How to Clean Corrosion Off Your Car Battery Terminals

You’ve popped the hood and the battery terminals are corroded. This is a sign that you need a new battery. You can clean the corrosion off the terminals and the cables to ensure you get an electrical charge between the two things. Once the terminals are clean, drive to our shop so we can replace the battery with a new one that is not leaking water and/or sulfuric acid.

Gather Your Supplies

First, park your vehicle in a well-lit area and set the parking brake. Cut the engine so it is not running. Pop the hood, and gather your cleaning supplies. You need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled water
  • A clean cup
  • An old toothbrush
  • A clean cloth
  • A clean spray bottle
  • Petroleum jelly

Next, prepare your cleaning solution by mixing baking soda and distilled water in the clean cup. Stir the solution until it becomes clear.

Remove the Cables

Put on your rubber gloves and remove the battery cables. Remove the positive (red) cable first and then the negative cable. Move the cables out of the way so you have access to the battery terminals. You will clean the terminals first and then the cable connectors.

Clean the Terminals

Take the old toothbrush and get it wet with the baking soda cleaning solution. Scrub away at the corrosion on the battery terminals. You may need to use some elbow grease if the terminals are severely corroded. Make sure to get the terminals completely clean before you switch to the battery cable connectors. Once the terminals are clean, scrub the corrosion off of the battery cable connectors.

Next, pour distilled water only into the spray bottle and use this to rinse off the terminals and cable connectors. Use the clean cloth to wipe away the water and the gunk. Do this until the terminals are completely rinsed of the baking soda, water, and corrosion. Do the same thing with the cable connectors.

Protect the Terminals

Make certain that the terminals are completely dry. When they are, take a tiny bit of petroleum jelly and spread it on the battery terminals to protect them. This helps prevent them from corroding again.

Reconnect the Cables

Finally, reconnect the cables, but do this in the opposite direction. Connect the negative (black) cable first and then the positive. Fire up your automobile to make sure it is running.

As we mentioned above, corroded terminals are a sign that the battery is leaking. As such, drive to our shop so we can install a new battery.

Photo by Wavebreakmedia from Getty Images via Canva Pro

Accessibility Toolbar