I don’t know about you, but I go through batteries very quickly. The things I often use them for has changed, from my Gameboy and MP3 player to Xbox controllers and my digital camera, but the consumption rate has largely remained the same.
However, while we may be used to changing batteries in our everyday-use electronics, it’s easy to forget that the things we don’t use as often need battery changes every once in awhile as well. It’s especially important for the equipment you have on standby in case of a disaster, because the last thing you want is to find your equipment not working when you need it most.
See that nasty, fuzzy, powdery-looking stuff? That’s battery corrosion; the result of battery acid leakage that builds over time. It can cause damage to your equipment if not cleaned and can even render it non-functional.
Heat can accelerate this process, so storing your equipment in a cool area is a good idea. There’s no real timeline to point to as to when corrosion happens, it can depend on the type of battery and other factors, so changing out batteries regularly is your best bet to prevent it from happening. You may want to make it into a once-a-year or every other year routine for the best results.
Changing out batteries before this happens is ideal, but if you’ve noticed corrosion starting, you’ll want to get it cleaned as soon as possible. Make sure not to touch the corroded areas as they are acidic, and use a tissue, cloth, or gloves to remove the batteries. If you do touch it, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.
To clean the corrosion, mix a little water and baking soda, apply to a q-tip and rub the affected areas until all signs of corrosion are gone. Baking soda is a base, so it will neutralize the acid and prevent further damage. Make sure to completely dry your equipment before putting fresh batteries back in.