Using Coca Cola to remove corrosion

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Gdrumm, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Gdrumm

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Aug 29, 2008
    Why does Coca Cola poured over battery posts reduce corrosion, and are there other household products that will do the same thing?

    A toothbrush or wire brush often leaves some hidden areas untreated.

    Also, after posts or terminals are cleaned, is there something they can be treated with that will inhibit future build up of corrosion?

    I'm presently using a petroleum jelly based substance, brushed on with a small brush.

  2. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    Coca-Cola contains a small amount of phosphoric acid (I believe) which tends to eat away at rust.

    I use baking soda in water to neutralize battery acid.

    Pool acid aka "muriatic acid", a dilute hydrochloric acid, can be quite helpful in removing corrosion, but don't breathe it or spill it on you. I've used it to remove corrosion from connectors and switch contacts. 30 seconds immersion usually does it, and then a thorough rinsing in fresh water to dilute it. Don't dip stranded insulated wire in it, as the capillary action will "wick" the acid in up under the insulation, and eat the wiring right through.

    Don't use it on parts that you cannot immerse completely in water afterwards.

    Petroleum jelly works OK to help prevent corrosion. I've also used white lithium grease.
    Corrosion-X is a great product that's used on aircraft, but it's rather pricey.
  3. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    The dissolved CO2 in Coca-Cola forms carbonic acid.

    It may be possible to achieve similar results with other weak acids. Always exercise EXTREME caution when working with concentrated acids and always dilute by adding concentrated acid to a volume of water. Adding a small amount of water to a concentrated acid can have fatal consequences. WEAR FACE AND EYE PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES.

    Using any kind of stuff that interferes with the metal-metal contact between the post and the cable sounds like a bad idea. If you want to put it on top of the post after the cable has been clamped on, I see no real problem there.
  4. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    I've never heard of anyone pouring Coca-Cola over battery terminals. I can virtually guarantee that no professional mechanic uses it on a regular basis... :p

    Battery terminals are pretty easy to take care of -- the trick is simply to do the work on a reasonably regular basis. Like SgtWookie, I use baking soda to neutralize the acid all over the top of the battery. I sprinkle it on and wet it a bit with water. I'll mush it around with a brush or rag (wear gloves and safety glasses). Make sure NOT to get it in the cells, so keep the caps on if your battery has them. Scrub the terminals and up the cables a bit too. On cars that haven't been cared for very well, you may find significant acid up under the cable's insulation.

    Get everything cleaned and well-neutralized. Then, if you have a battery terminal cleaning tool, use it. For the clamp-type lead terminals, I like the kind that reams with cutting blades rather than uses wire brushes. I don't like steel nuts and bolts on batteries, so I'll often machine new ones out of brass. Then reassemble things. I had a little can of Permatex spray battery terminal protectant for a number of years and it worked quite well. If you don't have that, cover things with Vaseline and that's better than nothing.

    Oh, and always check the fluid level in your batteries at this time and add (distilled) water if they need it. Definitely do it before summer and at least once in the middle of summer.

    Do this battery cleaning every year or two (at least inspect things once a year) and you'll never have bad contact problems. I confident of my advice because I, uh, learned the hard way... :p
  5. naizmenic

    New Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Using Coca Cola to remove corrosion ... easy ... but what do you think about using corrosion to make Coca Cola? :)
  6. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    I have heard using rum and coke can remove sobriety. ;)

    Actually, Mythbusters did a show on 'cola'.

    They used it to remove rust, blood, and on clothes.

    Polish chrome I believe, and a few other things.. Eat a nail, tenderize steak (Which works great)

    Neat stuff the Coca-cola people have there.
  7. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
  8. pfofit


    Nov 29, 2006
    Coke is the best at cleaning smushed bugs from a windshield and wiper blades.

    Wet a rag and slowly rub the winshield so as to keep it wet for a while to allow the stuff to eat away at the slime. Then rinse.

    Squeaky clean
  9. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007

    I'm not completely unfamiliar with "bug juice", they served it with "sliders" on the Forrestal after we'd been out at sea for more than a few days and the milk was done.

    I've thought for a long time that "bug juice" was basically flavored gelatin, like "Jell-o", except it wasn't cooked and then chilled. I was not a fan of bug juice.

    An engineer at Hughes Aircraft Co. came up with an idea for an environmentally friendly solder flux. Basically, it was highly concentrated and purified lemon juice. You could drink the stuff, or use it to solder with. You could pour the stuff down any drain and not cause a crisis. It worked better than rosin flux for soldering, and the clean-up was a lot easier.

    He was awarded a patent for that, I believe. The patent might be expiring about now.
  10. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    I remember back in the day, old timers would glue copper pennies near the battery posts to ward off corrosion.

    poor Abe...
  11. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    The Love bugs on the Forida turnpike are no longer there,
    the two hurricanes we had in 2007 blew them away,the larve
    and all.
  12. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    We had the big packets (orange flavor was best) what were for a 5 gal mix. The usual mix as two packets in 1 gal of water for cleaning. It's good for cleaning up brass shells too.

    We also used it as a mixer for the moonshine to make "Oki MOJO". My old "Cruise Ship"

    1 can coke, 1 quart "bug juice", 1 glass shine.