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Batteries in the washing machine


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I was just washing some sheets and heard some noise in the washing machine.  There were two AA batteries in the washer that got in with the sheets.  They were submersed in water.   I took the batteries out and they seem to be ok - no obvious swelling or tears.   Will the sheets be ok to use after washing again?  Should I do anything to the washing machine?  I guess I am worried that some battery acid might have leaked out.  

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Better batteries than lipstick, Chapstick, or that God forsaken silly putty. Nothing effing worse than silly putty in the dryer!

The batteries won't hurt anything, even if they leaked all over, just throw them away even if they work. The could leak later on. If it makes you feel better, wash them again (the sheets not the batteries). :)

Edited by GrindingThud
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Agree with the others.  If no issue with the exterior of the batteries, very likely nothing leaked out.  I'd say re-wash the sheets just in case, and indeed chuck the batteries.  I'd think even if something did leak out, 1) you'd likely see staining, and 2) it would be OK with another wash.  EDIT: and I don't think anything bad would happen to the washer either, FWIW.

 

Oh, and switch to AC-powered Magic Fingers    :P

Edited by skullguise
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I did take them out of the trash and wipe them off.  On one, there was a bit of green residue (which turned brown).  I guess this could have been from something in the trash.  Should I be worried about this?  

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Also there is a tiny place where the outside has come up a bit (probably from getting tossed around in the washer).

post-1008-14252692222694_thumb.jpg

 

Upon closer inspection, there are a couple of snags on the other wide of the battery. 

Edited by shellylh
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I wouldn't recommend using vinegar (acetic acid won't really neutralize another acid). If anything, just toss the sheets back in the wash with just cold water. As everyone else has said, I doubt anything leaked out of the batteries, but in the event a minuscule amount made its way out (highly unlikely), the excess water from the second wash will more than dilute whatever potentially leaked out to where it wouldn't matter. I think the sheets are fine the way they are but just for the peace of mind, you can wash them again if you like. :) 

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According to the internet, for an alkaline battery leak, you should use vinegar.   For an acid based battery, you should use baking soda.  These are basic non-rechargeable Energizer AA batteries so they should be alkaline. 

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the amount of water in the washing machine should render any alkaline (or acid in the other circumstance) damage by leakage negligible. As Jacob mentions, you are fine :)

 

edit: if you'd found them in the dryer, then probably it would be another story...

Edited by CD44hi
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The battery acid would have done some damage or discoloration to the sheets before the sheets transferred any acid to your face.  They're more sensitive than your skin is, since they're not alive.

 

Realize also that it would be extremely diluted.

 

Your face is not going to melt off in your sleep, the sheets would be gone while still in the washer before there's enough acid for that to happen.

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Also, I should mention that the batteries were inside of a product, let's just say it's a remote control, inside of the washer.  So they were in a circuit (presumably the product was off), before the battery cover came off and the batteries came out.  There seems to be a bit of rust at the ends.  Would this make a difference?

Edited by shellylh
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No worries at all, Shelly.  Even if one of the batteries leaked all over everything and destroyed your linens with acid/alkaline, the wash cycle would have diluted all of it so much that you would not feel a thing (assuming you would still keep linens with holes/stains).

 

I'll give you an example:  one of my kids dropped a small game that took AAs into the laundry hamper, and I dumped in the whole thing and ran the cycle.  Same situation as you.  No damage to the linens and the game still worked(!).  Rest easy.

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By the way, if the batteries had leaked would I continue to see corrosion?

Also, since the batteries were in a front washer, would there be a greater chance of damage/leakage?

I tested the batteries with the multimeter and they show about 1.35 volts (one might be a little less than the other). They aren't new though but were still pretty strong.

I am still worried that there may be chemicals in the washer that will get on my clothing when I wash them since front loader doesn't use much water (I also read that you shouldn't use water to clean up a battery spill). Sigh... I really need my Tim.

Edited by shellylh
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I think the chances of corrosion are pretty slim. Even if the washer uses less water than a conventional upright, we are talking of many thousand fold dilution, even if you were assuming full release of chemicals (which didn't happened). Also the "rate" of release or diffusion of the chemicals from the battery isn't that fast as: 1-the battery shield looked pretty intact, even with that little raised lip in the picture, and 2- the batteries were not sitting there for an extended period, just between loads. So I think you are OK :)

And I think the interior of the washing machines have a protective enamel covering that is relatively sturdy :D

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By the way, if the batteries had leaked would I continue to see corrosion?

 

no.

Enough water goes though to dilute the acid to hopelessly weak concentrations.

 

Also, since the batteries were in a front washer, would there be a greater chance of damage/leakage?

 

Front load washers are often cited as being gentler than top-load.

So even less chance.

 

I tested the batteries with the multimeter and they show about 1.35 volts (one might be a little less than the other). They aren't new though but were still pretty strong.

 

Batteries don't leak until they are fully dead. 

 

I am still worried that there may be chemicals in the washer that will get on my clothing when I wash them since front loader doesn't use much water (I also read that you shouldn't use water to clean up a battery spill). Sigh... I really need my Tim.

 

Stop. We all have your best interests in mind here. There is nothing to worry about. 

Water for a batter spill applies to a car battery (or other Lead-Acid battery) and safe handling practices for the much stronger acids found there. It is not applicable to this situation. 

Edited by nikongod
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Nothing leaked.  Nothing can harm you.  Nothing is wrong with your sheets.  And certainly nothing is wrong with your washer.  It's a heart-breaking shame that Tim isn't there to tell you the same, but you know that is what he would say.  I'm truly sorry this is torturing you, Shelly, but you have absolutely nothing to worry about and hopefully you can let this go.

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OK, thanks guys.  

 

I guess I am spiraling a bit.  This tends to happen when I get really stressed.  When Tim is around, everything is better. 

 

On the other hand, I really need to get rid of all my old dead batteries.  I noticed that many of them are corroded and leaking.  I wonder how long it would take before the chemical ate through the plastic ziplock bag - surprised they didn't.  I thought you had to recycle alkaline batteries but I see now that our recycling center only takes non-alkaline.  Seems I should have been getting rid of those as they went bad. 

 

What is the best container to keep leaking/corroded dead batteries?  For now, I put them in a ziplock bag and put that in a plastic bucket in the garage.  I assume that is ok until trash day on Thursday.  

Edited by shellylh
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