How to Remove Battery Acid Stains from Fabric


Kay asked: Help! I have put a leaking battery on my bedcovers. How can I get the mark off? It was a regular AA Duracell battery and they were cotton sheets.

Leaking batteries are not only a nuisance to clean up, they are dangerous to keep around! Batteries contain acid that needs to be neutralized and cleaned up immediately. Follow the steps below to neutralize the acid and clean away the stains.

Neutralize the Acid

This method works well if it is done right away. The longer the acid sits on the fabric, the more difficult it will be to remove.

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washing machine

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Mix the baking soda with a small amount of water to form a paste.
  2. Spread the paste over the stained area and allow it to set for at least two hours.
  3. Wash the sheets as normal with laundry detergent.
  4. Allow the sheets to air dry until you are sure the stain is completely removed.
  5. If any stain remains, continue with one of the following methods.

Remove Battery Acid Stains

If the stains are only on the surface and have not eaten through the fabric, you may be able to remove them with ammonia.

You Will Need:

  • Household Ammonia
  • Water
  • Dish detergent or
  • Laundry soap for delicates
  • White vinegar
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soft cloth

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Start by mixing 1 cup of water with 2 tablespoons of ammonia.
  2. Use a soft cloth to apply the mixture to the stain.
  3. After allowing it to set for a few minutes, blot with a clean cloth. As you see the stain transferring to the cloth, continue reapplying and blot with a clean portion of the cloth until no more stain can be removed.
  4. If the stain persists, mix a small amount of either laundry or dish detergent with one cup of water.
  5. Blot this on the stain using a soft cloth. If possible, place the stained portion into the solution and allow it to soak.
  6. Launder as usual.
  7. Allow the fabric to air-dry until you can ensure all of the stain is removed.
  8. If there is a brown stain on the fabric after it has dried (looks like a rust stain), continue with the following application.
  9. Mix one cup of water with ½ cup of white vinegar. Either blot the solution onto the stain or place the stained area in the solution and allow it to soak.
  10. Launder again as normal after it has had a chance to soak.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Never touch battery acid with your hands. Always wear protective rubber gloves to keep from burning your hands.
  • Always test a small hidden area of the fabric to ensure there are no adverse effects to the fibers or coloring. If there are any adverse effects, select a different method to remove the stains.
  • Some rust removers are available in the laundry aisle and are also effective in removing battery acid stains.
  • If the acid has eaten through the fabric, it will be impossible to remove the stain and return the fabric to its original state.


  1. Nicola says:

    How do I remove battery acid from normal, double ‘A’ batteries?

  2. Jenell says:

    I only had to use the baking soda and water, and all evidence was removed. Then, I did wash the article and am so appreciative of the advice here.

  3. Andrewski says:

    I’m not entirely certain what was on my new favorite shirt, it is turquoise blue and had a large spot with some sort of YELLOW DISCOLORING. After attempting to remove it with cold water immediately upon discovering it failed, I rechecked my steps to find that I had leaned against a LEAKY CAR BATTERY. I rushed home as fast as I could in a panic only to find this article, AND IT WORKED. I grabbed the BAKING SODA from the fridge and started following the instructions; I gave it maybe 45 MINUTES to work, and threw it into the WASHER, baking soda and all, and used a normal amount of detergent along with probably 2 cups of AMMONIA, and presto all was fixed. THANKS ALOT!!

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