Automotive

How pure is battery acid?

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 5th, 2017 1:32 am
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[OP]
Newbie
Dec 13, 2014
40 posts
18 upvotes
Thornhill, ON

How pure is battery acid?

I would like to know how pure (edit: store-bought and unopened) battery acid is. Is it really just distilled water + sulfuric acid? Is it possible that it *may* toxic contaminants or heavy metals? The reason I ask is because I and others use it to water acid loving plants (diluted with tap water). Someone posted this message on a garden forum, and I'm curious to know if there's any truth to it?

"The label may say it's pure battery acid but it's not a food-grade product and is not required to do a micro-analysis of the acid or even the containers it's bottled in. I think the point is that battery acid sold in an auto parts store, and Draino too by the way, is not intended for human consumption at any dilution. It is not held to standards for human consumption and therefore could contain any number of toxic contaminants that an auto parts-appropriate label is not required to disclose. For example, the sulfur used in production of battery-grade sulfuric acid could have any number of heavy metals in it...most would not harm a battery but could harm you if you consume it. Same thing with Draino....it's not tested or regulated by the FDA and the label is not required to disclose any impurities that could be toxic to us if ingested."

So is it pure distilled water + sulfuric acid, even when you consider the bottle?
Last edited by Tretinoin on Sep 4th, 2017 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
13 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2013
1565 posts
1324 upvotes
Toronto
Maybe there is no harm, but to me it just sounds like a bad idea. I'm sure there is PH balancing products you can buy.
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Deal Fanatic
May 4, 2014
5133 posts
6845 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Are you eating your acid loving plants? If not, why care if it has heavy metals? Besides, there are plenty of commonly available acids.. Why choose sulfuric acid?

Batteries are filled with lead plates, no doubt some lead particles are floating around inside the battery acid.
Deal Addict
Jun 14, 2008
4083 posts
2865 upvotes
Montreal
Why don't you just use white vinegar since you don't need the super low acidity anyway.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 11, 2009
7313 posts
3902 upvotes
Debtario
That is just a bad idea, at best you'll contaminate your soil and at worst you'll seriously injure yourself.
"I possess a device, in my pocket, capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers"
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 13, 2014
40 posts
18 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
I meant fresh/new battery acid, not used battery acid!

Vinegar works temporarily. I just need to know if a new (unopened) bottle of battery acid contains anything else besides distilled water and sulfuric acid? Also, can the bottle release any harmful impurities or whatever?
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
7747 posts
2729 upvotes
ON
You'd have to contact the manufacturer to confirm.
And the bottle would be designed to hold acid (obviously, or would just eat right through it) but that doesn't mean it's totally inert. Unless it's stored in a glass bottle, I would assume some of the plastic will be leaching into solution over the years.

Just use a proper food grade acid. It's cheap and readily available.
Go to the spice or international aisle of your grocery store and get citric acid crystals.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 9, 2013
1955 posts
1884 upvotes
Ottawa
OP please do not open the car battery. It's a bad idea.
Member
Apr 18, 2011
440 posts
195 upvotes
Toronto
Why would somebody do it? Is this the worst available options?
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 13, 2014
40 posts
18 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
I hate to divert from the topic because I just want my question answered. Sulfuric acid is the best option for long term soil acidification.It's not different than elemental sulfur, but works faster. The other organic options only work temporary. Store bought battery acid would not be harmful or bad if it only contained distilled water and sulfuric acid. They sell the same stuff in pet stores, but much more expensive.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36347 posts
10587 upvotes
Ottawa
Tretinoin wrote: I hate to divert from the topic because I just want my question answered. Sulfuric acid is the best option for long term soil acidification.It's not different than elemental sulfur, but works faster. The other organic options only work temporary. Store bought battery acid would not be harmful or bad if it only contained distilled water and sulfuric acid. They sell the same stuff in pet stores, but much more expensive.
Maybe to the gardening forum?
Old engine oil is quite acidic and maybe you can use that?
Deal Fanatic
Apr 5, 2016
5889 posts
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Calgary/Vancouver
Sounds like a drug lab. LOL Face With Tears Of JoyFace With Tears Of JoyFace With Tears Of Joy
Member
Apr 27, 2009
284 posts
104 upvotes
West Vancouver
The producers of battery acid will ensure that their product does not include impurities that are harmful to the operation life of a lead acid battery. The battery acid could contain other trace elements. Ask yourself why would a battery acid producer go to the expense of eliminating impurities, in the manufacture or distribution, that do not have an effect on battery operation?

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