How Do You Remove Corrosion from a Forklift Battery?

The build-up of corrosion on a forklift battery can cause several issues that can impact the efficient functioning of the battery. It could also reduce the lifespan of the battery. While a certain level of corrosion is inevitable, it is important to get rid of it whenever you notice its presence.

To remove corrosion from a forklift battery, you need to use a cleaning mixture of baking soda and water and apply it to the battery. Letting this mixture rest and then wiping it off the battery can get rid of the corrosive elements. You can also reduce the extent of corrosion by cleaning your battery regularly.

When it comes to this kind of corrosion removal, there are certain things to keep in mind while cleaning. If you want to find out about the detailed steps and precautions you can take while carrying out this process, you can read the sections below.

How to Clean Corrosion Off Forklift Battery

There are several steps involved in cleaning corrosion off a forklift battery. Let’s take a look at what these are.

Gather the Tools

You will need to gather the following tools to assist you in the process:

  • Water
  • Brush
  • Baking soda
  • Cloth
  • Wire brush
  • Safety equipment

Make sure you have all of these around you right before you start cleaning.

Wear Safety Equipment

You must make it a point to wear the relevant protective equipment such as masks, gloves and safety glasses so that you can prevent yourself from harmful gases from the battery.

For instance, the sulfuric acid in the forklift battery is usually harmful if you end up smelling or inhaling it, causing issues that include irritation, nausea, breathlessness, skin damage, unconsciousness or, in extreme cases, the development of cancer and death.

For this reason, it is necessary to follow the relevant guidelines and keep yourself safe, particularly since you are in direct contact with the battery in this case.

Remove the Battery

The next step is to remove or detach the battery from its place on the forklift. To do this, you must first turn off the power and then disconnect the wires. You can then place the forklift battery on a clean table or surface that also does not corrode easily.

Once you do this, you should ensure that you tighten the vent lids or caps appropriately so that you can prevent leakages during the cleaning process. This also keeps all the internal parts of the battery safe from the cleaning solution.

Use a Cleaning Mixture

You can make your own cleaning mixture by simply mixing some baking soda in water. You can also use ammonia if you have any instead of baking soda. If you prefer to buy a specific cleaning element for this, you can do so as well.

Once the mixture is ready, use a brush to coat the mixture all over the battery. Make sure that you cover all the small parts and connectors as well while paying particular focus on the parts that have an excessive build-up of corrosion.

If you are using baking soda, you will notice some bubbling wherever you apply the solution.

Let It Rest

Once you have applied sufficient amounts of the mixture, you should let it rest and soak for a while to ensure that it has enough time to loosen and break down all the corrosive elements. This will then make it a lot more convenient for you to thoroughly get rid of the corrosion when you wipe the battery.

Rinse and Wipe

After some time has passed, you can rinse the battery with some hot water. Make sure you do this carefully so that you can cover all the parts of the battery and remove any remaining corrosion. If there are some rough parts, you can use a toothbrush or wire brush to help you out.

Next, use a cloth to wipe the battery down. Ensure that you do not leave any parts wet.

Clean the Terminals

The baking soda might not manage to remove the corrosion from the terminals of the battery. In this case, you can employ a wire brush to scrub off the rust carefully. After this, you can use hot water to clean it up followed by wiping it off with a cloth.

Let It Dry

Once this is done, let the battery rest for some time once again so that it can dry up thoroughly. All the moisture from the cleaning process should be removed while letting it dry so that no issues are caused later on when you reconnect the battery and start using it again.

Reattach the Battery

You can now reattach the battery to the forklift. Make sure you wipe the surrounding areas with a dry cloth as well before placing it back in. Once you do this, you can restart your forklift and make it work with slightly improved efficiency.

How to Reduce Battery Corrosion

It is not entirely possible to prevent battery corrosion completely, but it is definitely possible to reduce its build-up in order to maintain the efficiency of the battery. There are several steps that you can take to do this:

  • Try not to overcharge the battery beyond its capacity. This could heat it up excessively, causing bubbling of the solution in the battery and leakages, leaving some remains on the battery.
  • Similarly, try not to completely discharge the battery either. You should recharge your battery regularly and prevent using it too much once it gets discharged. It is a better idea to recharge when there is still some charge left in it.
  • You should clean the battery regularly to get rid of the dust along with any excess acid around the parts of the battery as it could otherwise corrode the surface.
  • Maintain good temperatures around the battery. The temperature should be sufficiently cool and not too hot. After you charge the battery, you should let it cool down for a few hours. Make sure you keep this in mind even while charging so that you can prevent it from overheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Battery Corrosion Ruin Electronics?

Battery corrosion can ruin electronics if leakages and the corrosive elements make their way to some delicate and volatile parts of the electronic device. In some cases, if the damage is not noticed immediately, it could end up ruining the device beyond repair.

However, if you manage to catch the corrosion early on, you can easily clean it up from the appliance using a mixture of baking soda and water. It is a good idea to keep cleaning your electronics and batteries on a regular basis so that you can keep track of the corrosion in case it builds up.

Does a Corroded Battery Need to Be Replaced?

It is possible to clean up a corroded battery on your own using the method described above. As long as you do this on a regular basis, you can manage to make your battery last for a few years if the corrosion is not too severe.

If the corrosion on the battery is significant and cannot be removed using a cleaning solution (especially if the corrosion is around the terminals), then you might need to replace your battery.

Alongside corrosion, if your battery is also showing signs of slowing down, difficulty starting up, overheating, reduced overall efficiency and more, then it might indicate that your battery is old enough to be replaced.

Does WD-40 Remove Battery Corrosion?

WD-40 is a spray solution that you can use to remove battery corrosion. It can work since it removes excess moisture and humidity from the surface while also helping you get rid of dirt and stains.

In order to remove corrosion from a forklift battery using WD-40, you simply need to spray it onto the corroded parts such as terminals and connectors once you remove all the attached wires from them.

After spraying it, let it rest for a while so that it can soak up and loosen the corrosive elements. You can then rinse it off using hot water and wipe it down using a cloth. Let it dry up before you reconnect the battery and the cables.

About the author, Phil Borges

Phil Borges is a battery aficionado. He's written extensively about batteries, and he loves nothing more than discussing the latest innovations in the industry. He has a deep understanding of how batteries work, and he's always on the lookout for new ways to improve their performance.