Q: I recently noticed several of my remote controls weren't working any longer, and when I opened them up to replace the batteries I found the batteries had leaked out battery acid. How do I clean the mess safely?
Sent by Tiffany
Editor: The most common cause of batteries leaking potassium hydroxide (which is actually an alkaline, not an acid) is simply leaving old batteries inside devices for too long. Eventually over time, perhaps due to environmental temperature shifts, batteries can swell and leak the characteristic white corrosive flaky dust you may spot alongside the edges of battery bays. Sometimes mixing brands or battery types can cause leaking, so it's advisable to switch out batteries together all at once rather than in piecemeal.
If you need to clean off the "battery acid", be sure to wear protective gloves while doing so. Since potassium hydroxide is a caustic agent that can irritate the respiratory system, eyes, and skin, you may want to take a precautionary extra step of using vinegar or lemon juice (both acids) to neutralize the alkaline build-up. Use a Q-tip or an old toothbrush, as shown here, and carefully wipe away.
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(Image: provided by Tiffany)