Battery compartment with double-A batteries and battery acid with text that reads how to remove battery acid from carpetBattery compartment with double-A batteries and battery acid with text that reads how to remove battery acid from carpet

How to Neutralize Battery Acid and Remove It From Carpet

Battery acid is very caustic. Depending on the type of battery that’s corroded, leakage can damage almost anything it comes in contact with — not to mention its damaging effects on the health and safety of people if not treated properly. Adequate care should always be taken to ensure timely and dependable clean up of battery acid — for the cleaner’s sake and anyone who might be working in close proximity. 

As such, it’s recommended that professional cleaners always wear the necessary protective gear, including gloves, eye protection and, in some cases, a respirator. 

Here, we’ll outline some common types of battery corrosion and leakage, explain why neutralizing the acid first is so important and provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean up corroded batteries safely. 

Different Types of Batteries

 

Battery acid on carpet is generally a result of a corroded battery. Today, the most common types are the alkaline battery, lithium battery, and lead-acid battery — all of which are prone to leakage if they’re old or not stored properly. 

An old alkaline battery may leak electrolytes and hydrogen gas, while a lithium ion battery may seep hydrogen fluoride. The most dangerous of them, though, is a corroded lead-acid battery (or car battery), which contains sulfuric acid. All of these chemicals can permanently damage carpets and other materials and cause injury if they come in contact with skin. Fumes from these batteries can be a serious health risk if inhaled. 

How to Neutralize and Clean Battery Acid from Carpet

 

When cleaning a battery acid spill, it’s of the utmost importance to neutralize the acid before attempting any sort of treatment or stain removal. For example, a car battery contains sulfuric acid, which reacts violently with alcohol and water to release extreme heat, creating an explosion hazard. 

Even if the corroded battery in question doesn't contain sulfuric acid, the fluid, electrolytes and gasses within can still readily react with metals and other elements, even in their diluted form. This can cause damage to anything the leakage comes in contact with, including carpet and skin. 

Important Safety Gear for Cleaning Battery Acid

 

Cleanup can safely begin once the acid has been neutralized. But, before you start, ensure you’re wearing the proper protective gear, including: 

How to Clean up Alkaline Battery Spills

 

Alkaline batteries are commonly used in household electronics and toys (such as AA, AAA, D, C and 9V). The “acid” is actually alkaline, so you’ll need an acidic solution to neutralize it. 

  1. Carefully dab a few drops of a mild acid, such as white vinegar or lemon juice. You can use an old toothbrush or small scrub brush to gently rub the vinegar or lemon juice into the leak. 
  2. Once the fizzing stops, rinse and extract the affected carpet with Matrix® All Fiber Rinse diluted at 6 oz per gallon of water. 
  3. Speed dry the carpet with an air mover

How to Clean up Lead-Acid / Sulfuric Acid Battery Spills

 

Sulfuric acid batteries are often used in vehicles, boats and forklifts and must be neutralized with an alkaline solution. Follow OSHA’s guidelines for cleanup and safety procedures. 

  1. Neutralize the spill by generously applying soda ash or baking soda. Alternatively, use 1 pound of baking soda to 1 gallon of water. The acid reaction is complete when it stops fizzing. 
  2. Absorb the neutralized material with paper towels and place it in a plastic bag for disposal. 
  3. Thoroughly clean the carpet with Matrix® Confidence Premium Extraction Detergent diluted at 2 oz per 5 gallons of water. 
  4. Rinse and extract the affected carpet with Matrix® All Fiber Rinse diluted at 6 oz per gallon of water. 
  5. Speed dry the carpet with an air mover. 

Lithium Battery Cleanup

 

Lithium batteries are often used in button cell batteries as well as high-end electronic devices, such as cell phones and computers. In the event of a leak, it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer for specific cleanup recommendations. It is highly likely that you will need to dispose of the device according to your local federal or state regulations to prevent fire or injury. 

Professional Products for Neutralizing and Cleaning Battery Acid 

Personal protective gear is the most important part of battery acid cleanup. To avoid injury, always use the appropriate gear and products that are safe for the job. We recommend: 

Splash Goggles: Keep your eyes protected from harmful chemicals while cleaning spills. Anti-fog and scratch-resistant options available. 

Disposable Nitrile Exam Gloves: Puncture-resistant, latex-free gloves that protect your skin from damaging battery acid and other chemicals. 
 

3M 7500 Series Half Face Respirator: A low-maintenance respirator to protect your lungs from harmful battery fumes. 

3M 2096 Nuisance Level Acid Gas/P100 Filter: Nuisance level acid gas relief for cleaning battery leakages, spills and stains. 

Matrix® All Fiber Rinse: This acidic all-fiber rinse is safe for stain resistant carpet and wool. It eliminates dirt and thoroughly rinses away any cleaning solution used on carpet, leaving the fibers bright and soft. 

Matrix® Confidence Premium Extraction Detergent: This powerful alkaline detergent cuts through greasy, grimy soils and contains anti-resoiling agents that keep carpet looking cleaner longer. 

Warning: Always test materials for colorfastness, follow label directions and never mix products unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary.
 

No matter what you’re cleaning, Jon-Don has the products, equipment, and training you need to get the job done. For expert guidance on all things carpet cleaning and more, check out our selection of in-person and virtual educational seminars for technicians, owners and managers of carpet cleaning companies. 

Need help troubleshooting a tough spot or stain? Our experts are just a phone call away. Call 800-556-6366 to speak with a member of our team. 

3M™ 2096 Nuisance Level Acid Gas/P100 Filter
3M

Starting at $15.70

Ships Direct From Manufacturer.
Matrix® All Fiber Rinse
Matrix

Starting at $20.78

In stock ready to ship!
Splash Goggles
Provided by Jon-Don

Starting at $3.50

Ships Direct From Manufacturer.
3M™ 7500 Series Half Face Respirator
3M

Starting at $42.06

Ships Direct From Manufacturer.
ProWorks® Industrial Grade Nitrile Exam Gloves, 5 mil, Powder Free, Blue
Handy Guard

Starting at $22.56

In stock ready to ship!

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