- You can skip these steps by checking the battery terminals on used toys before you buy them.
- Make sure you bring a small screwdriver with you to check baby and toddler toys.
If you buy used toys or inherit hand-me-downs from friends or family members, then coming across a toy with battery terminal corrosion is inevitable. Battery corrosion usually occurs when a battery is left in a toy too long. However, most of these toys are still salvageable.
Hopefully the toy that you have acquired has already had the battery removed. If not, you should wear rubber gloves and protective eye wear while removing the battery. If the leak was recent, there may be some alkaline fluid present; you can wipe this away with a paper towel.
Whether the leak is new or old, the process for cleaning it is basically the same. You will want use an old toothbrush and a bit of vinegar to scrub the area and neutralize the alkaline to prevent it from causing further damage. Use a paper towel to dry the area and remove any build up, then set the toy aside for several hours.
If you were unable to remove enough corrosion from the terminals, the toy still may not work. You can try using a fingernail file to remove some of the rust from the terminal, then swab the terminals with a q-tip dipped in vinegar. Again, you should set the toy aside until it is completely dry.
Occasionally, the corrosion is bad enough for the spring in the battery terminals to rust through and break. If this is the case, go ahead and use the above steps to clean the toy; it may still be salvageable. After you are done cleaning the terminals and the toy is dry, you can use a piece of aluminum foil as a wedge between the broken spring and the battery. You may have to fold the foil several times to make it fit tight.
Tonda in NC on August 08, 2015:
Thanks so much! It brought my grandkids activity mat back to life! It now sings and plays music!!
I almost tossed it! Glad I found your post! Many thanks!!!!
Alayne Fenasci from Louisiana on September 12, 2014:
Thank you! You just fixed my thermostat. In south Louisiana, 90 degrees indoors with out of control humidity feels like 100, so that is a very big deal. I owe you a home-cooked seafood dinner.
Jack Rotoli from Philly Metro on August 29, 2014:
I was able to fix one of my wife's favorite novelty Halloween decorations following your instruction!
Johne567 on June 04, 2014:
Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old roommate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! eceeekdkgkdb
Tidbitz (author) on March 06, 2014:
That's great Bughi! Glad I could help
bughi on January 26, 2014:
S Thank you.....I used aluminium foil for some rusted spring to make contact on an indoor fitness bike :-) . Many Apreciations
Tidbitz (author) on November 20, 2013:
I'm glad that it worked for you Erin. It is always nice to get extra life out of older toys. Thanks for the comment.
Erin on November 10, 2013:
I found this when I was trying to figure out how to fix an old toy that had batteries left in it that had corroded. It was so bad I had to break the springs to get down to the metal terminal and then used the aluminum foil to make the batteries fit and get a good connection. It did work though and one more kid can enjoy the use of the toy. Thanks for the help!