Shirley asked, “How do I remove C Battery acid from finished furniture? Acid seeped through a portable radio on a wooden nightstand. It is part of a Thomasville bedroom suite. Is there a product for such?”
To remove battery acid, it is necessary to first neutralize it. Once the acid is neutralized, it can be rinsed away. However, the way to neutralize it depends on the type of batteries (alkaline or acid). Luckily, if you don’t know which kind you had, it’s easy to find out. Follow these simple steps for quick and easy results.
You Will Need:
- Baking soda and/or white vinegar
- Soft cloths
Steps to Remove the Battery Acid:
- If you aren’t sure what kind of batteries you have, you can find out by testing a small area of the acid. Sprinkle on a little baking soda or apply a few drops of white vinegar. Whichever one causes a visible reaction (fizzing/foaming) is the one you should be using. The fizz/foam is a product of the neutralization process.
- To use baking soda (for acid batteries), mix it with water to develop a thin paste. Pour the paste onto the acid and let it set for a few minutes. Do not scrub or rub it in.
- To use white vinegar (for alkaline batteries), mix it with an equal amount of water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture over the corrosion and let it sit for a few minutes. Do not scrub or rub it in.
- Set the piece over the tub or take it outside if possible, then rinse away the acid/corrosion by pouring fresh, clean water over it. If the item cannot be moved outside, rinse off the powder by wiping it thoroughly with a wet cloth. (Wear gloves as a precaution.)
- Repeat if necessary until all of the battery acid is removed.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
Additional Tips and Ideas
- If the surface is discolored, the acid may have eaten through the finish. In these cases, you can either have the spot refinished by a professional, or you can attempt to do it yourself. Sand the area to remove any remaining finish. Apply a stain that matches the original color. Once dry, apply a protective coating.
- The term “battery acid” comes from the fact that alkaline batteries are relatively new. In decades past, all batteries were acidic, so their corrosion was an acid. The fluid that leaks out of alkaline betteries is not an acid.