Battery-controlled remotes are a staple in all households; you may use them for televisions, air conditioners, and garage doors. From time to time, batteries may get damaged, causing battery corrosion. You can clean battery corrosion in your remote control at home using a few simple steps:

  1. Wear protective gear
  2. Remove the batteries
  3. Neutralize the corrosion
  4. Use rubbing alcohol to clean up any residue
  5. Wipe down and dry the remote
  6. Remove microfibres with compressed gas

This article is a step-by-step guide to cleaning up battery corrosion. It includes information on the safety gear and materials you need.

1. Wear Protective Gear

Before beginning to clean your remote control, gather the following materials:

  • A plastic bag or container
  • A pencil eraser
  • A microfibre cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar/lemon juice
  • Cotton buds
  • Protective gloves
  • Face mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Electronics compressed gas cleaner

Before cleaning, it’s essential to wear protective gear, including thick plastic gloves and protective eye goggles. If the battery corrosion is extensive, you may also want to wear a mask or face shield to reduce the risk of inhaling chemicals. You can also cover your head with a scrub cap.

2. Remove the Batteries

Open your remote control and remove the batteries. Put them in the plastic bag or container and discard the container into hazardous waste disposal. Most major supermarkets will have a facility for disposing of batteries.

You can also look for local battery recycling centers to make sure the battery doesn’t end up polluting the environment. Some large battery recycling plants are:

  • Earth 911: This organization recycles various types of batteries, including household batteries, car batteries, and button cell batteries. You can visit their website to find the nearest drop center near you. You can also drop off any other recyclable waste, including paint, paper, plastic, and glass.
  • Call 2 Recycle: Call 2 Recycle accepts all kinds of batteries, from household to industrial batteries. Even if you don’t live near a Call 2 Recycle recycling center, you can order a battery recycling kit to store used batteries. Once the container is full, you can post it to Call 2 Recycle.

3. Neutralize the Corrosion

Immerse the cotton swab in the lemon juice or vinegar and dab at the areas that have been affected by the corrosion. If corrosion is significant, you can use an old toothbrush dipped in lemon juice to get to all the corroded areas.

When you apply the lemon juice or vinegar to the corrosion, it may begin fizzing. That’s because the solution reacts with the chemicals from the battery and neutralizes it.

Allow the fizzing to stop and let the area dry. It may take up to 30 minutes, depending on the amount of corrosion.

4. Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Up Any Residue

Dip your cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and run the swab over the corroded areas. It will help remove any residue from the corrosion and clean up any remaining vinegar or lemon juice.

It’s best to use pure rubbing alcohol or between 90-99%. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, you can use antiseptic wipes. You can purchase rubbing alcohol and antiseptic wipes at any chemist store or online.

5. Wipe Down and Dry the Remote

Use the microfiber cloth to wipe down the remote. Then, use the pencil eraser to polish any hard-to-reach sections. Allow the remote to dry, using a blow dryer on the lowest setting if you need to use the remote immediately.

6. Remove Microfibres With Compressed Gas

The cotton bud and microfibre cloth may leave behind tiny fibers that will get trapped in the remote and affect its functionality. You can use compressed gas to remove any microfibres. There are specially designed compressed gas solutions for cleaning electronics.

One of the best electronics compressed gas cleaners is the Falcon Dust-Off compressed gas. This product is cost-effective and versatile. It can be used on various electronic devices, including laptops, mobile phones, and remote controls.

Once you finish applying the compressed gas to the remote, you can install new batteries and use them again.

While you can clean up battery corrosion in a remote control at home, it’s essential to judge the extent of the corrosion. If there’s a large amount of corrosion, you should consider bringing your remote control to an expert who can safely clean and restore it for use again.

What Is Battery Corrosion?

Battery corrosion can impact various batteries, from car and motorcycle batteries to household batteries. Battery corrosion in household alkaline batteries is caused when hydrogen gas is released or potassium hydroxide leaks from a battery.

Battery corrosion can be dangerous to touch and inhale. It can also ruin the devices if corrosion has spread to the internal parts of the device.

You will tell if your remote control is corroded if it has a white substance on the battery terminal. In extreme cases, this white stuff may also leak onto the battery cover and the back of the remote.

Preventing Battery Corrosion

To prevent battery corrosion, you should regularly change the batteries in your remote control. You should also ensure that you don’t have batteries in products that you don’t use often and don’t mix old and new batteries.

  • Change your batteries regularly. You should note and monitor the expiration dates of the batteries you’re using. Change your batteries when they’re approaching their expiration date – don’t wait for them to stop working altogether.
  • Use no-leak batteries. Some battery companies offer guarantees that their batteries will not leak to prevent corrosion. Energizer, for instance, produces alkaline batteries that are guaranteed not to leak. However, you should note that these batteries can be more expensive than regular ones.
  • Don’t mix old and new batteries. All battery brands warn users not to use an old battery with new batteries because the electrical capacity of different batches of batteries may be different. When two batteries with different electrical capacities are paired, the battery’s capacity will grow, which may cause one battery to leak or explode. So, you should always make sure you’re using batteries from the same pack.
  • Don’t leave batteries in devices that you don’t use. If you aren’t using a remote control regularly, take the batteries out of it. Even if you’re not using the device, it can passively draw power from the battery, putting pressure on it and potentially leading to leaks. If you don’t monitor the device, the leak can build up and cause extensive damage.
  • Don’t mix battery brands. There are several leading battery brands on the market. However, you should only use one brand of battery at a time in one device.

Cleaning Other Types of Battery Corrosion

This article has focused on cleaning up corrosion from alkaline batteries, which are the most common types of batteries found in remote controls. However, it’s also essential to consider cleaning up corrosion from other types of batteries like lithium batteries, rechargeable nickel batteries, and lead acid batteries.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are commonly used because they have a high charge density, last longer, and provide more power to a device. However, their high charge density means that they may expand or bloat when damaged. If a lithium battery explodes, it can be hazardous, especially if the chemicals contact bare skin.

If you notice that the lithium batteries in your remote control have expanded, it’s best to take your remote control to a hazardous waste professional to remove and dispose of the battery and clean up any corrosion. You can also ask local electrical service shops for advice on disposing of the battery.

Rechargeable Nickel Batteries

To clean up corrosion from rechargeable nickel batteries, follow these steps:

  1. Wear protective gear including gloves, and goggles.
  2. Remove the batteries and dispose of them.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda onto the corroded areas. The baking soda will help absorb any leaked potassium hydroxide.
  4. Dip a cotton swab into water and use it to dab away the baking soda.
  5. Allow the remote to dry and install new batteries.
  6. Use the remote as usual.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead Acid Batteries are most commonly used in automobiles, boats, and other vehicles. They contain sulphuric acid and lead, which can leak out when they are damaged. The leaks from these batteries are corrosive and can be dangerous if you are exposed to them without protective gear.

If you notice lead acid batteries are leaking, it is best to bring your car, boat, or vehicle to a repair shop so they can remove and dispose of the batteries safely.

Final Thoughts

You can clean up most types of battery corrosion with a few household materials, including lemon juice, vinegar, and cotton swabs. When addressing battery corrosion, you must wear protective gear to protect yourself and your surroundings.

If the battery corrosion is extensive or is caused by lithium batteries, it may be best to take your remote control to an expert who can safely dispose of the batteries and clean up with the remote.

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