How to Clean up Battery Acid Spills

April 16, 2019 11:04 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Battery spills are hazardous, especially when using high-powered battery systems in Jefferson, WI, such as the ones in commercial and industrial devices and machinery. Liquid and residue can cause serious harm to skin, clothes and other equipment, so it’s important to understand what type of battery you’re dealing with and avoid causing dangerous chemical reactions by using the wrong cleaning solution. Cleaning the equipment that was being used at the time may also be necessary. Read on for the steps you need to follow to safely clean up battery acid spills.

Protect yourself

The chemicals in batteries that leak out can irritate more than just your skin. These caustic chemicals can be harmful to your lungs if inhaled, as well as to your eyes. Wear gloves, safety goggles and a face mask when handling higher power batteries, such as car and lithium batteries. Gloves should be rubber, latex or nitrile to withstand leaking battery acid. Of course, if you come into contact with the acid, or feel a burning on your skin, rinse the area in lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. It’s also a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area.

Identify battery types

Battery systems in Jefferson, WI can be alkaline, lithium, nickel-cadmium or lead-acid. Lead-acid batteries, commonly found in cars and motor vehicles, are some of the most dangerous types of battery leaks. If dealing with a lead-acid battery, you’ll need to double-bag it with two trash bags and seal the bag well before disposing of it.

If dealing with a non-motor vehicle battery, you’ll have to determine which type of battery it is. Even smaller batteries for electronic devices can be dangerous. One good indicator of battery type is the listed voltage. Most alkaline batteries have voltages that are multiples of 1.5. Most lithium batteries are multiples of 3 to 3.7, and are commonly found in cell phones and other rechargeable devices. Most nickel-cadmium voltages are multiples of 1.2. Lead-acid batteries are multiples of 2.

Clean the spill

For lead-acid and nickel-cadmium battery spills, you can neutralize the acid with baking soda. These two battery types have a strong, dangerous acid that can burn through fabric like clothing, rags or carpet, and is certainly harmful to skin. Cover it with baking soda until the soda does not cause more fizzing and bubbling. You can then clean up the spill with a solution of baking soda and water. Dispose of the solution in the same bag as the battery.

For alkaline batteries, a mild household acid solution can be effective. Mix vinegar and lemon juice and swab that onto the battery and/or spill with a cotton swab, which will neutralize the acid. A toothbrush can also be used to clean the spill if dealing with delicate internal workings of an electronic device. Paper towels may also be effective in some situations.

Lithium batteries are especially dangerous because they can cause an explosion. After placing the battery in a bag, it should be placed in another container to contain the explosion. The electronic device that housed the broken battery will also need to be disposed. These spills should be cleaned with water only.

At Remis Power Systems Inc., you can invest in the right battery systems in Jefferson, WI and replace your old batteries. Give us a call today to learn more about what we can do for you!

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