How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar

Corroded battery terminals can cause havoc to your vehicle’s functionality. Find out how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar to solve this issue!

Car battery terminals play an important role by connecting the charger and other electrical components of a vehicle to the battery. Corrosion, dirt, and other residues get deposited on the terminal clamps, which eventually impacts the battery’s performance. That’s why it’s vital to inspect your car battery and its components regularly.

Symptoms of Bad or Failing Battery TerminalsHow to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar1

By noticing the below symptoms in your car functionality, you can easily identify bad or failing battery terminal ends that need cleaning.

  • If you’re facing difficulty in starting the car, it can possibly be due to corrosion in the battery terminals.
  • Bad or failing battery terminal clamps causes a decrease in electrical power. For instance, your vehicle’s headlamp fades or flickers, the audio system stops working, or any other electric-driven component fails.

Why Cleaning of Car Battery Terminals is Important?

Every functionality of your car somehow depends on the battery and its terminals. Over time, the battery terminals develop rust, dirt, and other coatings, which hinder the electrical flow between the battery and the car. Eventually, your vehicle faces different issues from not being started to various component failures. To prevent such problems, frequent cleaning of battery terminals is necessary.

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar?How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar2

Just like your car needs routine care, its battery requires special attention too. Over time, battery terminals get corroded and build up residue, which makes the battery performance poor. That’s why it’s essential to clean them regularly. This not only extends the battery’s overall lifespan but prevents other issues as well.


  • Two Tbsps of Baking Soda
  • A Cup of Vinegar
  • Clean Rags
  • Vaseline
  • Wire Brush
  • Basic Tool Kit


  1. Turn off the car and remove the negative and positive battery terminal cables.
  2. At the same time, separate the battery from your car, and keep it aside.
  3. Now, cover the terminals with a coating of baking soda.
  4. Then, add vinegar into a spray bottle, and spritz it on the terminal clamps.
  5. Leave it for 1-2 minutes to allow the fizzing action to take place.
  6. After that, scrub them with a wire brush until they become completely clean.
  7. Once you’re done, wash, dry, and lubricate the terminals with vaseline.
  8. Scrub the battery posts with sandpaper to get rid of any buildup.
  9. Re-install the battery in the car and re-attach both the cables.

Note: If you still face issues while starting your car, inspect the terminal clamps and its connecting cable for any damage. Buy and install new parts if necessary.

Why Vinegar is Effective?

Vinegar is acidic, which makes it an excellent cleanser. It easily removes gunks, tough residuals, and corrosion from the battery terminals. For a more potent solution, you can mix vinegar with baking soda. This induces a chemical reaction (fizzing action)  that eliminates all kinds of stubborn buildups.

Other Ways to Clean Car Battery TerminalsHow to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar3

If the above hack didn’t work out for you, below are two more ways to clean a car battery terminal.

  • Baking Soda & Hot Water – Combine 1 tbsp of baking soda with 1/4 cup of hot water into a bowl. After removing the cables from the battery, apply the paste on the terminals. Scrub them with a wire brush & wipe with a wet rag. After that, dry and lubricate the clamp and re-attach the cables.
  • Try WD-40 – Disconnect the terminal clamps from the battery & spray a generous amount of WD-40 on the clamps and battery posts. Keep it for a few minutes, and scrub with a wire brush. Once it’s done, clean with a cloth, lubricate, and reconnect the cables afterward.


Before trying any of the above remedies, it’s vital to keep in mind the below precautions to avoid any complications.

  • Always wear safety gear such as good quality rubber gloves and eye protection.
  • If the battery is bloated or leaking, then replace it with a new one.
  • While removing the positive and negative cables, make sure they don’t come in contact with each other.
  • Don’t forget to separate the battery from the car while trying the above methods.
  • For safety reasons, we highly recommend you call a service professional for help.

Final Thoughts

Proper maintenance and care of car battery terminals are necessary to avoid issues in the long run. For any suggestions and queries, please comment below; we would love to hear from you.

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