Battery Acid Stains on Carpet?

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Here's a real poser for you all. We left a car battery in the back of our minivan and it tipped over, probably several days ago. When we tried to clean up the mess, the carpet came up in fuzzy pieces. The worst part is that we were planning on trading this van in soon. I am trying to decide if I should just trade it in as is, try to patch the damage (most of the cargo area), replace the entire carpet or something else. Anyone have any experience with something like this?


Jess from Portland, OR

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By Grandma Margie. (Guest Post)
October 4, 20060 found this helpful

Don't wait any longer, it is ACID and will "eat" more than just the carpet ! Flush the area with a water and baking soda mixture to neutralize the acid and stop any more damage. I'm guessing that you should use one or two cups of baking soda to a bucket of water. I'd personally cut out and throw away all of the damaged carpet (and hope the damage didn't go much deeper). I seriously doubt that you could recoup the expense of recarpeting the van. Car dealerships can do this cheaper than you can and they're not going to allow you more of a trade-in value just because there is new carpeting. It's just a hard lesson to learn about car batteries and battery acid!

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
October 4, 20060 found this helpful

We read a couple of other sites on the internet about cleaning up messes like this last night and went through all the baking soda in the house. It sizzles and turns brown when it touches the acid. We haven't used any water yet, just straight baking soda. I also have been calling around and spoke to a very helpful Auto Detailing shop that gave us similar advice about replacing the carpet.


Thanks for the feedback!


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October 7, 20060 found this helpful

All this is valuable information/advice. We spilled white PAINT, not acid, thank God, but wound up using a floor DESK MAT, with long "teeth" on one side
and covered it instead of recarpeting it. It seems to be OK for most anything, a good way to recycle the
mat and protect the remnant of any carpeting left.
Hope this helps in some way? God be with you in carefully cleaning up the acid with "chemical" gloves
and paper towels, not rags. We used carpet samples
for mats in the front, so why not go to carpet stores
for their cheap samples of bound carpeting remnants? You could patch it as easy as pie, if the sample carpet were a close match...THEN use the desk mat to cover the patching. Good luck. : )

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By Jody (Guest Post)
July 1, 20080 found this helpful

We read the instruction to use ammonia, but there were no further instructions. We followed some of the ideas above, including: Rubber gloves, paper towels for applying and straight ammonia. It appears to have neutralized the battery acid. As we began the carpet was warm to the touch.


that subsided. On the plastic where only marks from the battery acid were visible, the ammonia removed them well. We are keeping the windows open over night to try to remove any smells. Actually the smell wasn't too bad!

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