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Car Care Instructions: How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar

Like any other part, a car battery can accumulate dust, dirt, and grime. Over time, it can also corrode, which, in turn, degrades its ability to conduct enough power and maintain performance. By the same token, keeping your car battery in good condition will keep you going forward on the road.

But you do not necessarily have to rely on professional services to take care of your car battery. You can clean it on your own using materials already lying around your home, like vinegar. So, how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar?

Rest assured that it is not rocket science. All you have to do is read and carefully follow along with our guide below.

The general steps are:

  • Put on protective gear and check the condition of your car battery
  • Disconnect the cables from the car battery and insulate them to set aside
  • Prepare the vinegar solution for cleaning the car battery terminals
  • Submerge and bathe the battery terminals with the prepared vinegar
  • Let them sit for a while before wiping them down with spritzes of water
  • Let them air dry completely before reattaching the cables into the battery

However, there are more details to each step and other essential information that you should know. We will uncover all of them below. Therefore, read on to find out!

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

vinegar-to-clean-battery-terminals

What You Will Need to Have

Cleaning battery terminals with vinegar is not as difficult as it sounds. To begin, gather all the following materials:

  • Vinegar (Preferably white vinegar)
  • Protective gloves and goggles
  • A cloth to insulate the cables
  • A bottle and container
  • Another cloth or rag

You should not have any problem getting these materials online or offline. You may even have them already readily available in your home. Otherwise, a quick trip to the closest store should suffice. These materials are also very affordable; you do not have to worry about exhausting your wallet to clean your car battery terminals.

What You Will Need to Do

Now that you have all the materials that you need, you can proceed to the steps. This is a method to clean battery terminals without baking soda, so it is arguable handier than other typical recommendations.

Step 1: Put on protective gear and check the condition of your car battery

Before you delve into any action, put on your protective gloves and goggles. Then, pop up the hood and find your car battery to check its condition. If it appears to be leaking or bloating, do not worry about cleaning but consider replacing entirely. If it is just building up filth, go ahead and continue.

Step 2: Remove the cables from the car battery and insulate them to set aside

Disconnect the power cables. Do this for both the positive and the negative cables, but start with the positive. Once the cables are unplugged, insulate them with a cloth. Remember to not just leave them hanging or throw them on the hood.

Doing this carefully will ensure that you will not encounter any dangerous short circuits. Also, avoid coming into contact with any metal items in this step.

Step 3: Prepare the vinegar solution for cleaning the car battery terminals

Now, you will prepare the vinegar solution to clean the battery terminals. Pour 150ml of the vinegar that you have prepared into an empty bottle. Next, pour another 200ml of vinegar into a different container.

Step 4: Submerge and bathe the battery terminals with the prepared vinegar

Lift the terminal clamps and submerge them into the container filled with vinegar. Then, pour vinegar over the clamps using the solution-filled bottle that you have just made. Be sure that you pour evenly, covering both terminals thoroughly with vinegar.

Step 5: Let them sit for a while before wiping them down with spritzes of clean water

Let them sit there for roughly an hour. Afterward, lift the terminals from the vinegar and wipe them down once with a fresh cloth or rag. Be sure you get rid of any accumulated gunk. Spray water on it for a brief rinse using another cloth or rag.

Step 6: Let them air dry completely before reattaching the cables into the battery

To complete, let it air dry. Reconnect the cables to your car battery, and you are good to go! You have successfully clean battery terminals with vinegar.

For a Severely Corroded Car Battery…

The above process should be sufficient for car batteries with minimal filth. However, if your terminals are severely corroded, you may have to pair vinegar with baking soda to clean.

What You Will Need to Have

  • Vinegar
  • Protective gloves and goggles
  • A well-ventilated area to work
  • A plastic surface
  • A soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
  • Some baking soda
  • A spray bottle
  • A wet cloth or rag

What You Will Need to Do

clean-battery-terminals-with-vinegar

Step 1: Put on protective gloves and goggles and find a well-ventilated area to work

Again, start by wearing protective gloves and goggles. It is very important that you do not contact the corrosion. Also, look for a well-ventilated place to clean car battery corrosion with vinegar.

Step 2: Remove the battery from its compartment and give it a wipe-down

Take the corroded battery from its compartment and place it on a plastic surface. Wipe away any loose corrosion with a fresh cloth or rag.

Step 3: Coat the terminals with baking soda using a brush or toothbrush

Next, coat the terminals with a layer of baking soda with the help of a soft-bristle brush or a toothbrush. Do this carefully to avoid leaving out any parts of the terminals.

Step 4: Prepare the vinegar solution for cleaning and spritz without over-saturating

Then, move onto preparing the cleaning solution. In a bowl or cup, pour out the vinegar. Similarly, pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and cap it tightly. Spritz it onto the terminals without over-saturating them. Give it two to three minutes to fizz.

Step 5: Scrub the terminals thoroughly to remove all the accumulated gunk

Now, scrub them clean with a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush. Use circular motions along with side-to-side and up-and-down swipes. Get rid of all the gunk of grime and grease until the terminals are entirely clean.

Make sure that you reach even the nooks and crannies of the terminals. To help, you can use cotton swabs and dip them into the vinegar.

Step 6: Wipe the terminals down with a wet cloth or rag and leave it to air dry

At this point, you are ready to wipe them down with a wet cloth or rag. Check that your terminals are spotless before leaving them to air dry.

Step 7: Do the same for your battery post and compartment before reattaching the cables

Repeat the above steps for the battery post and the remaining portion of the compartment. To finish, reattach the cables.

Voila! It was not too difficult, right? You might as well be an expert in cleaning car battery terminals!

Conclusion

So, with that, you have reached the end of this article on how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar. Now, you can use vinegar to clean battery terminals. Hopefully, it was easy to follow and helpful. To recap, these are the steps that you need to take:

  • Put on protective gear and check the condition of your car battery
  • Disconnect the cables from the car battery and insulate them to set aside
  • Prepare the vinegar solution for cleaning the car battery terminals
  • Submerge and bathe the battery terminals with the prepared vinegar
  • Let them sit for a while before wiping them down with spritzes of water
  • Let them air dry completely before reattaching the cables into the battery

If you have tried this out yourself, let us know how it went in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you! Also, if you have any other follow-up questions or thoughts regarding this topic, feel free to leave a comment. We are always super excited about our readers’ insights. So, do not hesitate! You are also welcome to share this article with your family, friends, or anyone you think will appreciate the content.

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