How to Use Epsom Salts to Recondition Batteries

Batteries are of terrific use in powering many everyday items. From laptops to cars, there is a battery for them all and over time, these batteries experience wear and tear. Instead of discarding them, you can recondition these batteries and put them to good use.
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Epsom salts are typically mixed into heated distilled water. The battery that is to be reconditioned is drained of half the acid and its plates are cleaned with a baking soda solution. After that, the Epsom salt solution is poured into the battery and it is charged overnight following which you must take new readings using a voltmeter.

How Does Epsom Salt Fix Batteries?

Battery reconditioning Epsom salt, specifically magnesium sulfate, don’t make your batteries last forever but they do prolong the life cycle by a few years depending on their type and what you use them for. Basically, what it does is it dissolves the lead sulfate that is built up on the surface of the battery plates. It’s not a magic cure but here’s how it helps.

Epsom Salt Battery Myth: How To Restore A Battery With Epsom Salt?

Yes, it is doable to restore car battery with epsom salt. Get them together with a little distilled water and after a simple surgery on the battery, you will be able to get it up and running at least 80 percent of its original capacity. Epsom salt in battery can help in extending their life. It does this by improving the conductivity of the electrolyte, which in turn helps reduce resistance and improve charging efficiency.

How To Recondition A Car Battery With Epsom Salt?

There isn’t a definitive answer to this question because it depends on several factors, including the type of battery and its state of charge. However, a good starting point is to use 1/2 cup of epsom salt per gallon of water. If you’re not sure how much epsom salt to use in restoring a battery, start with 1/2 cup and then adjust as needed.
Before you get started on reconditioning any kind of battery, it is important to get the safety gear out. You will be dealing with battery acid so you must put on safety goggles and gloves to protect your skin and clothing.
If you use a golf cart quite often, there is a possibility that the battery drains out on a daily basis like it happens with your phone or laptop. You might charge it overnight and get it up and running by morning but because of this constant charging and discharging the battery life gets adversely affected. Get some magnesium sulfate, baking soda and a paintbrush and we’ll show you how to revitalize it.
The batteries on a golf cart are usually under the front seat of the cart. So, lift it and access the batteries. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to help you recondition them.
Step 1: Put on your safety equipment. This is not optional.
Step 2: Remove the batteries and check if there is corrosion on the surface of the batteries.
Step 3: Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of water and stir it well. Get an unused paintbrush and apply this solution to the terminals of the battery to clean them. You might see a little fizz when the baking soda touches the battery acid. That’s normal.
Step 4: Once you have cleaned the remnants of corrosion, remove the brush and wash it under tap water.
Step 5: Check the batteries for defects like cracks and replace them if you find any. It is easy to spot these defects if you notice any leakage.
Step 6: Remove the caps on the cells of the batteries. Sometimes, you might need to use a flat screwdriver to do this. If you do, pull the caps in the upward direction.
Step 7: Heat the distilled water to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add the magnesium sulfate to it slowly till the solution is saturated.
Step 8: Drain half the acid from each battery cell and fill them with the Epsom salt solution.
Step 9: Connect the battery to a three-phase charger. Connect the red wire (positive charge) of the charger to the battery’s positive terminal. Do the same with the black wire and the battery’s negative terminal.Switch on the charger and leave it that way for the night. You can change the settings manually on some chargers. Check that before you leave it on.
Step 10: In the morning, see if the charger indicates that the battery has been fully charged. Then inspect the cells and place the caps back on the cells.
Sidebar: If the charger indicates that the battery is not fully charged, you must tip the battery and drain out half the acid from each cell. Clean the battery once again with the baking soda solution using a paintbrush.
Rinse the battery with water without getting any of it into the cells. Fill the cells with the Epsom salt solution to the brim. Once again, charge the battery through the night.
This might happen if the deposits on the plates were not entirely removed in the first attempt. Check the readings in the morning. If it worked, you must replace the caps of the cells and put the battery back in the cart. If not, it is time to let the battery go.
Some golf carts also use lithium-ion batteries in which case there is a change in the process.
Remove the battery from the vehicle and take a reading with the voltmeter. If a 3.7-volt battery shows 1.5 volts, it is safe to assume that the battery is in sleep mode.
If your battery charger has a boost setting, you are good. Otherwise, you must give it a full charge which usually takes about three hours. But it is governed by the specifics of your battery. Do a voltmeter test after charging it.
Now drain the charge by placing it in a device that takes heavy loads, like a flashlight or a torch. Place the battery in an airtight bag and put it in a freezer for 24 hours. Make sure moisture does not enter the bag. Then take it out and let it thaw till it is back to room temperature.
Now charge the battery to full again and check the readings. If it worked, you will see an improvement in the readings.

Car Batteries

The process of reconditioning car batteries using Epsom salts is pretty much the same as the one mentioned above. But there are a few tiny tweaks. Let’s take a look.
You will need the same magnesium sulfate, baking soda, distilled water and paintbrush. Keep a voltmeter, a battery reconditioning charger and a battery load tester handy to take note of the readings before and after the process.
You might need a flathead screwdriver depending on the type of battery you are reconditioning. A funnel is helpful and sandpaper is optional. Safety goggles, gloves and an apron are non-negotiable.
Now, put on your protective gear and get started.
Remove the battery from the car and bring it to your worktable. Clean the corrosion on the battery terminals with a solution of two parts baking soda for one part of distilled water. Using the paintbrush, clean the corrosion from the terminals. If it does not come off right away, use the sandpaper. This is important because otherwise, your battery won’t accept the charge you will give it later.
Remove the caps of the cells using a screwdriver and secure them. Remove half the electrolyte solution inside the battery into a bucket by tilting the battery to its side. Pour some baking soda into the bucket to neutralize the strength of the acid.
Take some more baking soda solution and pour it into each cell of the battery using a funnel. Close the battery caps and shake it for about a minute. This will ensure that the plates are cleared of lead sulfate. Remove the caps and get rid of the solution.
As about 7-8 ounces of Epsom salt solution with distilled water that is heated to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure it dissolves well and add this solution to the cells of the battery using the funnel. Place the caps back on and connect the battery to a charger. If your battery is 12 V, slow charge it for 12-24 hours.
After that, check the readings with a voltmeter and you should see a reading of 12.4-12.43 volts. If that did not happen, discharge the battery and charge it again.

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.