How To Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar In 8 Easy Steps

Hi, I'm Luis Johnson, an automobile technician, and power equipment professional. By profession, I'm a businessman and operate a car workshop. I have created this...Read more

One of the most crucial parts of any car is the battery and without it, you can’t even start the car. Under regular maintenance, they will typically survive between three to five years. Hence, it is important to take care of them properly. One way is to clean the terminals, which can be easily done at home using Vinegar. So, how to clean car battery terminals with Vinegar?

Battery terminals can be cleaned in many ways and using different chemicals. But, the easiest and most effective method is to use Vinegar, a soft brush, and some extra accessories that are easily available around the house. Gently apply the vinegar to the battery terminal and scrub the area using a brush. After a thorough clean remove the excess vinegar from the terminal.  

This is just a brief explanation; you will need to know more about how to clean the terminals properly. So please read our guide below to know what steps you need to follow in doing so.

What Is Battery Corrosion?

When you see corrosion or dirt around the battery terminals, you should try to clean the battery and try to remove these asap. So, what exactly is battery corrosion?

On batteries and battery terminals, corrosion is a white material. If the corrosion has been subjected to moisture, it can occasionally take on a bluish or green hue.

What Is Battery Corrosion

Even the greatest batteries experience degradation over time in the form of this white, crusty material. Leaks from alkaline batteries are very common. And rust soon follows the formation of leaks.

When battery acid interacts with the environment or metallic connections, corrosion results. This white flaky material that you notice on the batteries and connections is the consequence of this electrochemical reaction.

The battery may expand or shrink too fast as a result of abrupt temperature fluctuations. Therefore, the battery will then start to release hydrogen gasses as a result.

How To Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar

Vinegar is a very effective cleaning agent and has different uses. So when your car battery terminals show signs of rust or corrosion, you can use Vinegar to clean them.

How To Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar

Step 1: Gather the materials

Before we go down on how to clean, we will need to gather all the materials needed for the work.

  • Distilled white Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Safety gloves and goggles
  • Clean rags
  • Vaseline
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Some basic tools
  • Spray bottle

Step 2: Check the battery

Before cleaning, check if the battery shows any signs of bloating or leaks. If this happens, there is no point in cleaning the battery as it has gone completely damaged, and you will need to replace it.

Check the battery

Step 3: Unplug the battery

If you see that the battery is still in fairly good condition and can be cleaned, then proceed with unplugging the battery; you will need to unplug the batteries.

Unplug the battery

Firstly, unplug the battery’s negative terminal. To detach the negative terminal, use a wrench; do not allow the wrench to make any connection with the positive side, or you may get shocked. Do the same with the positive end after opening the negative terminals.

Step 4: Apply Baking soda and Vinegar.

Once the battery is unplugged, take out the battery from the car and put a layer of baking soda on the terminals properly. After putting in baking soda, spray the battery terminals with the Vinegar after adding around a cup of Vinegar to the spray bottle.

Sprinkle Vinegar on the terminal clamps as well. By properly spraying, you can make sure that the Vinegar comes into contact with all of the terminals and their clamps.

Step 5: Wait 1-2 minutes

Just wait for around 1-2 minutes, and you will see that bubbles are forming, and this shows that the reaction between Vinegar and baking soda has started. The filth and grime are broken up and loosened up by the fizzing action.

Step 6: Start scrubbing

Use a soft bristle brush now, and begin softly scrubbing the solution of the terminals. Scrub continuously until all the rust and debris are removed.

Start scrubbing

Step 7: Drying up

When you have removed all the dirt and corrosion, you will need to dry up the battery. The next step is to give it a thorough wash. Wait till the terminals have dried completely for a couple of minutes. Dry the batteries completely.

dying up

Ensure the batteries and their connections are totally dry before reattaching them since water and electricity don’t combine well. Use a tiny bit of petroleum jelly to lubricate this region once it has dried.

Step 8: Reattach the battery

You’re ready to reattach your batteries to your car once you’ve removed any rust and allowed everything to dry fully. Just like you did when you originally opened them up, attach the positive terminal first and then go on to the negative terminal.

Reattach the battery

Things To Consider When Cleaning Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar

There are a few things you must consider when cleaning car battery terminals with Vinegar. These will make sure that your battery remains ideal for working perfectly. Keep on reading to know more.

Avoid Using Vinegar Alone

Vinegar is very effective in cleaning corrosion and rust, but sometimes using it alone won’t have much effect on tough corrosion and dirt. So, it is recommended that you use it by combining it with baking soda.

Work In A Well-ventilated Area And Away From Fire

Being explosive, car batteries could be dangerous for a beginner to try to clean. Hydrogen gas is released by batteries, particularly during charging and discharging. Thus, always do the cleanup in a space with good ventilation that is remote from any potential fire sources.

Always Wear Protective Gears

Always use precaution while handling batteries since they may contain powerful bases or acids. These substances have a high risk of skin and eye burns. Wear protective gloves and safety goggles when removing the battery’s corrosion to prevent injury to your skin and eyes.

Check The Battery Well Before Cleaning

When you open your battery carefully, check whether it is bloated or has leaks. Also, check the terminals to see if the corrosion or rust is very thick.

If you see any of these symptoms, then, unfortunately, your battery is beyond cleaning, and you will need to replace it asap, as driving with a damaged battery can cause fire and even more serious damage.


Below, we will talk about all the questions that might be wandering around your head after reading the battery terminal cleaning process.

Will White Vinegar Clean Battery Acid?

Battery acid may be easily and effectively removed using Vinegar. The easiest technique to neutralize alkaline leaks from batteries is to gently wipe using a few drops of any moderate acid, such as white Vinegar. An old toothbrush bathed in Vinegar and baking soda will stop difficult leakages.

How Much Time Does Vinegar Need To Remove Battery Corrosion?

Vinegar alone cannot remove tough battery corrosion, and you will need to use baking soda with it. When baking soda is added with Vinegar over the corroded battery terminals, it only takes about 1 to 2 minutes for the fizzing process to start. This fizzing removes the battery corrosion as you rub it with a scrubbing brush.

Is Dry Battery Acid Dangerous?

Dry battery acid is extremely harmful and can seriously harm skin when it comes into touch with it. Burns from chemicals is possible. It’s possible that these burns don’t manifest straight away.

The initial symptoms might happen seconds or hours later. Chemical burns can result in skin irritation, inflammation, and darkened or dead skin.

Does Battery Corrosion Mean A Bad Battery?

Corrosion, which typically occurs when your car sits idle for a long time without usage, might be the cause of your battery’s malfunction. When the connections are thoroughly cleaned, a battery that has experienced corrosion can be restored to perfect operating order.

Corrosion often develops all-around battery connector ends and on the terminals of your car’s battery.


When your car battery is malfunctioning, you might think the battery has gone completely damaged. However, the problem might be corrosion around the terminals which can be cleaned easily, bringing the battery back to life.

Thus, today in this guide, we have discussed how you can clean the battery easily by only using Vinegar and baking soda. Be careful while handling car batteries, as the acid in the battery can cause serious damage to your skin and eyes.

Moreover, check the battery well before cleaning. You will need to change it if it is beyond cleaning and seems completely damaged. Never use a bloated or leaking car battery.

Hi, I'm Luis Johnson, an automobile technician, and power equipment professional. By profession, I'm a businessman and operate a car workshop. I have created this site Batteryquery to help people purchase the right battery for their vehicles. The reason behind creating this site is to help my customers purchase the right car battery who often purchase the wrong one due to their lack of knowledge.

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