Removing C Battery Corosion from Contact Points

What You'll Need
Baking soda
Small bowl
Soft bristle toothbrush
Soft cloth
Protective glove

There's a good chance you'll forget to change out the C battery in one of your children’s toys, or portable radio, at some point in your life. The unwanted effect can be that the battery leaks and causes the contacts to corrode. If left untreated, the corrosion can cause the contacts to not do their job of conducting energy into the toy or radio, causing it to not work correctly. There is a preferred method of acid removal that will help with cleaning metal contacts, to make them efficient again.

Step 1 - Pre-Clean The Battery Compartment

Use the toothbrush to pre-clean the area with the corrosion. Take care to work in a protected area, such as over a sink, garbage can or over some old newspaper. Use the protective gloves (latex are fine) to keep from coming in direct contact with the corrosion. Brush the loose particles away. There may not be much of it that comes off at this point, but the following steps will help to ensure that it does.

Step 2 - Make a Paste

Use the baking soda and water to make a paste. The consistency should be similar to toothpaste. Don't make it too dry, as it will flake off instead of clinging to the contacts. Apply all over the corroded area, and allow it to dry for about five minutes.

Step 3 - Remove Baking Soda Mixture

Use a soft cloth, sponge or paper towel to clean out the baking soda mixture from the battery terminal. The baking soda mixture has served two purposes. It has loosened the corrosion and neutralized the acid, which will curb its ability to cause further corrosive damage.

Step 4 - Sand It Down

Use a light grit sandpaper, emery board or wire-bristled brush in order to remove any of the corrosion that is left on the contacts. Don't be too destructive with these tools, as you can inadvertently cause damage instead of fixing it. Start off with less friction and only use the heavy wire brush if the sandpaper doesn't work.

Step 5 - Try Alternate Options

If the above steps don't work for you, try using a cotton swab with lemon or lime juice on the tip. Rub it along the corroded area and let it gently raise the corrosion from the battery compartment.

It's never fun to clean up after batteries have corroded an item that you use. Some tips to prevent corrosion include:

  • Always use the same brand of batteries
  • Use batteries that are the same age
  • Remove batteries when the item will not be used for a while
  • Check the batteries for damage before inserting them in your electronics

If corrosion does unfortunately happen, the steps above should help you to remove most of it.