How To Clean Corrosion Off Battery Terminals

Corrosion on battery terminals is a common problem that can cause your car to not start. If you’re experiencing this issue, it’s important to know how to clean corrosion off battery terminals. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Gather Your Materials

To clean corrosion off battery terminals, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A stiff-bristled brush
  • A pair of gloves
  • A wrench or pliers
  • A wire brush or sandpaper
  • Terminal grease or petroleum jelly

Step 1: Safety First

Before you start cleaning the battery terminals, make sure to put on a pair of gloves. Batteries contain sulfuric acid, which can be harmful if it comes into contact with your skin.

Step 2: Disconnect the Battery

To clean the battery terminals, you’ll need to disconnect the battery. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen the negative cable first, then the positive cable. Make sure to disconnect the negative cable first to avoid any electrical issues.

Step 3: Mix the Solution

Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water in a small bowl. Stir the mixture until the baking soda dissolves.

Step 4: Apply the Solution

Using a stiff-bristled brush, apply the baking soda solution to the battery terminals. Make sure to cover the entire terminal and any other areas where there is corrosion.

Step 5: Scrub the Terminals

Using the stiff-bristled brush, scrub the battery terminals until the corrosion is removed. You may need to apply more of the baking soda solution if the corrosion is stubborn.

Step 6: Rinse the Battery

Once the corrosion is removed, rinse the battery with water. Make sure to rinse off all of the baking soda solution.

Step 7: Dry the Battery

Use a clean cloth to dry the battery and the terminals. Make sure everything is dry before you reconnect the cables.

Step 8: Reconnect the Battery

Reconnect the positive cable first, then the negative cable. Make sure the cables are securely tightened.

Step 9: Apply Terminal Grease

To prevent future corrosion, apply a small amount of terminal grease or petroleum jelly to the battery terminals.


What causes corrosion on battery terminals?

Corrosion on battery terminals is caused by a chemical reaction between the battery acid and the metal terminals. This reaction produces a white, powdery substance that can interfere with the electrical connection between the battery and the car.

Can I use vinegar to clean battery terminals?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean battery terminals. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water, apply the solution to the terminals, and scrub them with a stiff-bristled brush.

How often should I clean my battery terminals?

You should clean your battery terminals at least once a year as part of your car’s regular maintenance. However, if you notice any signs of corrosion, such as difficulty starting the car, you should clean the terminals immediately.


Knowing how to clean corrosion off battery terminals is an important skill for any car owner. By following these simple steps, you can keep your car running smoothly and prevent future electrical issues. Remember to always wear gloves and take safety precautions when working with batteries.