I have a handheld video game that takes 4 alkaline size C batteries,
and I had left it in a corner 5 years ago and forgotten about it. I
finally looked at it today and there must have been a battery leak,
because there is a substance that looks like a white powder all around
the battery compartment. The game had been placed in a plastic bag,
and part of the bag around the battery compartment was dissolved. In
addition, the game was inside the plastic bag, which was inside a
paper bag. I noticed a large dried liquid stain inside the paper bag.
So what is the white powder-like substance? Is it toxic? How should
I attempt to clean the game?
Also, what was the liquid that leaked out? If it stained the paper
bag, then it probably got onto the carpet too. Should I try to clean
the area of the carpet that the paper bag was sitting on, or should I
not worry about that?
I take everything apart and clean all the pieces with vinegar and then
rinse with water. You may have to do some un-soldering of the wires to
the contacts. Then I use a blow dryer to dry everything. Just make sure
you don't make the parts warmer than you can touch with your hands.
After all the parts feel dry, let them sit for 24 hours to air dry
completely. Now put everything back together, and re-solder the wires
back to the contacts as necessary.
If you cannot take everything apart, you can try to clean the battery
contacts in their positions. This will be more difficult to do a proper
On Sun, 22 Jun 2008 19:50:59 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
I am not a scientist, but I'm still healthy after 55 years of messing
with this sort of thing.
Don't inhale it, but otherwise just tap on the device until most of
the powder falls off into a bag. I don't think it's light enough to
float around, but if you're worried, do this outside.
Alkaline batteries seem to leak far less often than "flashlight"
batterie, carbon zinc, but I just had one or two out of two AA
batteries in a remote control leak. I put in two new batteries and
the thing works fine. You may be lucky too. So don't go crazy with
cleaning until you check if things work.
Still, I wonder if corrosion might continue even after the batteries
and powder is out, so wiping with vinegar** might be a good idea even
then. AFter all your device costs a lot more than my remoote control.
**Vinegar is fairly weak acetic acid and it neutralizes the alkaline
in the batteries. Then it can be wiped off with a water-only wet
rag, or rinsed better if the thing is apart. Although I don't think
vinegar is strong enough to damage things, even if it's not rinsed
Unless your dog or baby licks that part of the carpet, I'd use my
fingers to see if it's wet there, try blotting it up with paper towels
if it is, and wouldn't worry about it otherwise.
If someone does lick that part of the carpet, I'd rinse with soap and
water (which I guess will make most of the stuff fall to the bottom of
the nap, or use carpet shampoo.)
People may yell at me, but most of the toxic things in the world are
toxic to people who work with them every day for years. After a few of
them die, it seems wise for everyone to avoid the stuff, so don't lick
it and don't inhale that powder.
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