Skills: Fix A Corroded Flashlight

fix-corroded-flashlightIt has happened to all of us: You grab the flashlight, and it doesn’t work. You open it up to change the batteries and you see that they have a ruined the interior, and you have a corroded flashlight.

Into the garbage it goes.

Why not try repairing it first? In an emergency situation, you may not have the option of running down to the store for a replacement.  You can fix that corroded flashlight yourself with a little time and some common tools and ingredients.

We all know the importance of a flashlight in our survival kit. Most emergency situations will require the use of one at some point, so having a working flashlight is of the utmost importance.

It is quite common for batteries to be left in a flashlight for several years, which can lead to battery corrosion. This corrosion is caused by the battery acid leaking out into the flashlight.

Here is a guide on how to clean up a flashlight after a battery has corroded inside.

What you will need:

  • Gloves – the battery acid that corroded the inside of your flashlight will do the same to your skin
  • Eye protection
  • Dowel Rod
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Long drill bit
  • White vinegar
  • Bottle brush
  • Towel

What you need to do:

  • Put on your gloves and eye protection.
  • Firstly you need to take your flashlight apart. Depending on the model – the top, bottom or both sections of the flashlight will be able to be unscrewed and removed.
  • If the battery is not stuck inside – simply remove it from the flashlight
  • If the battery is stuck you will need to work a bit harder to remove it – If your flashlight comes apart at both ends place a dowel rod against the top of the battery, tap it gently with the hammer until it comes out. If your flashlight only has one removable end then you will need to carefully drill into the battery until the drill bit is securely inside the battery – once this happens gently rock the drill bit back and forth and pull until the battery is removed.

Once the battery is out you can start cleaning your flashlight.

  • Half fill the flashlight with white vinegar
  • Using the bottle brush, thoroughly scrub the inside of your flashlight to remove all acid left inside, there may also be little bits of battery inside if you had to drill it out so make sure these are brushed out also
  • Pour out the vinegar and rinse the inside of your flashlight with clean water
  • Pour out the water and dry your flashlight as much as possible using the towel.
  • Allow the flashlight to air dry so the inside is completely dry before you use it again

Once it is dry your flashlight will be clean and ready to be put back together again ready for use.

Things to consider when cleaning out a flashlight with battery corrosion

  • Sometimes the acid corrosion will be tough to remove. If this is the case then you can allow the white vinegar to sit inside the flashlight for five minutes to help loosen it before using the brush to thoroughly clean.
  • If you do not feel comfortable drilling into a stuck battery then you can put Coca-Cola or baking soda around the battery and this may help loosen it enough for you to remove it without drilling.
  • Make sure you wear your gloves and eye protection throughout the entire cleaning process – battery acid can and will cause burn on your skin/eyes.
  • Dispose of the corroded battery appropriately – it is dangerous to leave it lying around as it can cause injury to pets, children and anyone else who comes into contact with it.

By regularly checking your flashlight and changing the batteries, you can prevent battery corrosion happening in your flashlight. As mentioned earlier it is a vital part of any emergency kit but it will only be useful to you if it is working when you need it most.


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