How to Remove and Clean Battery Corrosion from Electronic Contacts
What is the best way to clean corrosion from electronic contacts after a battery leak?
Updated May 24, 2021
White powdery crystalline substance leaking out of battery.
Green corroded battery terminal on left side from on Xbox 360 controller.
If you've ever left batteries in your electronic devices for a long period of time, there's a good chance that over time those old batteries will leak out onto the battery contacts and cause corrosion. That's because all batteries will eventually leak (especially alkaline batteries), whether or not the electronic devices are powered on or turned off. That's why it's a good idea to pay close attention to the expiration date of the batteries you put into your electronics so you don't end up in a situation of having to remove batteries from your devices that leaked all over and caused the devices to no longer work due to surface corrosion.
Note: Leaking batteries will typically involve a white powdery crystalline substance that leads to corrosion. This leak from alkaline batteries is ofter referred to as "battery acid"; but the substance is not actually an acid and instead it is strong base on the pH scale known as potassium hydroxide. On the other hand, if you see a pale green film on your contacts, this is typically due to oxidation of the metal contacts from either humidity, and / or leaky batteries.
So he's what you'll need to do to clean off leaky battery corrosion from your electronic devices.
What you need:
Here's how to clean battery Corrosion from Electronic Contacts:
- Start by putting on protective gloves (just in case), disconnect the power from the electronic device you want to clean and then remove the old leaky batteries from your device.
- Get rid of any loose particles, and white powdery corrosion, by wiping the surface of the contacts and blowing air to clean off the debris before wetting down the surface of the contacts.
- Now clean off the the corrosion on the battery contacts with a mild household acid like vinegar or lemon juice, which will start to neutralize the alkaline discharge from the leaky battery. Simply dip your cotton swab or toothbrush into vinegar (or lemon juice), and dab on to the corroded contact area.
- Continue gently cleaning the contact with the cotton swap and clean way any corrosion residue.
- Use a toothpick to remove any hard to reach spots that are too small for a cotton swab. You can also use a pencil eraser to clean off the contacts. If you still can't remove all the corrosion from the contacts, you my need to gently apply very fine grit sand paper.
- Let the battery terminal contact dry out completely before putting brand new batteries back in the device, and at that time you can power up your electronic device.
Hopefully, after cleaning off the corrosion from your battery contacts, and putting new batteries back in your device, your electronic device will now be working again. Good luck!