How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion? – 3 Effective Ways

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to clean car battery corrosion

The battery in your car delivers functions that make you comfortable while driving to your destination. It gives the power needed to start the car engine, and it even powers that relaxing air conditioner you enjoy.

However, corrosion on your car battery might build up as time passes. If you leave this untreated, it eventually causes a major inconvenience.

Fortunately, this dilemma is easy-to-avoid just by learning how to clean car battery corrosion. If you see its importance, this article will teach you how to do it economically without compromising safety.

Step-by-Step Guide


Using baking soda, coke, or WD40 are three alternative ways to get rid of corrosion on car battery. Together with these agents and other materials, you could clean corroded battery terminals using the following detailed steps.

Fixing battery corrosion on your own is risky because it is caustic and might cause electrical shock. As a general rule for every method, you need to wear rubber gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses.

Turn your car’s engine off to safely unbolt the cables from the battery (disconnect the negative or black cable first).

The following methods can be done without removing the battery from the car. Just make sure to turn your car’s engine off and let it cool down.

Know that if you are not careful enough, malfunction in electronics could happen. Eventually, your car won’t start.

Just imagine how frustrating it could be to have a malfunctioned car battery while on a car ride. If you want to avoid that, remember the following tips to protect your car battery from corrosion.

#1: Using Baking Soda and Water


The use of these materials is widely known for aiding corroded car batteries. These are not only cheap but also show immediate results!

What to prepare:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • And old toothbrush
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses
  • Vaseline/petroleum jelly

Step 1: Prepare the paste

Create a paste using baking soda (6 tablespoons) mixed with water (4 cups). You can create more by adding more quantity but consider its proportion.

Step 2: Apply to the corroded areas

The paste with water and baking soda clean battery terminals by scrubbing it using an old toothbrush.

Wait for a couple of minutes and witness the bubbles and foams, which show the effectiveness of baking soda for battery acid neutralization.

Step 3: Clean and dry the battery terminals

Use enough water to wash away the solution. With a paper towel, wipe the area and repeat until clean and dry.

Step 4: Apply Petroleum Jelly

Cover your batteries with petroleum jelly for further protection against rust. It’s okay to use Vaseline instead.

Step 5: Reconnect the cables

With the use of an appropriate wrench, make sure to reattach the positive (usually red) cable first.

#2: Using Coca-Cola


Yes, you read that right! This is not only for drinking because this drink could help car battery corrosion removal by eating the corrosion away.

What to prepare:

  • Rubber gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses
  • A can of Coke
  • A cloth
  • An old toothbrush
  • Warm water
  • Petroleum Jelly/Vaseline

Step 1: Pour Coke into the corroded areas

You may observe some bubbles being produced upon cleaning with Coke. These are due to the acid present, which will neutralize the corrosion and rust.

Step 2: Scrub the areas

Scrub the area using cloth for a cleaner and faster result. You may also use an old toothbrush but be careful not to spill liquids onto the other parts of the car.

Step 3: Repeat until satisfied and clean

Repeat the process until you no longer see any rust and corroded parts. Use warm water to wash off the terminals and dry them with a cloth.

Step 4: Coat the battery

With the prepared petroleum jelly, grease, or Vaseline, you can coat the cable to prevent rusting from quickly damaging your batteries.

Step 5: Check for any spills and reconnect the cables

Always make sure that after cleaning corrosion off battery the terminals are dry. Reconnect the cables to the battery safely.

#3: Using WD-40


Have you ever used a WD40 product before? You might as well utilize that sitting bottle in your garage!

This product is known for its numerous cleaning uses, like degreasing and removing unwanted chemicals. Its ability to displace moisture could easily deal with and get corrosion off car battery.

What to prepare:

  • Rubber gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses
  • WD-40
  • A toothbrush
  • Hot water
  • Petroleum Jelly/Vaseline

Step 1: Point and spray WD-40 on the affected areas

Make sure that the car battery has cooled down. Use enough of the solution on the corroded terminals.

The shine given by the product on the battery terminals is its work indicator. To efficiently remove corrosion from car battery, wait for several minutes.

Step 2: Rinse the corrosion away

Using an old toothbrush, scrub the sprayed areas. Proceed with wiping away the corrosion by using a clean cloth.

You could also use hot water to rinse the sprayed corroded areas. Make sure to do it carefully.

Step 3: Do it repeatedly until the corrosion is gone

You might have aged corrosion and rust on your car battery. It is advised to repeat the steps until you are done removing all corrosion on battery terminal.

Step 4: Apply a petroleum jelly coating

It’s important that we add some vaseline or petroleum jelly to the battery cables to avoid corrosion.

Step 5: Reconnect the car battery terminals

Make sure to link the positive cable first.

Tips on How to Protect Your Car Battery from Corrosion

  • Do a regular check-up

Cleaning is a huge responsibility and hassle when done in the worst cases. So, check that battery for signs of corrosion and clean it regularly using the alternatives mentioned above.

  • Be responsible in charging your car battery

Have a scheduled time for your car battery to be properly charged. Avoid undercharging and overcharging it, or you will end up having a corroded one.

  • Apply protective coatings

Prevent possible corrosion by using petroleum jelly, Vaseline, or some type of battery grease. Make sure that the car battery is cooled down before applying any coatings.



Is it safe to clean battery corrosion?

Aided by the protective equipment mentioned above, cleaning battery corrosion on your own could be safe. But remember that you are dealing with corrosive chemicals, so being cautious is the key.

Can you clean battery terminals while connected?

Technically, it is possible. However, you must not risk your safety even if you know that there is no current running.

Always prioritize your safety in doing these alternative ways. Being confident is good, but too much of it while risking safety might make you spend more.

Can battery corrosion keep a car from starting?

The presence of battery corrosion can keep a car from starting. Prior to buying a new battery for replacement, consider cleaning it first, and you might prevent yourself from letting some hundred bucks go.


Having enough knowledge about how to clean car battery corrosion and doing it on your own not only saves money but also saves you from future inconvenience. Sooner or later, spending some pennies for a baking soda routine will sound more appealing to you than having an unproductive day while spending hundred dollars for a vehicular nuisance.

Always remember that knowing how to fix this problem is beneficial but preventing it from happening is a better plan. So the next time you see an unusual color on your car battery, apply what you learned from this article and just open a Coca-Cola can!

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Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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