Safety Measures for Handling and Disposing of Battery Acid

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If you’re doing your own automotive work, eventually you will wind up having to handle a battery issue. That means you will probably wind up having to handle battery acid as part of the necessary maintenance for your car, so it’s important to understand how you can do so safely at home.

The Chemistry of Battery Acid and Its Role in Power Generation

The electrolyte in standard lead-acid car batteries is sulfuric acid diluted to the proper potency with distilled water to a pH balance of 0.8, making it an incredibly strong acid. That is why you need to handle it with extreme care. Battery acid mediates the chemical reaction that makes a battery capable of storing energy.

During the charging process, it facilitates the chemical reaction that stores energy, and during the discharging process, it also mediates the conversion back. If the batter acid dries out or leaks out, the battery can not function. 

Handling and Safety Tips for Battery Acid

Full-body PPE is recommended for any situation where you are handling battery acid or other similarly potent acids.

  • Long rubber gloves that cover the wrist and part of the forearms
  • Protective aprons and possibly protective sleeves over your regular shirt
  • Safety glasses
  • Full facial shielding over the safety glasses

Adding water to maintain the right fluid levels in the battery is a fairly common operation, especially for older batteries. Make sure you use only distilled water when doing this. Distilled water is pure, whereas tap water can carry minerals and other compounds that battery acid might react with, producing an unpredictable mixture of byproduct compounds.

Leaving any part of your skin exposed when handling sulphuric acid at the potency required for batteries can be a considerable risk. If you do wind up with battery acid on your skin, the key to minimizing damage is a quick response.

  • Flush the exposed area with cold water for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry from the area so it can not react with the acid or retain it
  • Consult a medical professional if you still feel burning after 30 minutes

Wash all clothing and PPE used while handling battery acid on its own immediately after the job is done, and remember to check out stores that sell auto batteries near me online before you start, so you know where to take battery cores you need to dispose of safely.

Battery Acid

Unlike engine oil and many other toxic chemicals used in automotive design and construction, there is no safe disposal site for battery acid. If you have battery acid you need to dispose of, the safe method for doing that is to neutralize it with a compound that leaves you with water you can safely flush down a drain. Baking soda is a common and inexpensive choice that can fully neutralize battery acid, but you need to use enough of it to have leftover baking soda after the acid fully reacts to be sure you have fully neutralized it.

If you are in the market for a new battery, the same store you trust for free VIN lookup when you are troubleshooting your check engine light will be able to help you. Start browsing for replacement batteries today.

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Amara Elvita
Amara Elvita
Amara Elvita is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her boundless imagination and passion for storytelling make her a gifted writer.