Monday Minute - Keeping Your Batteries Clean.

Monday Minute - Keeping Your Batteries Clean.

In what I think will become a weekly regular, Monday Minute allows me to pass on tidbits from marine folks I have known over the years. Often a comment during a boat tour, or an off-handed remark as we pass through a living space, these words of wisdom are buried in the pages of my many notebooks from PMM. While they don't fit the scope of a blog post or demand the space of an article, they are pearls of wisdom you will want to know.

We kick this week off with our first Monday Minute, about one of the many uses of bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda as it is known In the U.S. We all know how this neutral base powder keeps a refrigerator smelling clean, and can take the place of regular mouthwash in a pinch, but its value is even more helpful when you notice a crusty "growth" on your battery terminals. This product is a fine way to keep your batteries clean and "neutral."

Baking Soda.jpg
These products are the same, known by different names around the world. It is great stuff to keep it on your boat, as it does a whole lot more than just settling one's queasy stomach or to freshen a fridge filled with leftover fish filets.

These products are the same, known by different names around the world. It is great stuff to keep it on your boat, as it does a whole lot more than just settling one's queasy stomach or to freshen a fridge filled with leftover fish filets.

What you need to use this is simple. Buy a medium-sized wash bottle, the kind we use to add distilled water to a lead acid battery, or flushing parts in the workshop. You can find these bottles everywhere, or on Amazon, such as this one below:

This opaque plastic bottle with a crooked spray tube is perfect for cleaning off the acid on and around your batteries. It allows you to precisely direct the spray of a baking soda solution to terminals, straps and battery tops that may have a slimy layer of acid from any number of causes. The baking soda neutralizes the acid and washes the battery clean. Nothing works better!

This opaque plastic bottle with a crooked spray tube is perfect for cleaning off the acid on and around your batteries. It allows you to precisely direct the spray of a baking soda solution to terminals, straps and battery tops that may have a slimy layer of acid from any number of causes. The baking soda neutralizes the acid and washes the battery clean. Nothing works better!

Mix one or two tablespoons of baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) with enough water in the wash bottle to dissolve it into solution.

Then squeeze the bottle to direct a spray of solution to the tops of your batteries, encrusted battery terminals caked with deposits, battery tops, and attached straps. The base solution instantly goes to work bubbling the acid into submission and neutralizing the surrounding area.

It is wise to wear eye protection and wear gloves to protect yourself from splashed acid in case you get a bit carried away spraying acid that goes flying.

If you want to see a video of how quickly this works, there are numerous YouTube videos that show this in short order, highlighting how this solution eliminates acid build up around a lead acid battery. One such example shows extreme buildup on battery terminals: 

I find it best to store baking soda in a watertight container on my boat.

Have a great week!

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