How To Clean Battery Corrosion in Toys

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A toy is a wonderful thing and you need to know how to clean battery corrosion in toys. It can make your kid laugh and learn new things, bring joy to you on a rainy day, or serve as an excellent distraction when you’re stuck in traffic.

Toys also present some special challenges that adults may not be prepared for. For example, did you know that battery corrosion is one of the most common causes of toy recalls?

That’s right: corroded batteries pose a serious threat to children and their caregivers alike! Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this problem from happening. Let’s get started!

What Is Battery Corrosion, And How Does It Happen?

Battery corrosion occurs when the materials inside the battery degrade and release hydrogen gas, which corrodes the metal terminals. You might expect this kind of problem to be limited to batteries for vehicles (especially in regions with difficult weather).

Still, it’s fairly common in small devices like toys, too. For example, one toy manufacturer recalled over 1 million remote-controlled cars at risk of catching fire because their rechargeable lithium-ion batteries could not vent well enough!

That’s something you want to avoid! Battery corrosion can also affect kids’ toys powered by regular alkaline batteries (like these Tonka trucks and RC cars), posing a burn hazard.

How To Clean Battery Corrosion In Toys

Step 1: Remove any visible corrosion from the terminals using a fine-grit sandpaper or emery board. [Include a picture here.] If you find a problem, follow the steps below to remove it safely:

Step 2: Scrub away at the corroded areas using baking soda and water as described above. You may need to use over one cotton swab, so you don’t introduce any new bacteria into the mix!

Try to remove as much of the residue as possible.

Step 3: Rinse everything thoroughly with clear, running water. Remember that your child might put this part back in their mouth once it’s clean, so make sure there is no chemical residue left behind.

how to clean battery corrosion in toys
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Step 4: Dry the connectors thoroughly on both sides with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel. As an additional step to prevent corrosion from recurring, you can coat the cleaned connection with petroleum jelly or another waterproof agent!

If your toy was powered by button batteries (like these), be extra careful because they are more likely to leak than other kinds of batteries!

Also, note that it’s not safe to stick these batteries in your mouth to get them clean — take care of this task yourself! Follow all the steps above but skip straight to Step 4 when drying.

Why Should You Avoid Putting Your Hands On Corroded Batteries?

Corroded batteries contain dangerous chemicals that can cause health problems if they come into contact with your skin or eyes, so it’s best to play it safe and follow the instructions above.

Even though these steps may seem overkill, battery corrosion has caused toy recalls and even tragic deaths of children, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Tips For Preventing Future Issues With Battery Corrosion

Keep your batteries out of reach by children at all times.

Invest in rechargeable batteries that last a long time and can be recycled at the end of their life cycle.

Practice good toy hygiene by inspecting toys for signs of corrosion every six months. Replace any toys that have corroded battery compartments to keep your family safe!

Ways To Dispose Of The Corroded Toy Safely

If the toy is old, do your best to remove the batteries first. 

Do not open the sealed battery compartment if you can’t tell whether there is a direct connection between the terminals and the outside of the toy. It’s safer to dispose of it than risk an electrical mishap!

If there is a direct connection between the terminals and the outside of the toy, proceed with the next steps.

Follow your local recycling guidelines for the disposal of alkaline batteries. Many pharmacies, department stores, and recycling centers take used batteries that are small enough to fit into your pocket. 

how to clean battery corrosion in toys
Image credit: unsplash.com

Save the bigger batteries in a sealed bag or container until you can find a recycling center that accepts them.

Ask your municipal waste provider about any recycling guidelines for used rechargeable batteries.

If the toy is broken, but not from battery corrosion, it might still be fixed! Contact your local landfill or municipal waste department about the disposal of electronic components.

If the toy is a fire hazard, leave it alone and contact your local fire department.

How To Store Unused Batteries

Take the batteries out of the device and store them in a cool, dry place. A kitchen drawer works well as long as it’s not exposed to high heat or direct sunlight for extended periods.

Never store batteries in a toy if the toy will be used again within a year. Batteries corrode over time and can cause internal damage to a toy that may not be immediately obvious.

Keep loose batteries out of reach by children at all times.

If you have batteries stored in a location that isn’t cool or dry, replace them as soon as possible!

If you’ve just purchased a toy, remove the batteries and store them separately until your child is ready to play with them.

Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency and keep an eye out for any signs of smoke or other issues.

How To Prevent Future Issues With Corroded Toys

Always replace your alkaline batteries with rechargeable ones. This will save you money and is great for the environment! – Keep loose batteries away from those little hands.

If they can’t see it, they won’t try to eat it! They won’t get wet (unless you want to take a trip down memory lane!). If you notice any corrosion in a toy battery compartment, replace the batteries immediately and practice safe habits by storing your new batteries.

Keep your toys clean and dry. This will also help prevent the build-up of fungus, mold, or germs!

How To Clean Battery Corrosion In Toys

Putting forth some extra effort to clean corroded battery terminals will save you money by preventing future problems with your toys. Always practice safe habits with loose batteries, rechargeable or not, to prevent your children from getting hurt.

Suppose there is any doubt about whether the battery compartment is directly connected to the outside of the toy. In that case, it’s best to discard it entirely rather than risk an electrical mishap! Take care of your toys properly so that they can last for many more years to come!

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