How to clean car battery terminals with vinegar

Just like every living being needs a source of energy, cars also need a source for running. This source comes from batteries. But like many other things, batteries accumulate dust and debris. However, not many people realize that a battery terminal requires cleaning, which is why we are here to enlighten you on this.

Read on to find out more about how to clean car battery corrosion.

Signs that the car battery is corroding

Before you delve deeper into the topic of cleaning your car battery terminal, read on to find out how to spot a corroding battery.

  • If the engine of your car is not starting, then it is highly likely that your battery terminals are corroding.
  • A corroding battery also results in the rest of the car parts faltering. For example, the headlights of the car may not shine bright and there could be other problems with the facilities of the car. It may be possible that the air conditioner unit will not function properly due to the car battery corroding.

What Are the Reasons for Cleaning Car Battery Terminals?

The battery’s performance determines a lot of your car’s functioning. If your battery isn’t working properly, it will impair the way your automobile runs.

The battery, like other elements of the automobile, may gather dirt and debris, thus cleaning it is necessary. This debris has the potential to damage the terminal, obstructing electrical transfer between the vehicle and the battery. This may eventually affect the battery‘s functionality, costing you money and visits to the car repair garage. 

That’s why cleaning the battery terminals is vital to eliminate corrosion, debris, and other contaminants that might leave the battery worthless. You can extend the lifespan of your car’s battery and boost the effectiveness of your automobile by cleaning the terminals on a regular basis.

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Is It Possible to Clean Battery Terminals at Home?

Sometimes, it may seem like a chore to run to a car mechanic to clean the battery terminals, which is why we have come up with quick DIY solutions to solve the problem of a corroded battery terminal.

Things Required for the Task

  • White vinegar
  • Caustic Baking Soda
  • A Bottle with a Nozzle
  • Simple tool kit
  • Cleaning brush
  • Insulating tape
  • Cotton swabs or rags
  • Lubricating material
  • A small canister
  • A medium to a large container
  • Protective clothing or gloves

You can substitute many of the materials above for materials that you have at home.

Some key pointers to remember are that you need gloves before you undertake the action of cleaning the battery terminals. Protective clothing such as an old T-shirt and gloves should suffice to ensure that you do not have to clean a mess after cleaning the battery terminals.

Precautionary Measures Before You Clean Battery Terminal

Do not clean the battery before you check what is actually wrong with it. Ensure that you check that your battery is not leaking and there are no additional problems.

The first step to cleaning the battery post is to first unplug the main power cables. There are two battery cables in your car, red and black. First of all, remove the positive cable and insulate it to ensure that there are no accidents. Then, move on to removing the negative cable.

Now that you know that there is no battery leakage, you can move on to cleaning the battery terminal corrosion.

Cleaning the Battery Terminals-The Actual Process

Now that you have taken all the necessary measurements and precautions to clean the battery terminals, find out the process of how to clean the corroded area of your battery.

If you see corrosion on the battery terminal and the car won’t start, undertake the following steps.

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Step-by-step Guide

Step 1: Make a cleaning solution using vinegar and baking soda

Begin by adding a little amount of vinegar, such as 200 ml, into the spray bottle. Spray some baking soda with the bottle. Ensure you spray a sufficient amount to make a thick paste out of the baking soda.

Step 2: Cleaning the Terminals

Spray the remaining vinegar on the battery connections equally. It’s also a good idea to spray the solution on the terminal clips. Spraying the vinegar evenly will guarantee that it reaches every part of the battery terminals. 

Step 3- Scrub the Terminals

Unlike scrubbing with vinegar alone, you won’t have to wait to see the vinegar activate with this method. Dip the bristle brush or any kind of brush in the baking soda mixture.

Scrub the battery terminals first. Scrub vigorously, but carefully, being sure to get into every crevice.

Scrub each battery terminal for a few minutes, or until you see a foam forming. Dirt, filth, and rust are all removed throughout this procedure. If you think the first round wasn’t enough, make additional baking soda paste. It’s important to clean with care and consideration.

Step 4- Rinse the Terminals

After properly washing the terminals, never rinse them with water. Rinse with white vinegar and a clean cloth. This procedure will guarantee that any remaining dirt or rust goes away.

It will help prevent rust, which may occur when using plain tap water. Apply the same procedure to the termination clamps.

Step 5- Lubricate the terminals

After you’ve cleaned the rusted and filthy terminals, you’ll need to lubricate them to keep them clean and corrosion-free. The petroleum comes into play here.

Spread some petroleum jelly with your gloved fingers or the edge of a clean towel. Begin by applying it to the battery terminals’ surface.

What Are the Reasons for Using Vinegar to Clean Battery Terminals?

Because vinegar is acidic, it works well as a cleaner. It eliminates gunks, difficult residues, and rust from battery terminals quickly and easily. You may combine vinegar and baking soda to make a more powerful solution. This causes a chemical action such as fizzing that dissolves any stubborn accumulation of dust and debris. 

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Why Should You Keep Car Battery Terminals Clean?

A car battery has a significant impact on the operation of your vehicle. If corrosion or dust accumulates on the terminals of your car, your car’ won’t run smoothly. It takes money to take your automobile to an auto shop or hire a professional to clean your battery terminals.

The price of a car battery varies. A new one will often cost you at least a hundred dollars. This implies that replacing unclean terminals on a regular basis will cost you several hundred dollars. Keeping the terminals clean helps ensure that the battery lasts a long time.

These terminals’ job is to guarantee that the battery delivers electricity evenly throughout the car. Because they are prone to filth and dirt, you must keep them clean and corrosion-free. You’ll need to clean them on a regular basis, particularly if you live in a region with a lot of dust, moisture, or are close to the water.

A lack of sufficient maintenance causes malfunction. So, how can you tell whether your terminals are filthy? To discover, examine the terminals once per month. They are unclean if they have a greyish or blue material on them.

Not utilizing your car on a regular basis is one of the leading reasons for unclean terminals. Another factor might be the number of people that utilize the vehicle. Finally, owing to undercharging or overcharging, a malfunctioning charging system may produce rust on the battery terminal.

Cleaning the terminals is a simple solution to the issue. The great news is that you won’t have to spend a fortune on cleaning supplies. Cleaning terminals with baking soda and dilute vinegar is simple and leaves them operating like new.

Tips & Tricks

You should incorporate baking soda and vinegar if you want to clean the rust off the battery terminals. You may find articles on how to clean car battery terminals without baking soda but baking soda is also quite effective.

Cleaning the terminals of your automobile battery with vinegar is simple and quick. This implies that getting a professional technician to do the task will no longer be necessary. On the one hand, engaging your trusted technician is the ideal alternative, particularly if you don’t have sufficient time to wash your vehicle battery on your own.

Citric acid-based cleaning chemicals such as lemon juice are the most efficient cleaning agents for cleaning your automobile battery connections.

Apart from vinegar, you may clean your battery terminals using a can of Coca-Cola. Washing your battery terminals with Coca-Cola might be the most simple solution if your car suddenly stops operating due to rust.


  1. Is it safe to clean the car battery with baking soda?

It is easy to remove corrosion from car battery terminals by utilizing baking soda and hot water mixture. Indeed, it is also a very safe way.

  1. Is it safe to go for cleaning the terminals of a battery without disconnecting?

You should always disconnect the car battery cables before you scrub the terminals clean. It is a safety precaution to remove the battery cables as it prevents accidents.

  1. Can I use coke to clean the car battery terminals?

You may pour a small amount of coke on the car battery terminals to clean the rust and corrosion.

  1. Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean battery corrosion?

Any kind of vinegar works like a charm to clean the car battery terminals. Even apple cider vinegar works fine in this case.

  1. How to clean rust from car battery terminals with WD-40?

Spraying the terminals covered with grime with WD-40 should clean them. That is why many people clean car battery terminals wd40.

Final Verdict

You have reached the end of the article on how to clean battery terminals with baking soda and vinegar. The above methods will ensure that you can easily get all the debris and grime off the battery terminals without any fuss. Hopefully, the next time you have to clean your car battery terminals, you won’t run to a mechanic or a car repair shop. 

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