Prevent Alkaline Battery Leaks: Tips for Safety & Longevity

why do alkaline batteries leak

Batteries will be one of the only power sources left when the world ends. Plus, most of the modern world uses them to do everyday tasks.

But alkaline batteries leak, putting us and the environment at risk

Let’s look at why batteries leak and how you can reduce the chances of injury or harm.

Why do alkaline batteries leak?

It is a battery’s job to release power to power things. When it does, it releases chemicals inside that create a dangerous gas. 

As it builds up inside, the battery is at risk of rupturing.  

How to Prevent Batteries from Leaking

Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to prevent a battery from leaking, but sometimes there is.

Avoid Skimping on Batteries


Cheap batteries are dangerous because they are made of low-quality materials and sub-par manufacturing. Saving a few cents isn’t worth taking the chance of them leaking or exploding.

For instance, emergency to-go kits (and radios) must have batteries that will last. You don’t want to be caught in the dark because of a misfit battery.

Avoid Mix and Matching Batteries

Sometimes you have one of one brand of battery and one of another. 

If you put an old battery in with a new one, you’re adding a higher density of chemicals to a volatile battery situation.

Mixing and matching battery brands can lead to leaks, explosions, and a whole array of other problems.

Are there alkaline batteries that don’t leak?

Energizer AAA Batteries, Max Triple A Max Battery Alkaline, 24 Count

While you can’t guarantee a battery won’t leak, the Energizer MAX has a no-leak guarantee.

Energizer will replace or repair the batteries if they fail within the first two years.

Pull the Batteries Out

Don’t leave batteries in things you don’t use. They not only leak, but they can also damage the device they’re in.

For instance, you use your phone as a remote and have no use for the portable one that came with the TV. Before you toss it in a closet, pull the batteries out.

Storage and Shelf Life

Store your batteries in a dry spot that stays at room temperature. And, you don’t want to keep around those that have outlasted battery shelf life because they become unstable and begin to degrade.

Rotate the batteries in your emergency kit (especially your car kit) to avoid them leaking or exploding.

Why do so many Duracell batteries leak?

All batteries are capable of leaking when left in a device or expired. The chemical combination that powers batteries will build up until the case leaks or implodes. 

Duracell batteries are specifically made to prevent chemicals from having space to build up and cause a dangerous situation. In contrast, a lead-acid battery can explode.

Always safely dispose of leaking batteries and those past their expiration date. 

If a battery leaks before the expiration, it’s a manufacturer error, and as a consumer, it is your right to report it.

Put the Batteries in Right

For the most part, people put batteries in the right way most of the time. But, sometimes, they do act finicky, and we force them into the device.

Of course, ensure the battery’s plus and minus terminals and the batteries. 99% of all things won’t work if they are put in wrong, but it never hurts to double-check.

What leaks out of the batteries?

The majority of batteries have the same four chemicals – potassium hydroxide, zinc, and manganese dioxide. But what actually squeezes through the cracks?

Most commonly, potassium hydroxide is what leaks. It’s highly corrosive, dangerous, and causes skin irritation and breathing issues if inhaled.

Battery Acid Is Harmful

Potassium hydroxide is a hazardous material that can lead to big problems if not adequately contained.

  • A leaky battery will destroy your phone or other devices.
  • Battery acid to the eye or skin surface will cause severe damage.
  • Potassium hydroxide is terrible for the environment.

What happens if I touch a leaking battery?

A lot is happening inside the battery, and electricity is one of them. You face a two-fold hazard when touching an alkaline battery that is leaking – burns and electric shock.

A battery’s liquid electrolyte can leak and react with the air around it and become conductive outside of the safety of a casing. 

By touching it, you are now one of the two terminals, and the reaction is enough to kill you by lethal shock. 

And the acid it produces can damage skin, eyes, and lungs.

How do I treat a battery acid burn?

Battery acid leaks are a life-threatening situation. It can lead to severe injury to the eyes, lungs, and skin. 

  • You will want to rinse all affected areas immediately with water. DO NOT use any other liquid or soap.
  • If it’s gotten into your eye, flush your eyeholes for at least 15 minutes and seek medical attention ASAP.
  • Respiratory tract injury caused by an alkaline battery leak demands immediate medical attention.

How do I dispose of a leaking alkaline battery?

Corroded batteries require careful disposal. You don’t want to keep them around your home, even in the garage. But you don’t want just to toss them into the garbage.

  • Contact the local municipality or trash/recycling pickup to ask about battery disposal guidelines.
  • Put the leaking batteries in a ziplock bag.
  • Safely dispose of the plastic-wrapped batteries in the trash or drop them off for recycling.

How do I stop my alkaline battery from leaking?

  1. Cheap batteries are mostly lousy quality.
  2. Don’t mix and match battery brands.
  3. Take them out of devices when they’re not in use.
  4. Check battery expiration dates and rotate them out regularly.
  5. Install batteries per device instructions.


Is alkaline battery leak toxic?

Potassium hydroxide is a caustic agent, which means it is indeed a toxic substance. It will lead to respiratory, eye, and skin irritation and injury.

Does Duracell offer a leak warranty?

Duracell is one of only a few brands offering limited warranties on batteries malfunctioning due to defects. They will replace or repair it during the warranty period.

You will want to keep receipts to confirm the purchase date.

How do you keep alkaline batteries from leaking?

To keep alkaline batteries from leaking, it is important to follow these guidelines: always use the same type and brand of battery for devices that require multiple batteries, remove batteries from any infrequently used devices, take out batteries from devices with AC adapters when the adapter is plugged in, and avoid storing batteries in areas of extreme heat and cold.

What happens if you touch a leaking alkaline battery?

If you touch a leaking alkaline battery, brief contact with the battery acid may result in contact dermatitis, which is characterized by redness or irritation on the skin. This condition can cause temporary discomfort but typically resolves on its own.

Are there alkaline batteries that don’t leak?

There are alkaline batteries available that do not leak. Energizer Max is designed to prevent damaging leaks and provides long-lasting power for today’s devices and electronics. With a storage life of up to 10 years, Energizer Max AA batteries give you the assurance of reliable energy whenever you need it.

What are the risks of alkaline batteries?

The risks of alkaline batteries include the potential for damage to clothing and skin if the alkaline solution adheres to them. Additionally, there is a risk of loss of eyesight if the solution comes into contact with the eyes. It is important to avoid direct contact with the chemicals and electrolyte inside the batteries.

Do alkaline batteries discharge?

Alkaline batteries do discharge over time, which can lead to leakage or corrosion. This is particularly common with alkaline AA cells if they are left unused for extended periods. The leakage occurs because alkaline batteries continuously self-discharge in small amounts, even when not in use.

Why do batteries leak when not used?

Batteries leak when not used due to the continuous discharge of the batteries over time. This discharge leads to the accumulation of gases within the battery, which can escape through the vents and result in the leakage of potassium hydroxide, commonly referred to as battery acid.

Are batteries toxic when they leak?

Batteries can be toxic when they leak. Leaking battery acid contains potassium hydroxide, which is more hazardous than one might expect. Ingesting it can be poisonous, direct contact can cause skin burns, and it can even lead to respiratory irritation.

What to do if a battery starts leaking?

If a battery starts leaking, you should take immediate action if you observe bubbling liquid seeping through the cell caps or notice that the battery is warped, inflated, or appears distorted. These conditions indicate that the battery is damaged, and it is crucial to remove and replace it without delay.

Why do my AA batteries keep corroding?

My AA batteries keep corroding due to a chemical reaction caused by the build-up of hydrogen gas inside the battery. As the gas builds pressure, it eventually needs to escape, leading to corrosion. This is a common occurrence in batteries, particularly alkaline ones, which tend to leak over time and in humid conditions.

How long does it take for an alkaline battery to leak?

An alkaline battery typically takes at least 10 years (from a reputable manufacturer) before it starts to leak, and it can often last even longer, usually extending beyond its shelf life by several years.

What happens if an AA battery leaks?

If an AA battery leaks, it can cause damage to skin, soil, and any device it has leaked into due to the corrosive nature of battery leakage, also known as battery acid. In the case of household batteries, the leaked substance is actually alkaline, specifically potassium hydroxide.

Which batteries are leak proof?

The Energizer Max batteries are leak-proof and provide the long-lasting power required by today’s devices and electronics. These batteries are designed to prevent damaging leaks and can last up to 10 years in storage. With Energizer Max AA batteries, you can have the confidence that you’ll always have reliable energy when you need it.

What’s the best way to store batteries?

The best way to store batteries is to maintain a temperature range of approximately 40°F to 60°F, ensuring it does not exceed 80°F. It is important to store all battery types in a dry environment to prevent corrosion, avoiding any humidity or sources of moisture, such as a flooded warehouse floor.

What happens if you touch dry battery acid?

If you touch dry battery acid, it can cause severe burns if not washed away fairly quickly because it is moderately dilute sulphuric acid. Although it may not immediately burn holes in your clothes, they may become visible after washing. However, the good news is that it can be easily rinsed off with an abundant amount of water.

Why is AA battery leaking?

AA batteries can leak when they are left without power or are empty for an extended period of time. This is because a gas is formed within the battery, and if the pressure of this gas becomes excessive, the protective layer of the battery can break. This intentional design choice by manufacturers helps prevent potential explosions within the battery.

What happens if you touch a leaking AA battery?

If you touch a leaking AA battery, the battery acid on your skin may cause itching, pain, redness, and burning. It is important to note that household batteries, which are usually alkaline, have less caustic acid compared to lead batteries. However, immediate treatment is necessary for any exposure to either type of battery.

Can AA batteries leak liquid?

AA batteries can leak liquid if they become overheated or punctured, resulting in the release of what is commonly known as battery acid onto any surface it comes into contact with. It is important to note that the term “AA” refers to the size of the battery rather than its specific type.

Is it normal for a new battery to leak?

It is uncommon for a new battery to leak. Typically, battery leaks occur when the battery is considerably old or has experienced some type of damage.

What does a leaking AA battery look like?

A leaking AA battery typically appears as a white, powdery substance, resembling a base (alkaline) rather than an acid.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.