Lose those leaky batteries!
Lose those leaky batteries!
Last Edited: 19/Apr/2016

At House of Batteries we only sell good quality batteries. We strive to ensure that all of our batteries don't leak. However before replacing your leaky batteries, ensure you follow the correct method to dispose of your leaky batteries and clean up the device.

We’ve all seen it – opening up the battery compartment of your portable device, only to be confronted with what looks like a solid white foam. Your battery has leaked all over the insides of the gadget it was powering, which surely means its days are numbered. Think again though – House of Batteries is here to help to try and bring your device back to life.

Safety first 

Before you go anywhere near a leaking battery, put on gloves. You do not want the battery’s chemicals to get on to your skin, as they can cause irritation, or in the case of stronger batteries, can be corrosive. If you have protective goggles, pop those on.

Examine the battery, if you can, to identify what sort of battery it is. Most batteries are alkaline, nickel cadmium (NiCad) or lithium. Occasionally, you will find lead acid batteries. This will determine the best way to save your gadget.

Remove the battery from your device – there is no more you can do for it. 

Ideally wrap it up in at least two layers of plastic, such as a carrier bag or sandwich bag, which you should seal up immediately. Dispose of the batteries in a designated battery recycling unit.

Cleaning the device

Now to look at that white foam left inside your gadget. How you tackle it depends on the type of battery you were dealing with. Think back to your secondary school chemistry lessons on acid and alkaline substances. If the battery was NiCad or lead, you’ll be looking at an acidic leak, so you need to neutralise the acid with an alkaline. The best alkaline to use is baking soda, which you can make into a paste with a few drops of water. Spread some paste over the leakage with a cotton bud until the fizzing stops and the neutralisation is complete. Throw the cotton bud away when you’ve finished.

Alkaline batteries need to be neutralised with acid. A cotton bud soaked in a mild acid like vinegar or lemon juice is perfect for this. Rub over the leak until the fizzing stops and the alkaline is neutralised. Throw away any cotton buds when you’re finished.

If the battery leaked on to the contact points, you may need to clean those up before you can use the device again. A wooden ice lolly stick or similar can be used to scrape any leakage off them, and a damp paper towel can wipe away any residue. As with the cotton buds, throw the paper towel into the bin afterwards.

Do not attempt to use your device for several hours, until you can be sure all liquid has dried out. 

Remember that prevention is definitely better than cure. Batteries are literally a potted chemical reaction. If you think you’re going to be leaving the gadget unused for a while, take the batteries out of it to avoid the chemicals leaking out. Check the expiry date on any batteries before you put them into a device, and make sure you replace them before they expire. If you need replacements in a hurry, drop the House of Batteries team a line, and we’ll set you up with whatever your battery requirements are, getting you up and running in no time at all.