Can I eat this... battery?
November 24, 2021 3:49 PM   Subscribe

I left a couple of batteries (AA or AAA) sitting on an acacia wood serving tray. One of them leaked (with the white salty stuff) and left a small stain. This was months ago. Can the tray be used for serving food (cheese/crackers) or storing fruit again if I sand, re-oil, etc? Or do I just need to throw this thing away?
posted by acidic to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was going to say eponysterical but it seems that AA type battery leakage stuff is apparently alkaline. (Lead-acid batteries are more likely to be found in cars, I guess.)

But more importantly, I think you're fine. This will have damaged the wood a bit but if you clean it properly (let alone sand it and re-oil it) it shouldn't leave any residue on any item placed on it. A bit of vinegar or lemon juice should neutralize any lingering substance leakage.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:58 PM on November 24 [4 favorites]

The electrolyte is potassium hydroxide. If you've neutralized it it might leave a salt stain in the wood, but if it's cleaned up and re-stained/sealed, it will be fine.
posted by scruss at 4:44 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]

I would have scrubbed it with dish soap and a wire scourer and called it good. I’m pretty sure that any residue that hasn’t come out with scrubbing will be too minimal to transfer to food.

Sanding/resealing? You’d be 100% fine.
posted by Salamander at 5:53 PM on November 24

I'm a chemist.

Just wash it real good, you'll be fine.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:22 PM on November 24 [12 favorites]

Just wash it. It's no worse than, say, a bamboo or wood cutting board.

If you're really worried, put a layer of wax paper / butcher paper first. Cut it to shape and all that.
posted by kschang at 12:15 AM on November 25

If you do re-oil the board, make sure you use the right kind of oil. You want something food-safe but also that won't turn rancid.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:27 PM on November 25

The only thing I would worry about is if it has a metal like manganese in it, (but really, you are unlikely to get manganism even if you dug out the spot with a knife and ate it), so maybe clean it with either Zud or Barkeep's Friend, - it will chelate metals and also act as a wood bleach to remove the stain.
posted by 445supermag at 7:41 AM on November 26

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