Battery leakage repair

Batteries are one of the most widely used sources of energy in portable electronic devices. Those batteries can leak when they’re left to devices for too long or disposed of improperly. Battery leakage is annoying and usually damages your equipment. Here Duraleak strike again…


Why do batteries leak?

Under normal conditions, the chemicals inside a battery release gases that generate power. The outer casing of the battery prevents the gases from leaking. However, if a battery is left unused in a device for an extended period, the resulting gas buildup can rupture the casing and cause leakage.

When alkaline batteries completely discharge (which happens long after they stop providing adequate juice to your devices), the potassium hydroxide breaks down. This process produces hydrogen gas and builds up pressure inside the battery. Eventually, this ruptures the steel casing, and potassium hydroxide leaks out in the battery compartment and, sometimes, over the circuitry inside the device.

Leakage happens often when a battery is left in a device for too long, especially when it’s not used. Many modern devices still when device is left unused, it still periodically ‘checks’ for the remaining power. It can take years for this to happen or just a few months, depending on the quality of the battery and how much parasitic draw (the power a device uses while it’s turned off) the item has. This is why it’s always important to remove the batteries before you stow away gadgets. Just don’t leave batteries in any device you care about when not in use.

Can you save a device that has leaked battery inside?
If you’ve come across an old, beloved gadget that’s now covered in this beautiful battery vomit, it doesn’t take much to clean it up. You probably already have everything you need around the house.

Once battery starts to leak inside a device, it oxidizes and starts to corrode any components with which it comes in contact. Depending on the battery type the battery contains either acid (old carbon cells) or caustic chemicals (many modern cells).

Battery leakage (commonly known as battery acid) is nasty, corrosive stuff – it can burn your skin, contaminate soil, and of course ruin whatever device it has leaked into. For household batteries, this “acid” is actually alkaline – thanks to the potassium hydroxide chemical make-up. For lead batteries, sulfuric acid is the dangerous residue, which requires a different type of clean-up.

If the leak isn’t too bad, the device might be often salvageable with some cleaning. If the chemicals from battery have leaked onto critical components and been there long enough, though, it might have caused permanent damage. Not all devices can be saved.

Leakage from an alkaline battery is caustic and handling should be avoided to prevent chemical burns. If attempting to clean battery leakage from a device, proper safety equipment would be advised (i.e., protective eye wear, gloves, etc.). The leaking batteries should be removed from the device and placed in a plastic bag for disposal.

Warning: Keep in mind that potassium hydroxide is caustic, which means it can burn your skin and irritate your eyes and lungs. Luckily, it transforms into potassium carbonate once it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. Unlike potassium hydroxide, it’s mostly harmless. Still, it’s a good idea to take precautions—wear gloves and safety glasses whenever you’re cleaning up a battery leak.

The best way to remove alkaline leakage from the device is to neutralize by carefully dabbing with a few drops of a mild acid like white vinegar or lemon juice. For stubborn leaks, an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar or lemon juice gets the job done. After the leakage has been neutralized (fizzing stops), carefully dry the area. After the area has dried thoroughly, the metal device contacts can be scraped to remove any residue and then polished using a pencil eraser.

A contact cleaner (like DeoxIt), vinegar or lemon juice both work just as well. Isopropyl alcohol (70-91%) is handy to clean off the vinegar or lemon juice and leave the circuitry squeaky clean. With Q-tips you can easily clean the battery contacts and circuitry. A toothbrush comes in handy for larger acid spills that make their way to circuit boards or other areas of a device. Paper towels or rags are useful to clean up any messes or to protect other areas. You also often need tools to take the device apart to gain full access to the battery leak.

EASILY Clean Battery Leak Damage(Corrosion) In Electronics

EEVblog #1349 – Energizer Battery Leakage – MADE IN USA!

What to do with the leaking batteries?
Leaking batteries are not safe to use, but you don’t want to throw them out. Too many batteries end up in landfills, where they leak their contents into the environment. Put the leaky batteries in a plastic bag and drop them off at a recycling facility together with out other used batteries.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Crusty Leaking Cells Kill Your Tech. Just What’s Going On?

    What’s The Leaky Stuff?

    Non-rechargeable cells come in a variety of chemistries, but the commercial ones we’re most familiar with are zinc-carbon “dry cells”, and “Alkaline” zinc-manganese dioxide cells. The zinc-carbon variety are becoming less common here in 2022 and have an acidic zinc chloride or ammonium chloride electrolyte, while the alkaline cells have a higher capacity and a basic potassium hydroxide electrolyte. They both have different failure modes that result in the leaky cells, so it’s worth taking a look at each one.

    The failure mode of a zinc-carbon cell is a chemical one, the acidic electrolyte reacts with the zinc can anode, and eventually eats through it. The leaking electrolyte then attacks the surrounding circuitry and battery clips. It’s hardly a concentrated acid, but it’s enough to do plenty of damage over the years.

    Meanwhile an alkaline cell has a build-up of hydrogen as it degrades. It incorporates a vent which allows the hydrogen to escape, however the hydrogen pressure can instead force the electrolyte out through this vent. The electrolyte will then corrode the battery terminals and any other electronics it touches. A feature of alkaline cell leakage is a white crust, this is potassium carbonate formed from the reaction between the potassium hydroxide electrolyte and carbon dioxide in the air.

    How much damage has been done is usually a function of how long the leaking batteries have been in the device. Sometimes one is lucky and the battery contacts are salvageable, otherwise they are too far gone and a replacement has to be found. A

    A quick AliExpress search on terms such as “AA battery spring” will return numerous options, and it’s simply a case then of paging through to find the one you need on the terms you like.

    Here in 2022 we’re more likely to have lithium polymer cells in our consumer devices and so the need to keep a pile of Duracells at hand is reduced. But the thought of today’s equivalent of a Super 8 camera lying forgotten in a drawer for decades with a cheap li-po pouch cell inside it is far more frightening than something with some crusty manganese cells. Have we just found the root cause of house fires in the 2040s?

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It’s common knowledge that a Duracell battery run on nasty white stuff, that’s why it stops working when that alkaline battery womin escapes.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It’s common knowledge that electronics runs on smoke, that’s why it stops working when the smoke escapes

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Käyttämättömistä paristoista ja akuista johtuvasta tulipalosta voi joutua itse vastuuseen

    Pelkästään syksyn aikana on sattunut useita tulipaloja, jotka ilmeisesti syttyivät väärin käsitellyistä paristoista tai akuista.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ku­lut­ta­ja-leh­ti tes­ta­si: Hinta tai ar­vos­tet­tu merkki ei takaa hyvää pa­ris­toa – Lidlin patteri oli sekä halvin että paras

    Kalliimpi hinta ja tunnettu merkki eivät tarkoita paristojen kohdalla parempaa laatua ja kestoa, kertoo tuoreen Kuluttaja-lehden tekemä paristotesti. Lehti testasi 19 pikkuparistoa eli AAA-koon tuotetta.

    Lehti testasi 19 pikkuparistoa eli AAA-koon tuotetta. Niiden käyttöaikaa testattiin taskulampussa ja langattomassa hiiressä. Lampputesti tehtiin huoneenlämmössä ja nollassa celsiusasteessa.

    Lidlin Aerocell-niminen paristo vei koko testin voiton ollen sekä halvin että testeissä kokonaistulokseltaan paras.

    Myös Ikean, Bilteman, Clas Ohlsonin ja S-ryhmän Rainbow-merkin “halpispatterit” saivat kelpo arvosanat hintaan nähden.

    Esimerkiksi tunnetut nimet Varta, Panasonic, GP ja Sony jäivät takamatkalle testin kärkituotteisiin nähden. Toisaalta testin perusteella yksikään mukana olleista pattereista ei ole täysin surkea ostos.

    Tunnetuista ja kalliimmista merkeistä Duracell antoi parhaiten vastinetta isommalle hinnalle, sillä sen Ultra Power-patteri jaksoi huoneenlämmössä tehdyssä kestotestissä parhaiten.

    Paristoilla oli huimat kappalehintaerot: testivoittajan eli Lidlin yksi paristo maksoi 28 senttiä, kun kallein Energizer Eco Advanced-patteri kustansi 1,12 euroa kappaleelta.

    Lidlin Aerocell-paristoilla lamppu palaa eurolla 1057 minuuttia eli lähes 18 tuntia, kalliilla Energizerilla vain 261 minuuttia eli reilut neljä tuntia.

    Kylmät olosuhteet purivat kaikkien paristojen tehoon, mutta tässäkin jyvät erottuivat akanoista. Kylmissä olosuhteissa parhaiten jaksoi lelukauppojen merkki Power, heikoimmin vain Gigantissa myytävä Logik-paristo.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Onko kalliimpi paristo sitkeämpi?

    Edullisimmalla ja kalleimmalla paristopaketilla voi olla jopa kolminkertainen hintaero. Edes asiantuntija ei osaa vastata pakkausmerkintöjen perusteella, kuinka paljon lisätehoa lisähinnalla saisi.

    - Kalliimpi kestää ehkä pitempään, mutta ei ehkä niin paljon pitempään kuin hintaeroa on, pohtii Anton Sjöholm.

    - Nopeasti katsottuna se tuntui erittäin vaikealta. Jossain on mainittu, millainen kemia pariston takana on, sanoo professori Kyösti Kontturi Teknillisestä korkeakoulusta.

    - Mutta ei maallikko paremmuudesta ainakaan kovin nopeasti pysty ottamaan selvää, hän jatkaa.

    Sähkövarauksen määrälle olisi olemassa mittayksikkö, ampeeritunti. Ainakaan kertakäyttöpattereihin valmistajat eivät kyisestä lukemaa yleensä merkitse.

    Mutta todellinen paristosta saatava teho on aivan muuta kulloisessakin käytössä: esimerkiksi radiolla ja digi-kameralla voidaan samasta paristosta saada irti aivan erilaiset ampeeritunnit.

    - Jos lähdetään ilmoittamaan paristojen pakkauksissa ampeerituntimäärä, tulisi lukeman olla
    yhteismitallinen. Toisin sanoen tulisi määritellä, miten ampeeritunnit mitataan, vastaa markkinointipäällikkö Kari Niemenmaa Airamista.

    Kalliimman hintaluokan paristot (yli 3 euroa / kpl paketti) pyörittivät myllyjä keskimäärin pitempään kuin halvemman (alle 2.5 €). Mutta kun laskimme hinnan käyttötunnille, paljastui, että useimmat kalliimman hintaluokan paristot tulivat käytössä kalliimmiksi kuin halvemmat patterit.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Thay are awful now. Used to be flawless many years ago.
    The older ones were a lot better than the new leaky ones.

    This seems to be the lifecycle of many trustworthy brands: Spend years building trust and then start cashing it out by cutting corners, often under new management.

    Duracell got merged to procter and gamble for the crapification part 1. When Duracell was made crappy enough, P&G sold it to Berkshire Hathaway in 2014.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Clear vinegar (mild acetic acid) on Q-tips works well to neutralize the alkaline electrolyte. Then the high % alcohol clears the remaining residue while acting also as a drying agent. Panasonic are the only batteries I have never seen leak, and I’ve probably been through several hundred at least.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Use vinegar for battery acid removal

    Those are alkaline batteries. Try white vinegar on the corrosion. Try to keep it away from the circuit board unless there is corrosion on it too.

    Clean it with water, or vinegar as someone pointed out. Takes a bit to dissolve it etc but water is the solvent base for this alkali. If you can, open the remote to check if the leak got elsewhere. It’s okay to wash a remote circuit board and everything in water as long as it’s clean and dry before reassembly and powered up.

    A mild acid like white vinegar is better for neutralizing alkaline battery corrosion followed by an alcohol wipe.

    ..i have…many times, bot just duracell/duraleak, all alkalines can do it since they took a mercury compound out of the mix

    Diet Soda or diet pop cleans better but neutralize with water mixed with baking soda. Diet is used because no sticky residue. And harbor freight lightning batteries are better than Duracell


  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Alkaline batteries are prone to leakage and should never be left in any device beyond their shelf life. It’s not just Duracell.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It’s all down to mercury being removed from the recipe – just ridiculous that they don’t seem to have modified the design to take account of that.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    When a battery is left without power for too long, or it is left empty for too long in a device, a gas forms in the battery. If the pressure of the gas becomes too great, the protective layer of the battery breaks (a deliberate choice made by the manufacturer to avoid an explosion inside the battery).

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    If an alkaline battery sits too long, the pressure inside can eventually rupture the case. That’s what happens when alkaline batteries leak.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *