Maria asked: How do I clean corroded batteries from a remote control? My surround system does not work due to corroded batteries. I have not used my surround system for quite awhile, so my remote control with batteries was just sitting inside the box in my storage. When I was about to use it, I found that there were corroded batteries inside the remote control. It suddenly stops working. Is there a way to clean it?
When batteries corrode, the exterior is damaged and the acid begins to seep out into the battery compartment. If not removed, it inhibits the batteries ability to make proper contact with the terminals so the power can be transferred into the device. The corrosion can also damage anything it comes into contact with (including you!). Removing this corrosion is easy and safe to do if you’re careful.
You Will Need:
- Cleaning gloves
- Soft cloths
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Cotton balls or cotton swabs
Steps to Remove the Corrosion:
- Put on protective cleaning gloves. Touching the corrosion with your bare skin can give you chemical burns. It is also a good idea to put on eye protection.
- Begin by removing the damaged batteries.
- It may be necessary to pry them out with a screwdriver or dull knife. Use caution not to damage the already weak exterior of the battery any further.
- Once the batteries are removed, dispose of them properly and wash the corrosion off your screwdriver/knife and gloves.
- Use a soft cloth or paper towel to gently wipe off as much of the dry corrosion in the battery compartment as possible. It is best to place this directly into a trash can or onto an old cloth that you don’t mind being damaged.
- Moisten a soft cloth with white vinegar. A mixture of four parts water and one part baking soda can also be used. Either mixture will work, regardless of the type of batteries you have; they will just work in different ways. You can read more about this in the Additional Tips section below.
- Rub the cloth over the affected areas. Don’t be surprised if there is fizzing; that just means the cleaner you are using has the opposite pH of your batteries.
- If the areas are small or hard to reach, a cotton swab can be used to reach them more easily. Be careful not to allow any drips to enter your device.
- When the corrosion is removed, wipe the area with a clean cloth moistened with water.
- Dry the compartment with a soft cloth and allow it to air dry completely before use.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Vinegar is an acid and baking soda is alkaline. If you choose a solvent that is the same pH (acid or alkaline) as your batteries, it will work by dissolving the corrosion. If you choose a cleaner that has the opposite pH, a chemical reaction will occur, causing fizzing. The reaction will neutralize the corrosion and the fizzing will help to loosen it. Either method will work to remove the corrosion.
- Don’t use so much liquid that it can seep into any electrical components of your item.