Vinegar may be used to neutralize alkaline NiCad and manganese dioxide batteries. These batteries have alkaline electrolytes and are neutralized by weak acids. Vinegar should not be used to neutralize carbon-zinc or lead-acid batteries, as these batteries have acid electrolytes that are best neutralized with baking soda.
To clean an alkaline battery, pour vinegar across the battery and scrub with a toothbrush or similar item. The vinegar will neutralize battery acid and remove corrosion. If the battery is attached to other equipment, apply the vinegar to cotton swabs and use the swabs to clean the battery compartment. This ensures that other components are not damaged by the acidity of the vinegar.