How To Clean A Car Battery Terminal!

Wondering how to clean a car battery terminal? Vehicle not starting and think it might be the battery? Before shoveling out over $100 for a new battery, try these tips instead!

To clean a car battery terminal properly, you will need to scrub the terminals with a baking soda and water mix. After cleaning each terminal, protect them with some terminal grease for best results!

In order to clean your battery terminals properly though, you will need some supplies.

Before tackling this job make sure you have baking soda, a soft brush, clean up rags/microfiber towels, and some protective gear like gloves.


Before you do anything, make sure to be safe and disconnect the negative battery terminal. This will cut power to the vehicle allowing you to safely work on electrical components.

Failing to do this can cause the battery to short. This can cause a battery to go bad or worse, damage the electrical components to your vehicle.

While having some gloves on, remove the negative battery terminal, and then the positive battery terminal. Once both of these are removed, take the battery out of the vehicle.

This will give you more room and an extra layer of safety. You could get away with doing this with it installed, but you risk getting other components wet that shouldn’t be.

Once you have the battery successfully disconnected and removed, it’s time to make some cleaner!

How To Clean A Battery Terminal – Cleaner.

With your gloves still on, set the battery aside and grab a bottle of water or spray bottle. For every 1 cup of water you have, you will need 1 tablespoon of baking soda roughly.

This mixture doesn’t need to be exact, but the closer you are the better. We used a cheap spray bottle from a local hardware store. Apply the water and baking soda and then mix together thoroughly.

Once you have the baking soda and water together, give it a good shake. Swirl it around and shake it very well to make sure it’s mixed perfectly. For extra credit and if you have enough room, use a paint stick or brush to stir it as well.

You should now be left with a odd colored watery liquid. We can now start cleaning our terminals.

Shiny New Terminals!

How To Clean A Car Battery Terminal

A Very Clean Battery

With your mixture and brush in hand (we used a medium bristled detailing brush) apply the cleaner to the brush.

Don’t ever spray anything directly on your battery, only apply the cleaner to the brush itself.

After a couple of sprays of soaking that brush down, go ahead and start scrubbing.

The best results are achieved by brushing vertically, then horizontally. This agitates all the grime and grease on the terminals which we will then remove later. Right now you just need to focus on keeping the terminals damp.

As you begin to scrub you will notice water will start to run. Try your best to keep the mess contained using your clean rag. Once you have each terminal scrubbed up, you can wipe away any excess residue.

Be thorough and remove all the dirt/grease from not only the terminals but surrounding areas as well. The goal here is to get almost no interference when your negative and positive terminals are attached again.

After Care!

After you have successfully cleaned your battery terminals, you will now want to protect the investment. I used to work for an auto parts store back in the day and you wouldn’t believe how many people opted out of a $2 kit.

This will come with the insulation washers and the protecting grease to ensure your terminals stay clean. This will help with over the year corrosion as well as general dirt/dust in the air as well. We have seen a lot of good batteries actually fail due to improper cleaning.

So the morale of the story… try and and save some money. Don’t sling out over $100+ for a new battery when your old one just might not be getting a good enough connection.

That about wraps it up though, be sure to check out our guide to radio failure as well!