How to Clean Up Battery Acid Spills? – 3 Simple Methods
Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard
Battery acid spills are a big concern, as they can pose many threats to your home or work environment. So immediately clean it up but avoid contact because it can irritate and burn your skin and even cause internal damage.
But don’t worry! Even if you don’t know how to clean up battery acid spills, there’s no need to spend much money to deal with them safely.
As you’ll discover in this article, cleaning them up only requires water, baking soda, or vinegar to neutralize battery acid. So for this problem, know these effective ways detailed in this list!
Battery acid spill clean up requires your fast but calm action. Try your best to avoid panicking and identify what type of battery has spilled.
The three commonly used types of batteries utilized in cars are lithium, lead-acid, and alkaline batteries which are listed in this guide. If your car battery is one of these, read the detailed steps and materials to give a solution to their spillage.
Method #1: Lead-Acid (Pb-Ac) Battery Acid Spills
Lead-acid batteries are widely used in trucks and businesses because it’s inexpensive and low maintenance. However, if left long unchecked, it might have leakage.
But, do you know how to clean up a lead acid battery spill? If not, then you are about to be saved by baking soda and its basic properties.
What to prepare:
Portable Ventilation Fan
Step1: Wear protective equipment
Since you are aiming to clean up a lead acid battery spill, put on your rubber gloves, safety goggles, and face mask to avoid any physical contact with it.
Step 2: Create a ventilating system
Make sure you have enough air flowing around you. It’s important to get the fumes out of your work area with a portable ventilation fan as a ventilation system.
Step 3: Bag the battery
Find a thick plastic bag since you are dealing with acid. Double the layer to ensure a more contained battery and tie it up promptly.
Step 4: Create a paste using baking soda and water
In neutralizing battery acid spill, create an enough homogenized paste by mixing baking soda and water. Consider the amount of spillage in making.
Step 5: Neutralize lead battery acid
Spray baking soda on the spilled acid and wait until the fizzing stops.
Then, using a toothbrush, gradually brush the areas with it and use paper towels to get rid of battery acid. Grab a separate plastic to dispose of the used paper towels.
Step 6: Dispose of the battery accordingly
Finally, dispose of battery acid properly to avoid harming others. You can look for the right people who can recycle the Pb-Ac battery.
Method #2: Lithium Battery Acid Spills
A lithium battery rarely experiences leaking but it is known for its high voltage which is used in some electric cars. It is the same reason why you should acknowledge the threat that it could possibly explode.
So, its battery acid spills are a sign of this happening. When it occurs to spill around you, know the following steps to safely deal with it.
What to prepare:
Thich Plastic bags
Step1: Protect yourself and others
Protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a face mask. Tell the people around you to stay away from your workplace in the meantime.
Step2: Ventilate the area
Using a portable ventilation fan (or any fan available), make sure to have the air flowing around you. It is essential to air the hazardous chemical gas out from your working station.
Step 3: Keep off and contain the battery
Since this type of battery may explode, put it in a two-layered thick plastic bag. Using any container, as long as it is hard enough, contain it to prevent damage if ever it explodes.
Step 4: Use water to neutralize the areas with spillage
Dip a clean cloth or towel and squeeze it just enough to make it wet. Use this in wiping off the battery acid spills.
Step 5: Dispose of the materials used safely and properly
Lastly, dispose of the used towel using separate plastic bags. After that, call a person you know you can trust that can handle the lithium battery for disposal.
Method #3: Alkaline Battery Leakage
This type of battery contains a basic pH value so when it spills, an acid is effective to neutralize it. So, the readily available and best way to provide a solution to an alkaline battery leakage is just vinegar, an acetic acid.
What to prepare:
Portable Ventilation Fan
Thick Plastic bags
Step 1: Keep yourself safe
Put on rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a face mask to keep yourself away from the battery’s chemicals.
Step 2: Have the area ventilated
It is dangerous to breathe foreign and unusual chemicals inside your body. So use a portable ventilation fan to air them out and avoid suffocation.
Step 3: Contain the battery
Use two layers of thick plastic bags, containing the alkaline battery in them. Right after you put it in, tie it up tightly.
Step 4: Apply a small amount of vinegar and lemon juice to neutralize the battery acid
Dip a toothbrush into the vinegar and make sure to not make it overly wet. Then scrub the affected areas and dissolve battery acid.
You can also combine lemon juice and vinegar to complete this task.
Step 5: Wipe the affected areas
With paper towels, wipe the scrubbed affected areas to clean dried battery acid. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until satisfied.
Step 6: Dispose of everything appropriately
At last, utilize a separate bag to put in the used materials. The battery should also be discarded correctly and have it handled by someone you know who can recycle it or dispose of it well.
Tips for Maintenance of the Battery Room
1. Have an efficient and safe design feature
Choose a design for your battery room that is safe for yourself and the batteries themselves. Make sure to have an effective ventilation system and an optimal temperature.
2. Read your batteries’ manuals
Each battery has its own manual. Read and provide the best condition appropriate for each of them to achieve their longest life span.
3. Label all the batteries and other materials
If you have multiple batteries around, label all of them to help you monitor in case of emergency like acid spills. Do the same with other materials like chargers and cables.
4. Do regular check-ups for a clean-up need
Mild battery acid spills are almost unavoidable so do a regular check-up scheduled specifically for a possible clean-up. Apply the appropriate way from the mentioned above if you find any spills.
What happens if I spill battery acid?
Before cleaning it up, the first thing you need to do is to check if the battery acid has contacted any part of your or someone’s body. Battery acid is known for its caustic properties which can burn your skin and eyes or even worse.
What do I do if I touch battery acid?
Regardless of what type of battery acid you have touched, the general rule is you need to flush it immediately with lukewarm water for 30 minutes without interruption. If you notice that it is something worse, a strong burning sensation and irritation still continue, you need to call a doctor for further help.
What to do when battery acid is spilled on metal, carpet, or concrete?
Spilled battery acid on metals may be removed with a mild acid like vinegar or baking soda solution scrubbed using a toothbrush. The same method can be used on carpet but will take an hour of soaking for complete removal.
Battery acid spills on concrete, on the other hand, could be quite challenging. It might be too late because the chemical reaction here is fast but there is still a chance of removing the stain using muriatic acid.
Generally, car batteries are either acid-based or alkaline. A rule in science states that you neutralize an acid with a base, and you neutralize the base with an acid.
The ways above showed how effective neutralization of the pH level in a battery acid spill is. Just do it accurately and fast without sacrificing safety.
Now that you know how to clean up battery acid spills, even though it is scientific, please never forget how risky it is to do it on your own. But if you’re confident you can do it safely and with precision, why not?
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.