I washed my batteries!
January 11, 2005 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Clean energy filter! I just ran a pair of rechargeable AA batteries through the wash. On the top ends, there is a black plastic or paper ring or collar that is under the plastic label and which appears to tuck beneath the edge of the nubby positive metal pole. Compared to an unwashed pair, this black material is warped, probably swollen from water. The washed batteries do not perceptibly weigh more than a never-washed pair.

Should I toss 'em or risk the Chernobyl-like consequences that may result from using them? Are they toast?
posted by mwhybark to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
I've never run batteries through the wash, but they sound dangerous. Throw them away, or recycle them, or do whatever it is you're supposed to do with batteries.

Or, stick them in something not very dangerous, like a flashlight, and see if they work. Still seems creepy to me.
posted by interrobang at 10:37 PM on January 11, 2005

The moment anything goes wrong with a battery, lose it. Don't screw around, just toss it. Using a sus battery is a good way to start a fire.
posted by krisjohn at 11:23 PM on January 11, 2005

Whatever you put them in, it almost certainly costs more than new batteries.
posted by dhartung at 11:41 PM on January 11, 2005

NiCd batteries tend to smoke when used after being soaked. I know this because as a kid I had a battery operated watergun. My parents were cheap with the batteries. The result was quite exciting. I can't say it was particularly dangerous, though.

Note that even tiny AA NiCd batteries are a bit dangerous in that they have an EXTREMELY low internal resistance as compared to Alkaline and other batteries of their size, and can easily dump 5 Amps through a dead short.

I'd consider them done for.

By the way, I'm pretty sure NiCd batteries are more poisonous than your average battery. Wash up well after touching them if the seal is broken.
posted by shepd at 11:45 PM on January 11, 2005

A Darwin award loser might have used the oven to dry them out, the winner might have opted for the microwave.

I'd toss 'em.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 11:46 PM on January 11, 2005

fwiw, i'm not sure you're supposed to just throw these things away - your local govt might have recycling facilities.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:54 AM on January 12, 2005

If you're curious, yes, use them. But in a cheap flashlight, not a $300 mp3 player. (In other words, yes, lose them.)
posted by Doohickie at 7:27 AM on January 12, 2005

I can't imagine why you wouldn't give em a try... What do you think is going to happen?

The ring you are referring to is the insulation between the positive and negative terminal. When wet it may not be such a good insulator, which would mean the battery may have trouble holding charge. It seems unlikely that the rind could ever be a good enough conductor to cause real danger, and in any case the battery is wet now, and nobody has died yet.

It might make sense to try some simple precautions. Let them dry (a couple of days). When recharging, make sure you are around and flammable materials are not. You probably shouldn't use a fast charger or 1-hour charger. Try them in something cheap first.

Don't through them out!

(I am certainly open to reasons why they would be dangerous, lets here 'em)
posted by Chuckles at 8:33 AM on January 12, 2005

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