How to Clean Battery Acid Out of Carpet—An A to Z Guide
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Here is how you clean battery acid stains out of carpet:
- Realize what mess you’ve made
- Try to cover the acidic stain with a chair or a lazy bag ( a great opportunity to buy one if you don’t have it)
- Be aware of the fact that your spouse is probably going to beat you senseless
- Lay down
- Try not to cry
- Cry a lot
Jokes aside, cleaning battery acid out of carpet is possible. But it wouldn’t be easy. Know, you’ll need to break a sweat to do it.
But, how is it done?!
Let’s start with…
How to Clean Up Battery Acid Spill on Carpet — Cleaning the Impossible
Do not panic!
This mess happens when the lead battery builds up pressure when charging and some of the acid leaks out.
But when it happens you need to act quick! Or the acid will dry out forming a stain even God won’t be able to clean.
Here’s how you should deal with a battery spill with no destructive consequences for your carpet:
- Get the battery outside and away from your carpet. It’s better to place it in a huge zip bag and leave it outside for the acid to evaporate.
- Pour baking soda all over the spill.
- Wait for the baking soda to react with the acid and form a paste.
- Sweep the saturated baking soda with a broom and dustpan.
- If the battery acid created any stains on your carpet, treat it with two tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle of water.
- If not, go ahead and steam clean your carpet.
Baking soda is alkaline or base. Base and acid are like yin and yang. They cancel each other but can’t live without one another.
Pouring baking soda over the battery acid spill will form a chemical reaction.
Don’t be jumped-scared by it!
It’s just baking soda doing its magical work of neutralizing the acid. When the bubbling has stopped, it’s a clear signal that it absorbed all of the liquid acids and became saturated. Takes around an hour to do so.
⚠️ Reaction with acids causes gas vapors that lead to dizziness and headache. So, keep your windows wide open during this whole cleaning process!
Did You Know?
If you use a steam cleaner when cleaning up stains, you’ll effortlessly get rid of any microscopic amounts of trapped acid into the carpets’ fabric that baking soda couldn’t absorb!
Things You Should Know About Battery Acid Before Cleaning It
Every day lead-acid batteries contain nasty stuff, stuff that metal dipped into it melts like butter.
It’s sulfuric acid! H2SO4!
But, hold on. It’s not the end of the world nor of your carpet.
The bright side of sulfuric acid in car batteries is that’s diluted with distilled water in a big percentage. So, the spilled battery acid won’t burn your carpet or skin.
Pure sulfuric acid would, but the diluted one in car batteries, won’t.
⚠️ Diluted sulfuric acid from car batteries will cause overpowering skin irritation. Almost like your skin is on fire! And don’t get me started on what happens if you touch your face or eyes with those “burning” hands.
It’s always best to wear protective gloves and glasses when dealing with battery spills of any kind.
Never, ever, treat a car battery acid stain with vinegar!
Vinegar is acidic by default. Pouring acid over acid will only produce a more acidic environment and more destruction to your carpet.
Scratch any article that suggested otherwise. Most people think if baking-soda-vinegar mix cleans everything, it could clean car battery acid stains too.
Only baking soda or any powdered-based formula cleans car battery acid stains from your carpet.
How to Clean Alkaline Battery Leakage from Carpet
Cleaning alkaline battery spills and stains from carpet is on a whole different level.
The enormous difference between alkaline battery stains and acid ones is in the nature of chemical electrolytes. Alkaline stains don’t contain water, so you’re dealing with pure dry stains on your carpet.
Regular AA alkaline batteries use potassium hydroxide to power up all your thingies around the house. When potassium hydroxide leaks out, it forms potassium carbonate (whiteish, salty alkaline that you could see on your carpet and devices).
These are the steps for cleaning alkaline battery stains from the carpet:
- Mix a couple of ounces of white vinegar with water in a spray bottle.
- Spray your mix all over the stained area.
- Wait for a couple of minutes for the chemical reaction to happen and become saturated.
- Sweep the area with a clean soaked rag.
- Steam clean at the end for the perfect cleaning result.
For better results, you can use lemon or lime juice besides vinegar for an extremer effect.
Lime contains a lot more citric acid than lemon, so when mixing it with vinegar you’re amplifying its cleaning ability.
You can also mix an ounce of hydrogen peroxide with lime juice if vinegar is not your preferred choice. Not everyone likes the smell of evaporating vinegar on the carpet.
Did you also know you could clean alkaline battery stains with Coke or Pepsi?
Both contain phosphoric acid! It gives the drink its harp flavor. You can also use that acid to clean alkaline battery stains from the carpet.
Pepsi does a better job at it than Coke since it contains phosphoric and citric acid.
But, there is a downside to this cleaning solution. Cleaning the alkaline battery stains with Pepsi leaves your carpet sticky. If it dries out, you’re left with a whole new, different mess to clean. 😱
How to Clean Dry Car Battery Acid Stains from Carpet
Dry battery acid stains are the hardest to clean!
The longer you wait to clean that spill, the more detrimental effect it’ll have on your carpet.
But what happens if you didn’t spot a battery spill until it dried out and formed an acidic stain?
Don’t worry these steps will show you how to take care of it:
- Spray the acid area with water. It doesn’t need to be soaked wet.
- Pour the baking soda all over the spill.
- Wait for the baking soda to neutralize the acid
- Sweep the saturated baking soda with a broom.
- Steam clean the area where the spill was.
By spraying water all over the dried car battery acid, you’re dissolving the acid. It is easier for baking soda to react with a liquid, dissolved acid, than with a dry one.
How to Spot Dried Car Battery Acid Stains on Carpet
When car battery acid dries out, it leaves an outline of whiteish-grayish salt. If the acid spill is so strong ( it isn’t diluted with distilled water that much), it leaves a discoloration on your carpet.
But don’t worry!
That’s a severe case that’s pretty rare. However, if it happens, try doing the steps mentioned above.
If discolorization on your carpet has occurred, don’t drop in the towel and call in the demolition crew.
Rather, pull out the big guns – professional carpet cleaners! They have advanced carpet cleaners and color regenerators you won’t find in a local market.
How to Clean Battery Acid Stains Out of Car Carpet
Cleaning battery acid stains out of car carpet is done the same way as with the regular carpet – pour baking soda everywhere.
(There is so much baking soda in this article, one might think humanity wouldn’t exist if we didn’t invent it.)
But cleaning battery acid out of car carpet comes with a catch—if you’re not careful and don’t act fast, the acid could go through the carpet’s fabric and damage your car’s flooring.
⚠️ If sulfuric acid touches the metal of your car’s floor, it corrodes it in a blank of an eye! There is nothing worse than having a stealthy rust development under your car carpet without you even knowing.
Then, all of a sudden, there is a sheet metal hole in your car that’s extra pricey to repair.
So, you get the sense of urgency here, right?
Can You Repeat One More Time?
Here are the main points to keep in the back of your mind when cleaning battery acid stains out of any carpet:
- Car battery acid spills are best neutralized with baking soda.
- Don’t try to clean them with vinegar because acid on acid only makes more acid.
- When cleaning battery acid stains, always keep your windows wide open. Chemical reaction with baking soda causes nasty vapors that lead to dizziness.
- Cleaning alkaline battery stains is done by mixing vinegar and water. Or by pouring Pepsi over it. In the end, who doesn’t like caramel and phosphoric acid?
- Getting rid of battery acid out of car carpet is done quickly and ASAP. You don’t want to end up driving your car like the Flintstones, right?
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you remove battery acid from the fabric?
Dealing with battery acid on fabric is similar to the carpet scenario. Only that cotton is really sensitive to such strong, chemical compounds.
Treating the battery acid stains with ammonia helps the stain transfer from your T-shirt to the rubbing cloth. Then you can wash your clothes with a mix of diluted laundry detergent and water.
What household items neutralize battery acid?
For car battery acid stains, go for baking soda. For alkaline battery acid stains, go for vinegar (vinegar-mixed-with-lime-juice) or Pepsi.
Note that there is a big difference between the car battery acid stain and the alkaline one. The former needs base to get neutralized, and the latter needs acid.