How To Clean Battery Terminals In 3 Easy Steps

How to remove corrosion from car batteries in 3 easy steps.

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• Automotive: DIY • Automotive: How-To
• Automotive: Maintenance • Automotive: Repair
• Automotive: Tips & Tricks

Matt Anderson's Take
Automotive batteries (cars, trucks, SUVs, and golf carts) tend to get corrosion buildup. It's a flaky mess that sort of grows on and around the battery terminals. It can add resistance between the battery and cable and cause issues so it's best to clean it up.

Fortunately, the cleaning process is pretty simple! Let's cover the basics and some safety issues first.

  • Your car should be turned off when you do this.

  • Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves, battery acid is nasty stuff.

  • If you get any on your skin wash it off right away.

  • If your battery is cracked or leaking get it replaced instead.


Assuming you're competent to proceed, cleaning your battery terminals fast and easy. You'll need:

  • Cleaning brush. This can be an old toothbrush, small wire brush, or an actual battery terminal brush (preferred). I used this one from Amazon.com.

  • Baking soda.

  • Water.

  • Disposable cup.

  • Paper towels


Step 1

If the corrosion is bad, you'll want to remove the battery cable from the battery. Be careful not to short anything out! Clean the cable inside and out as well as the battery terminal using your brush.


Get the big flakes off by wiping them up with a paper towel as you go so you don't make a mess on your floor or driveway.

Step 2

Mix 1-2 table spoons of baking soda with an ounce or two of water. Pour a small amount on the battery terminal and cable as needed.

Let it sit for a few minutes and it will slowly dissolve the corrosion. Use your brush again to finish cleaning. Rinse with a tiny bit of water or wet paper towel. Then wipe with a paper towel to dry.

Step 3

Re-attach any cables you removed. You're done. It really is that easy to do.
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