How To Fix Toys (or anything) That Have Battery Corrosion

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I am starting a new Friday tradition… Fix it Friday. I can just hear ya’all cheering. The toilet paper holder I blogged about a while ago has me on a rampage of fixing stuff, I hope some of this comes in handy for you.  If not, I’ll stop. Girl Scouts honor (mmmm, now I want a cookie)

I think we’ve all pulled out an old toy or something else battery-operated only to find that the battery has leaked or corroded and the darn thing won’t work anymore. Well, wipe those tears girls, it might be an easy fix! Try these three steps before you give it away. But before you start anything, turn off the toy/item. Electrocution is so not cool. Also, rubber gloves and eye protection is recommended. This toy was not too bad, but still, not working:

how to clean battery corrosion

1. Clean the area with vinegar and an old toothbrush. Just give it a good scrubbing. This cleans it and neutralizes alkaline so it won’t cause further damage. Wipe away any debris with a paper towel

how to clean battery corrosion vinegar and a toothbrush

Allow the item to dry completely (hours if needed). And if it still won’t work…

2. File down the springs with a nail file and then rinse the area with vinegar on a to clean battery corrosion nail file

Allow the item to dry completely. And if it still won’t work…

3. Fold some tin foil and put it between the springs and the battery to make sure the connection is tight

how to clean battery corrosion tin foil

And if it still won’t work…

I can’t help you. But you could always take it apart and see all the cool parts inside or run over it in your car to teach your kids not to play behind cars… the possibilities are endless really. Martha Stewart said all bloggers are not experts after all. (hope I never gave you the impression that I might be!) This toy started after step 1. Old toothbrush + vinegar = happy baby

how to clean battery corrosion happy baby

41 Comments on How To Fix Toys (or anything) That Have Battery Corrosion

  1. Paula
    2015/03/14 at 7:32 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, you’re a legend! I thought that my first son’s mobile was gone forever as I forgot to take the alkaline batteries off and they leaked causing the toy not to work. I need the mobile for my newborn second son. I panicked, until I came across your blog, I followed your steps and its fixed. Thank you so much again!

    • Sarah
      2015/09/08 at 10:09 am (1 year ago)

      Nothing like saving a toy to make you a hero. I love it. Thank you!

  2. Mandi
    2015/04/03 at 8:53 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you! How funny that this article pulled up for me and it just happened to be the same toy I was trying to fix. Step 1 worked! Happy baby.

    • Matt
      2016/09/02 at 6:45 pm (6 months ago)

      So weird!! Me too!!

  3. jaylisa
    2015/05/01 at 3:59 pm (2 years ago)

    You literally just saved my life.bought two toys at a garage sale, one for my autistic five year old son, one for my five month baby girl. My son’s toy played for ten minutes than stopped, my daughter didn’t not start at all. My son lost it, my baby didn’t care, the hanging toys were enough fit her.looked up something to do about it, step one had my son perfectly happy and now my daughter is more in love than before.Thank you thank you thank you!!! Now I have a weekend of getting stuff done to look forward to….now if only I can find something to occupy my one year old girl…. :-)

    • Sarah
      2015/09/08 at 10:08 am (1 year ago)

      Yeah! So glad!

  4. hannah
    2015/08/01 at 6:35 am (2 years ago)

    Fixed my baby’s night scout teddy. Thank you so much

    • Sarah
      2015/09/17 at 10:58 pm (1 year ago)

      Ohhh… night scout teddy sounds serious. Hallelujah it is working again! Thanks for reading :)

  5. Teresa
    2015/09/13 at 6:11 pm (1 year ago)

    THANK YOU!! My child’s Leapfrog Tag Junior is now fixed!

    • Sarah
      2015/09/17 at 10:55 pm (1 year ago)

      Yeah! We’re big fans of leapfrog tag around here. So glad it works!

  6. Robyn
    2015/09/24 at 7:59 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My 4 year old’s Leapfrog My Pal Scout hadn’t been working for a while and I finally got around to changing the batteries and found them corroded. After only step 1, it worked! I have a happy little boy. He always listened to the nighttime music for naps and bed and is super excited to have it again. ☺️

  7. lindsay
    2015/12/12 at 4:50 pm (1 year ago)

    this is the same toy I’m trying to fix!!! Hope it works!

    • Sarah
      2016/02/01 at 11:25 am (1 year ago)

      Did it work?

  8. Danielle
    2016/02/15 at 6:20 pm (1 year ago)

    Too funny.. I also found your blog via a search to fix this same toy! Hopefully this works. Thanks!

  9. Jenne
    2016/04/08 at 9:13 am (11 months ago)

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this! We got a toy from a garage sale and it stopped working about 5 seconds after we got it home – corroded batteries!! My little guy was so sad, but the first step did the trick! Amazing!!❤️

  10. Necolle
    2016/04/10 at 6:11 am (11 months ago)

    I love that you took the time to explain how to fix toys. We live in such a throw away world. It’s nice to know there are others out there who would rather spend the time to fix something broke than toss it.

    • Sarah
      2016/04/12 at 1:28 pm (11 months ago)

      Thanks Necolle, Thanks for your comment, I totally agree! I wish we salvaged more than we do.

  11. Lorenna
    2016/06/03 at 10:44 pm (9 months ago)

    Thank you soo much!!
    I tried all steps and nothing
    Until i tried the tin foil and it worked like new.
    So glade i found this artical!! Otherwise i was going to throw out a very expensive remote car.

  12. Lawanda Johnson
    2016/07/20 at 7:15 am (7 months ago)

    SCREAMING a BIG THANK YOU to a Great Science Teacher!!!
    I used tips 1 & 3, and all 3 Elmos (Tickle Me, Hokey Pokey, & Dance & Shout) that had been in storage for years and not working are NOW working!!! The kids and I are so excited!!! Thanks again! Blessings!

  13. Suzanne
    2016/07/21 at 8:20 am (7 months ago)

    Wow this really works thanks saved me £40 for a new vetch bike.

  14. Nicole
    2016/08/01 at 4:56 pm (7 months ago)

    I don’t know How old this blog is, but this was the best advice, ever!!! Worked for an old voice activated Transformer, making my 5yr old very happy!! Thank you!

    • Sarah
      2016/08/01 at 8:22 pm (7 months ago)

      so happy! Nothing beats transformers for 5 year olds :)

  15. Phil
    2016/08/28 at 3:05 pm (6 months ago)

    Thought my battery operated weather radio was finished due to corroded batteries, but performing steps 1 & 3 fixed it right up. Thanks so much!!

    • Sarah
      2016/08/28 at 9:11 pm (6 months ago)

      You’re so welcome! Yeah!!!

  16. Roxanne
    2016/09/23 at 12:37 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you soooo much! I just bought a Baby Einstein activity saucer from a woman off Craigslist and I asked her specifically if the sounds and lights worked and she told me “yes”! Such a big lie, I was ready to hunt her down after I came home and put new batteries in, of course there was corrosion! I thought I was put of luck till I found this!! I feel like I can fix anything now, lol! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    • Sarah
      2016/09/23 at 1:19 pm (5 months ago)

      Glad it worked, I know which saucer you’re referring to and it is baby heaven. Many, many happy hours ahead! Thanks for reading.

  17. Jane S
    2016/09/23 at 9:52 pm (5 months ago)

    I don’t understand where to put the foil when checking the connection. Do I put it in between the rings of coil or exactly how or exactly do I place it? I just can’t picture what I’m I’m supposed to do.

    I’m sorry I’m so dense!

    • Sarah
      2016/09/27 at 1:09 pm (5 months ago)

      The picture may not be very clear. Place the foil between the battery and the coil. If the coil is loose fold the foil several times. Hope it works!

  18. Katy
    2016/10/16 at 8:31 am (4 months ago)

    I just used this on a Lionel train we bought off craigslist and it worked!! The kicker was the aluminum foil. Thanks a ton!

  19. Danny
    2016/12/09 at 11:01 am (3 months ago)

    Another winner here, Sarah, after using your approach on a Lego train battery holder. Thanks so much.

  20. Carol
    2016/12/10 at 10:54 am (2 months ago)

    Thank you so much. It really works!

  21. Laura
    2016/12/13 at 1:55 am (2 months ago)

    Thanks Fixed my daughter’s Frozen sing along toy.

  22. David
    2016/12/25 at 4:03 am (2 months ago)

    We have a singing and dancing Christmas tree soft toy. It’s been a traditional thing to get it out and press play every year for a good few years now. Sadly this year it decided to die. That is until I found this. Now it dances once again.

    • Sarah
      2016/12/25 at 8:55 pm (2 months ago)

      Merry Christmas! This comment makes me so happy, thanks for commenting.

  23. Yaya
    2017/01/05 at 11:58 am (2 months ago)

    OK so I never ever leave comments but omg.. my daughter got this pretty expensive gift that she was obsessed with and stopped working I went to YouTube and kept looking up ways to fix her toy I am currently out of vinegar and we r snowed in so I just did the tin foil like u said and it instantly started working I am more happy than my daughter is lol..THANK YOU so much

  24. Kelsey
    2017/01/21 at 2:36 pm (1 month ago)

    Would you fix a battery spring that fell off with a steel wire that you use for hanging pictures? I have a bad feeling about it, but my spring broke off and I don’t have any copper springs laying around . I tried to use a spring from a pen, but it didn’t work.

    • Sarah
      2017/01/30 at 4:12 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Hi Kelsey, So I double checked with an electrician on this one and the spring is attached to an electrical wire inside the battery compartment. Which means that the connection would need to be pretty tight to make item work. A spring from a pen probably wouldn’t work. He suggested trying a metal plate that would fit in nice and sung and cross your fingers. Is it an item worth trying to try a few things?

  25. Donna
    2017/01/28 at 3:41 pm (4 weeks ago)

    Bought a cute North Pole Countdown Ornament at Goodwill. Was so disappointed when it didn’t work. Understood why when I saw the corroded batteries. Followed your first step to the letter. Works beautifully!! Thank you so so much.

  26. Maddy
    2017/02/01 at 11:53 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Can’t believe this actually worked!! Thanks for the great advice :)

  27. Christina
    2017/02/13 at 11:11 am (1 week ago)

    Is there a way to replace the spring if it falls apart? I was using this method to clean up a baby swing I accidently stored with the batteries in it. The spring disintegrated with the vinegar touched it.

    • Sarah
      2017/02/15 at 8:26 am (1 week ago)

      Hi Christina, huge bummer about the spring… I asked an electrician/fix-it dude about this a couple weeks ago and the spring is attached to an electrical wire inside the battery compartment. Which means that without a spring the connection would need to be pretty tight to make item work. He suggested trying a small, solid metal plate that would fit tightly between the battery and the battery wall, if you try it, please tell me if it works!


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