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How to Neutralize and Remove Battery Acid Stains From Your Clothing

Posted by Patricia Spencer on
How to Neutralize and Remove Battery Acid Stains From Your Clothing


Among the most common types of stains that can discolor our clothing, battery acid is definitely not up there.  But, it does happen, and if you’re someone who is involved in engineering or otherwise handles a lot of batteries, getting some on your clothing can cause a panic.  Yes, battery acid can stain clothing permanently, but if you treat the stain right away, you have a great chance of removing it, even when using natural products like our natural dish soap and sustainable laundry pods at Grab Green Home.

What is Battery Acid?

Battery acid is sulfuric acid that has been diluted with water to procure a 37% concentration level.  This direct type of acid is found in sealed lead acid batteries, but those concentration levels are usually different depending upon the battery brand.  These batteries use a duo of lead plates and an electrolyte consisting of a diluted sulfuric acid to convert electrical energy into developing chemical energy and back again.  Now, although this acid lets us have portable power, the actual acid can be really hazardous.  Why?  Well, because its corrosive identity can actually melt any bodily tissue it encounters.  And, when it comes in contact with soil, it’ll actually contaminate it for a long duration of time, depending on the acid’s concentration.  This in turn, could potentially be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.  So, batteries must be recycled properly.

Steps to Treating Battery Acid on Clothing

Step #1: Neutralize the Stain First

Before breaking out your favorite nontoxic cleaning products, you need to neutralize the acid with an alkaline substance.  This will change the properties of the battery acid, basically canceling out its properties that are doing damage to your clothing.  There are various ingredients that you can use, but we prefer baking soda since it’s gentle, nontoxic and likely already in your home.

Mix baking soda with a little water to create a paste.  Then, smear the paste over the stain.  Let it sit for at least 5 minutes – up to about 15 minutes if possible – before blotting with a clean, damp white cloth until you’ve lifted away as much of the stain as possible.  This step is critical, and must be done as soon as possible for success.

Step #2: Let It Soak

Now, you can give it a good soak to help break the stain up even more.  It’s best to use an eco friendly dish soap that’s gentle enough for most fabrics.  We recommend pouring some Grab Green Liquid Dish Soap into water and letting the garment soak in this solution for an hour.  Our Liquid Dish Soap formula is a non toxic dish soap that can lift away most types of stains. 

Step #3: Time for a Wash

Now, you can go ahead and throw the garment into the wash, if that’s what’s recommended on the care label.  It’s best to use natural laundry pods that can fight stains without being too harsh for your clothing material.  The best non toxic laundry pods for the job are our 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Pods or Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods, which are sustainable laundry pods perfect for this method.  After that, dry the garment according to its care label in the dryer if applicable, along with Classic Laundry Dryer Sheets or Stoneworks Dryer Sheets, or even Grab Green Dryer Balls, as any of these options will keep fabrics nice and soft while preventing cling.

If It’s an Old/Dry Battery Stain

Battery acid is one of the few types of stains that may be permanent if not addressed immediately.  You are free to try the methods above anyway, even if the stain is old, but know that without neutralizing the acid right away, it can cause irreparable damage to the material of your clothing. 

If the Clothing is Delicate

If your clothing item requires dry-cleaning, take it to the dry cleaner’s, but tell them right away what kind of stain it is so that they can treat it using their specialized methods.  Chances are they know exactly what to do to get the stain out, as long as it’s relatively new.

If you must hand-wash the garment, that’s perfectly fine.  Just use the same laundry detergent but in a basin or bucket, and wash as you normally do.  Should the item require air-drying, that’s also fine, since the drying process has no impact on whether or not you can remove the stain successfully.

Battery Acid Stains Can Be Removed, But You Have to Act Fast

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to remove battery acid from clothing as long as you address the stain immediately, carefully following the steps above.  While they can seem scary, some basic methods using safe, non toxic cleaning products already lying around can do the trick.

Other Useful Links
  1. Diaper Pail Spray - Description
  2. Wet Dryer Sheets - Description

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