your batteries manifest a white flaky substance, this corrosion should not worry you as it is easy to be handle. Let us learn about the dangers of battery leakages, neutralizing battery acid using vinegar, and how to remove the acid.
Most batteries contain harmful chemicals that can not only cause damage to the device but also to anyone handling the corrosion and anyone who comes into contact with it. The potassium hydroxide released from leaks is highly toxic. It can cause eye irritation, burn your skin, and cause respiratory problems. For example, breathing exposed lead from lead-acid batteries can cause kidney and brain problems.
The fore-mentioned health hazards can be prevented by adhering to the following safety precautions while handling battery leakages:
?By wearing long-sleeved clothes and gloves, either latex or rubber to avoid acid coming into contact with your skin.
?If the acid makes contact with your skin, flush the burned area under running water.
?Covering your mouth with an allergy mask when handling large batteries
?Handling any acid leakages in a safe and well-ventilated environment. For example, when dealing with small batteries make sure to place a sheet of paper over your working space.
?Wearing safety glasses or goggles to keep your eyes safe.
Understanding these dangers and safety precautions can help you make better decisions when it comes to handling, storing, and disposing of batteries.
Does vinegar neutralize battery acid?
The potassium hydroxide released in battery leaks is alkaline. This is the case in most AA and AAA batteries. Alkaline being a base, you will need an acid component to neutralize it hence making white vinegar the idle choice. When faced with battery acid corrosion, grab vinegar and dab it on the corroded place and wait it out to do its magic.
Before removing any battery acid, one has to first take safety precautions by wearing protective gear and ensuring it is done in a safe and protected environment. After doing this, the following steps can be taken:
Step 1: Disconnecting or Removing the Battery
You should remove batteries correctly to avoid damaging the electronics terminal. When it comes to disconnecting car batteries, you should not touch both terminals at once. The clamps should be removed from the grounded terminal first before the ungrounded terminal.
Step 2: Examining the Terminals, Clamps, and Cables
Carrying out an examination helps you to know the extent of the damage. Examining the battery compartment in remotes and phones would help you know if the damage is salvageable or not. In the case of cars, knowing the extent of damage on clamps and cables would enable you o know if any acid spillage occurred, and to know whether replacement is necessary.
Step 3: Determining the Type of Battery
Most small batteries used in remotes, phones, torches, and small gadgets are alkaline based. There are also lithium-based ones, nickel-cadmium, and lead-acid. Car batteries and most motor vehicles are mostly lead-acid batteries. Knowing the type of battery your electronic uses helps you to use the correct method of removing corrosion. Therefore, preventing explosions that may occur from the use of wrong chemicals.
Step 3: Cleaning the Corrosion from Terminals and Batteries
i.Neutralizing Lead-acid and Nickel-cadmium Corrosion Using Baking Soda
Sulphuric acid is released when lead-acid batteries leak. Baking soda is a good agent to use when you want to clean the battery terminals of your car. It should be applied as a powder and not as a paste sparingly around the corroded area until fizzing stops. After this, a paste of baking soda and water can be added to clean up any remaining residue. An old toothbrush can be used to gently scrub away the hard residue but otherwise, a soft tissue, Q-tip, or piece of cloth can be used.
ii.Neutralizing Alkaline Using Vinegar or Lemon Juice
This corrosion is cleaned by dipping a cotton swab in vinegar or lemon juice and cleaning up the corroded area. The use of water on alkaline batteries would only cause further corrosion and should be avoided.
iii.Using Water to Clean Lithium Spills
Most cellphones used lithium batteries. Any leaks and spillage from the batteries should be cleaned up with water and the device properly disposed-off. This is because most electronics that have a lithium leak are not safe to use.
iv.Use Professional Industry Manufactured Battery Cleaning Agents in Case of Large Corrosions or Large Batteries.
Step 4: Reconnecting Your Battery and Taking Some Corrosion Preventive Measures.
Once everything is dried off, apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly on the terminals, or use anti-corrosion pads that would act as protectors for your battery. After this reconnect your battery in reverse by starting with the positive battery terminal followed by the negative one.
Step 5: Properly Dispose of the Batteries
Different countries have varying rules on how to dispose of batteries. Most of them require you to recycle the batteries but alkaline batteries can be disposed-off in trash cans. Familiarizing yourself with rules on ways of disposing of batteries is an easier way of avoiding unlawful disposal.
Removing batteries corrosion is a must-know maintenance task for anyone who owns a car or uses electronics. Regularly checking your battery's condition and cleaning up any leakages would help maintain the performance of your battery and even increase its lifespan.
When you are hard-pressed on money and can not afford garage costs, you can personally do said maintenance using knowledge gained from this article.
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