Are you having troubles cleaning your battery terminals? It’s indeed pretty hard if they are corroded and have not been cleaned for ages. This step-by-step guide will help you to clean the battery terminals on a car just like that so your vehicle will be greater in its performance.

Your auto battery’s is aimed to allow your engine to start every time you turn the car key. That’s why it must operate as intended every time you start your vehicle and you expect a flawless ride.

Why should you keep a finger on the pulse and clean battery terminals regularly?

The answer is as simple as ABC: battery grime can cause sudden leak and simply shorten life of your battery.

That’s why keeping battery terminals on your vehicle clean will guarantee your battery live longer and you won’t run out of budget purchasing maintenance for your car.

battery terminals on a car

Step 1: Access battery terminals

Note that you have no need to remove the battery itself to assess battery terminals as well as you don’t need to remove it in case of cleaning. How to access battery terminals? To simplify the process, gently open the car hood and locate the battery. Gently and attentively check your auto’s battery condition and if you see any cracks or serious damages, you should replace the entire battery. Yes, it’s sometimes can be expensive, but if you want your automobile to deliver excellent performance, properly working battery is a must.

If the battery looks fine and there are not any defects appeared, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Check-Up

In order to cope with corrosion, first you also need to assess it. All you need to do is to lift up the rubber cover on the top of car battery.

Note! Sometimes that cover could be fully made of plastic, that’s why you should do the lift up to the sides slowly. Once you revealed the terminal interface, do the check up for all clamps and cables of the battery.

Usually there are two problems battery terminals face:

  • they have corrosion or
  • they are simply worn out.

If you experience the latter, we strongly recommend to purchase all needed replacement parts in order to avoid future problems. In case you are sure all clamps and cables of your car battery look pretty nice and require just a regular prophylaxis, let’s clean them.

Step 3: How-To: Disconnecting Car Battery

Caution! Before starting any cleaning, you must disconnect your car battery!

To disconnect your car battery, loosen the nuts on the clamps by means of a wrench. After that, slowly remove the clamp with “-“  and then remove the “+” one.

Note! It’s very important to follow the above mentioned order and do the negative before the positive clamp.

Tool tip. Too much corrosion can make clamps are difficult to remove, that’s why you will need an additional tool — pliers. Be careful never touch with pliers/ any other metal tool the car frame and the car battery whole working since it will short out your battery.

Step 4:  Making the potion

There are many “receipts” to make a cleaning agent, but this one is the most popular and proven.


  • baking soda
  • water

Combine 2-3 tablespoons of water with 2-3 tablespoons of soda. You will need to get a super-cleaning paste as a result.

Step 5: Bye-bye, corrosion!

Now it’s time to apply the paste and get to the cleaning.

Caution! Even though baking soda is generally safe, it is better to avoid getting in on other car parts or on your skin. That’s why it’s recommended to wear gloves while cleaning your car terminals.

Apply 1 teaspoon of baking soda paste to the battery terminals. Once you are done, you will see bubbles — it’s soda’s reaction to corrosion. In other words, the process of cleaning has just begun.

Tool tip: The best way to apply the paste is rubbing it on with an old toothbrush. By the way, an old toothbrush also is a great tool to clean your sneakers. Mark an old toothbrush with nail polisher or any other sign now to mess it with your actual toothbrush!

Step 6: Cleaning after cleaning

Now you need to scrape off the deposits. Do your battery terminals on a car have heavy ones? Then you surely have to scrape them off.

Tool tip. You can take a special knife, but a good old butter knife perfect fits. Once you have removed all major deposits, take a steel wool or a wire brush to get rid of deposits. Even though the auto stores are full of “special tools” which will “turn your car battery into a miracle”, usually it’s a waste of time and money. We recommend to use the latter — wire burh — it is more preferable since it will remove all deposits better and it’s just fine.

Caution. Even though it looks like you’re already finishing the process, don’t take your gloves off since you still may contact with caustic agents.

Step 7: Giving a rinse

Once you have stopped the foaming, we need to rinse our battery terminals. Make sure that there are no deposits left on the connections and let’s proceed further. Now you need a little water, 100 ml is enough. Make sure that you are not rinsing your paste into the battery vents. It’s very important because soda can simply neutralize the battery’s acid and your car battery life will be significantly shortened.

Step 8: Drying it off

Here you’ll need a dry clean rag. Don’t use wipe or regular towels. Just a dry clean rag will be enough.

Step 9: No corrosion for the future

How to prevent corrosion?

 We recommend to add petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or any other material which is hydrophobic. Once you have added this to just-cleaned terminals, congratulations, you have significantly lowered chances for the future corrosion.

Step 10: Taking back the clamps

Now the order is vise-versa: put on the “+” clamp first and then put the negative clamp. Take a wrench to slightly tighten them if required. Hooray! Now just replace shields which cover terminals. Again, gently replace them in case they are made of plastic.

You are done!


  1. Clean Battery Posts = Reliable Starting – ThoughtCo
  2. Tips for Cleaning Car Battery Terminals – doityourself