Batteries will leak if the device where they are placed is not used for a long time. Sometimes, leakage will be caused by damage to the battery case itself such as punctures. It is important to clean the leakage as soon as it happens. This is to avoid subsequent damage to the electronic device involved. Handling leaked batteries though is not the job for the careless. To avoid any toxic effects of improper cleaning of leaked batteries follow the steps provided:
- Gather the materials needed for cleaning. You will be wearing gloves all throughout the procedure. It is best to get the materials ready for use to avoid any inconvenience of having to remove the gloves or leaving the area of work. Remember, it is dangerous to leave leaked batteries lying around. The materials are: rubber gloves, protective goggles or any eyewear, cotton buds, toothbrush, and either a mixture of water and vinegar/ lemon juice or baking soda.
- Choose a place where you will do the cleaning. Proper ventilation is vital in this project. You need to protect yourself from inhaling potentially toxic fumes from the leaked battery. A well ventilated area can be outdoors or any room that has big windows and moving air from an electric fan.
- Don proper protective clothing. The substance from the leaked battery should not come in contact with your skin. It may cause minor irritation if the battery is alkaline and minor burns for acidic leakage. Some argue that not much can happen as long as you wash it right away, but one can never tell the gravity of your own skin’s unique response to the substance. Due to its corrosive property, fatal effects can also happen once it accidentally comes in contact with the eyes. To avoid any health emergency, wear rubber gloves and protective goggles when handling leaked battery's substances. Should you accidentally come in contact with the substance, rinse the area immediately with running water.
- Determine what type of battery leaked. This will dictate what kind of mixture you will prepare in cleaning the leakage. If the battery is acid- based, prepare an alkaline mixture. If the battery is alkaline, prepare an acidic mixture to contain it.
- Here is the recipe to create the acidic mixture for leaked alkaline batteries: Mix either a lemon juice or pure vinegar with water in a ratio of a half teaspoon acid to one and a half teaspoons water. Meanwhile, you have the choice not to dilute the acid.
- Here is the recipe to create the alkaline mixture for leaked acid- based batteries: Mix a half teaspoon of baking soda to an amount of water, enough for it to have a pasty texture. Stop adding water when the mixture reaches a consistency similar to that of toothpaste. Never add water directly to the acidic leakage.
- Clean the leakage off the electrical contacts using the appropriate mixture. Use cotton buds if you are using the acidic mixture. It is easier to pick some amount of the mixture with the absorbable nature of the cotton. Rub the pre-dipped cotton bud on the surface where there is leakage material. On the other hand, since the basic mixture has a thicker consistency, it is easier to use the brush for removing the stubborn leakage.
Prevent further leakage by removing batteries from devices being stored, by not mismatching different battery brands and by making sure that an electronic device is completely dry before placing new batteries.