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How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar Featured Image

Dirt, dust, and grime can be pilled up on car battery terminals over time. As it plays a vital role in connecting all the electrical components of the vehicles to the battery, you should clean them regularly to ensure the highest performance.

However, you don’t have to seek the help of a professional always to take care of your battery. One of the most common household materials, vinegar, can save your day. Yes! You heard it right!

Replacing car battery is costly, so cleaning it regularly is benifitial. Hence, by spending just a little time, you can make your terminal looks the same as new! Let’s know-how.

Can You Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar?

Cleaning Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

Yes, is it possible to clean car battery terminals with vinegar? Well, vinegar is a natural cleaning solution. Because of its acidic properties can easily remove tough residuals, gunks, and corrosion from the battery terminals.

You may also use vinegar and baking soda mix to make a more robust solution. It will eliminate all stubborn buildups on the battery terminal.

What Kind of Vinegar Cleans Battery Corrosion?

White Vinegar Is the Recommended Solution to Clean Battery terminals

Are you wondering which type of vinegar is better for battery corrosion? Actually, white vinegar (also called spirit vinegar and distilled vinegar) is preferable for this purpose.

White vinegar is normally composed of 4–7 percent acetic acid and 93–96 percent water. Besides, it works great to clean varieties products and tools.

Supplies You Will Need:

While you are up to cleaning your battery terminal with vinegar, you need some additional materials to complete the process with perfection. These tools are available in your home, and if not, you can easily find them in your nearby store.

Supplies You Will Need

The list of supplies is as follows:

  • Protective gear, such as gloves and goggles
  • White vinegar
  • Clean rags
  • Spray bottle
  • Simple tool kit
  • Insulating tape
  • Small and medium-sized containers

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar (Step By Step)

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

After preparing all the elements, it’s time to start the main process. So, here is the step-by-step guideline for the whole process.

Step 1: Prepare The Battery for The Cleaning Process

Before starting the cleaning segment, you need to remove all the cables from the car battery. Start with the positive one. And after unplugging a cable, don’t just throw them out or leave them hanging around. Insulate them carefully with a cloth to ensure they won’t encounter any short circuits.

Step 2: Prepare The Vinegar Solution

Pour approximately 150 ml of vinegar into an empty bottle. And place another 200 ml of vinegar into a different container.

Step 3: Soak The Terminals and Terminal Clamps with The Solution

Sometimes, the terminal clamps contain some residual dirt and corrosion from the terminals. Because of this, you also need to clean them to get the best results.

Submerge the terminal clamps on the vinegar. Remember to remove the insulating tape from the positive terminal clamp at this time.

Then pour the vinegar solution on the terminals and terminal clamps. Make sure all the parts get soaked evenly. Leave them to sit for a while. The best time is about an hour.

Step 4: Wipe Them Down with Clean Water and Rags

After an hour, lift the terminals from the vinegar and wipe down the liquid with a clean piece of rag or cloth. Spray some clean water on them and wipe again with another cloth. This will make sure that you get rid of all the accumulated gunk.

Step 5: Let Them Dry

Don’t connect the cables as soon as you wipe down the terminals. Let it dry for a while, and you are good to go.


You have successfully clean battery terminals using a simple vinegar solution. However, this might not work well with a severely corroded car battery. In that case, you can do the following.

Cleaning Battery Terminal Using Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and Baking Soda

It’s quite impossible to clean corroded battery terminals with only vinegar solution. So the steps mentioned above won’t be sufficient at all. But don’t lose hope! Vinegar and baking soda solutions can easily save your day.

All you need to do is include Baking soda, Bristle brush or toothbrush, and Petroleum jelly into your supply items. Follow the below steps after disconnecting all the cables from the battery.

Step 1: Prepare A Vinegar and Baking Soda Cleaning Solution

Take a tablespoon of baling soda at first. Use enough vinegar to turn the powder into a thick paste.

Step 2: Coat The Terminals

Coat the terminals with a baking soda layer. You can use a soft bristle brush to reach all the terminal areas.

Spray the remaining vinegar evenly on the terminals and the clamps. Make sure the vinegar is in contact with every place. Leave it for a couple of minutes to fizz.

Step 3: Scrub The Terminal Thoroughly

Take the bristle brush or toothbrush and scrub the terminals and terminal clamps. Keep scrubbing until they become entirely clean and free from corrosion, grime, and grease.

Apply more baking soda paste if the first round is not enough.

Step 4: Wipe Down with A Wet Cloth

Never use direct water to rinse off the terminals. So, wipe them off with a clean rag soaked with white vinegar. This method helps to prevent rust that water can cause.

Step 5: Lubricate The Terminals and Finish Up

To ensure that your terminal will be corrosion-free, finish off the cleansing process by applying some lubricant all over the place. Petroleum jelly works pretty well as a lubricator.

Precautions You Should Take

Now you know two cleansing processes. But trying any of these, you should maintain some precautions to avoid any complications.

Let’s take a close look at them.

  • Do the cleansing process in a well-ventilated place. Separate the battery from the car before cleaning it.
  • Don’t try to touch the remedies with bare hands.
  • Make sure your safety gloves and eye protectors are perfect for the job.
  • Don’t try to clean a battery that starts to leak or bloat.
  • Be extra careful when removing cables. Make sure that the positive and negative cables don’t come in contact with each other.

When Your Battery Terminal Needs Cleansing

By the time you learn about the use of vinegar to clean car battery corrosion. But how do you understand your battery terminal needs cleansing?

Well, a car usually starts to show some symptoms when the battery terminal needs to be cleaned. You can easily find out the problems in the functionalities. The symptoms are as below.

  • Facing trouble in starting the car
  • Unusual decrease in electrical power
  • One or more than one electric-driven component of your car fails
  • A pungent smell coming from the battery
  • You find a grease-like substance on the battery
  • The battery accumulate debris and corrosion

If you notice any of these mentioned issues, you need to take action immediately. However, even if your battery doesn’t show any of these signs, you should check the terminals every month for safety purposes.

To Conclude

Now you know how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar. It’s not hard to do the task. You only need time and lots of patients. And the final result is totally satisfactory!

But don’t forget to follow the safety precautions to avoid any risk.