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Like most electronics that use alkaline batteries, toys develop corrosion on battery terminals from time to time (This is often due to the leakage of acid from small alkaline batteries).
Fortunately, you do not have to throw your expensive toy away- below is how to clean corrosion off battery terminals in toys in 10 minutes:
How to clean corrosion off battery terminals in toys
If you have been taken aback by how corroded the terminals are (on opening the battery compartment in your kiddo’s old toys), follow these steps to perform a thorough cleaning of the rust off the terminals:
What you will need
- Q-tip (Buy a regular Q-tip)
- Baking soda
Step 1: Prepare the working area
You can spread newspaper (or something similar) over where you will be working (cover the entire surface).
Don’t forget to wear gloves (baking soda can irritate your skin).
You may also wear some eye protection to prevent a chunk of the alkaline corrosion from getting right into your eyes.
Step 2: Prepare a baking soda-water solution
First pour some baking soda on a container (for example, a medicine bottle cap).
Secondly, just add a reasonable amount of water to create an ideal mixture (you definitely don’t want the container to overflow).
Next, grab the Q-tip and mix things up until good paste forms.
Step 3: Rub the rust off the corroded battery terminals
First, ensure that you have saturated the Q-tip with the baking soda solution.
After that, proceed to rub the corroded battery terminals and any other corroded spots with the Q-tip thoroughly.
You want to rub down the battery contacts carefully until all the brown fuzzy crap is gone.
You are free to dip the Q-tip once again in the solution and to scrub any residue that is proving a little bit stubborn off until you conquer the corrosion.
Be sure to wipe off the neutralized corrosion residual off the battery compartment once you have cleaned off everything- you still use the wet Q-tip.
You can as well use a toothpick to pick out any lingering residue.
One last thing: Just make sure you wait long enough to have the toy completely dry out before putting new batteries in.
Quick Tip: Be careful when trying to remove remaining corrosion pockets- the last thing you would want is corrosion in your mouth.
Can you use vinegar in place of water?
No, no! We don’t encourage this and here is why:
Vinegar and baking soda usually make an aggressive reaction (it may appear almost as a home-made volcano) so while cool to watch (haha!), it makes a huge mess
In a nutshell, water works fine…
Remember you only short things out when you have power connected. Here you have the batteries out, so you should be good.
How to clean corrosion off battery terminals in toys – alternative method
You can choose to first use baking soda (plus a few drops of water) to neutralize the battery corrosion before removal.
All you need to do is sprinkle plain baking soda (directly over the affected battery terminals) then pour a couple of drops of water over them.
To make it easier, you could put a little water in a spray bottle then squirt it on the affected terminals.
You then apply a second time.. or as many times as necessary..
You finally scrub off the corrosion on each terminal with an old toothbrush.
Please wear some eye protection here- An old toothbrush is a perfect tool for this job but it could also flick a chunk of alkaline right into your eyes.
As an alternative, you could use a wire brush to scrape corrosion off (Just use whatever you have at hand- even a nail cleaner tool can work!).
How to clean battery corrosion in toys – another option
Rubbing in Isopropyl Cleaning alcohol (use a cotton swab/soft toothbrush) should help remove corrosion off battery terminals.
If you’d like to take that route, ensure your rinse off the corrosion using sterile water.
How to prevent battery corrosion in toys
· Do not use expired batteries
Old/expired batteries are more prone to leaking so you should probably never use them in your kids’ toys.
· Do not mix batteries
Mixing new and old/expiring batteries is never a good idea- the old battery will soon corrode everything because it will surely start to leak.
· Properly store your toys
To save a toy, do not leave batteries in there when storing it, if you’ll be storing it for weeks/months (Always remove batteries as much as possible on toys that see little use).
Wrapping it up
Now, you are likely to find the terminals corroded if you leave batteries in there when storing toys so try to avoid doing that again in the future.
Also don’t mix batteries and never use old batteries.
Another option is to upgrade your toy to lithium batteries instead (where possible) – generally, Lithium batteries do not leak like small alkaline batteries.
One final tip: When you are done cleaning everything, coat all the contacts with dielectric grease– just a light coat will do. It will help neutralize any remaining corrosion and will help prevent damage in the future.