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How do you store batteries at home? 5 tips for safe storage

How do you store batteries at home? 5 tips for safe storage

What is the best way to store batteries safely at home and what can you do if something goes wrong? In this blog you will find some tips and solutions that answer these questions.

Store used batteries safely in a box

Don't just store your used batteries anywhere in the house (and certainly not in the device itself), but use a collection cube. Place it in a dry and well-ventilated place. Used batteries should be stored at room temperature, so do not put the box in the refrigerator or nearby the oven.
Do not store small batteries in pillboxes or along with other medication. Because of the shape and size of for example button cells, they can easily be confused with the medication.

Do not store your batteries in a metal box to prevent short circuits.

Store empty and (semi-)full batteries separately

Do not store used batteries along  with new batteries. You cannot tell from the outside whether a battery is empty or full. If you store them separately, you immediately know which batteries you can still use and which you cannot.

What about batteries that you have removed from your device but that are not completely empty? A handy tip: put two storage boxes in a fixed, dry and well-ventilated place. One box for empty batteries and one box for batteries you can still use. Stick a label on each box to differentiate between them.
What do you do with batteries that have passed their expiry date? You can still use them, but they will no longer work at their full capacity. If batteries are not used, they gradually lose their energy over time. However, there is no need to dispose of 'expired' batteries. You can use them first and later, when they are empty, you take them to a collection point, together with your other empty batteries.

Keep batteries out of reach of children

Provide a safe - preferably a little higher - place for the box in which you store your batteries. Small batteries like button cells look a bit like sweets, which can lead to unfortunate situations for grabby children's hands.Therefore, make sure that children cannot swallow the batteries

Also make a habit of not replacing batteries of devices in the presence of children. Forbid your children to play with batteries and set a good example by not putting batteries in your mouth to 'hold' them while changing a battery.

Kinderen en batterijen

Keep batteries away from grabby children's hands.

You can also avoid a number of risks preventively. For example, when buying appliances, make sure that they can only be opened with a screwdriver or coin. Also buy your batteries in blister packs, as they are not as easy to open for children.

Has something gone wrong, despite all the precautions? Read here what you can do (link in dutch).

Avoid short circuits between batteries in the box

Can used batteries lie side by side?

For most batteries, it isn’t a problem for them to lie side by side, but if there are button cells in the mix, it's advisable to take extra precautions. The current in a battery is generated by the electricity flowing from pole to pole. When the + and - poles come into contact, a short circuit occurs (link in dutch). 
Because button cells have such a flat shape, their positive and negative poles are very close together. If they come into contact with other batteries in the collection box, such as a 4.5 Volt or 9 Volt battery, or with other button cells, this can sometimes cause a short circuit. Used batteries are never completely empty.

Find out how to get the most out of your batteries here (link in dutch)

The solution? Stick all button cells neatly on a strip of adhesive tape, this way you cover one of the poles with a 'protective layer', which eliminates the risk of a short circuit. For 4.5V and 9V you also cover the poles with a piece of tape or painting tape.

Cover the poles with a piece of tape or painting tape.

Batterijen afplakken

Safe handling of damaged batteries

lekkende batterijen

Leaking batteries

Batteries start to leak if they remain unused in a device for too long. Then you get those recognizable white grains that are caked around the battery. If this is  the case, you should place each battery separately in a transparent plastic bag to store them. 

Store the bag in a dry and well-ventilated place and keep it as far away as possible from flammable materials such as white spirit

Leaking batteries can be recognized by the typical white grains.

You can remove the leaking batteries safely by putting on household gloves and an apron. Like this, you avoid contact with chemicals, such as battery acid, and avoid skin irritation. Make sure the room where you replace the batteries is well ventilated and work out of reach of curious children or pets. And wash your hands when you're done.

By the way, you can easily clean the device itself with vinegar or lemon juice. Watch this video (video in dutch) to see how to go about it.

Swollen batteries

Are you confronted with a smartphone that suddenly bursts its bounds? A tablet with a bulge? That’s a swollen battery.

Batteries can swell for all kinds of reasons, such as overheating. In extreme cases, they can swell up to twice their original size, causing the casing of your device to bulge as well. Gas formation occurs when the battery gets too hot. This can happen if you charge it too often, due to a production fault, a wrong or poor charger or if the battery fails due to age. So, make sure you charge your mobile phone, tablet or laptop correctly (link in dutch).

Gezwollen batterij laptop

Be sure not to puncture a hole in the swollen battery of your mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

If it's already too late, don't wait for the battery to 'shrink', but switch your device off immediately and stop using it  for the moment. Bring it to a service centre or a recycling park as soon as possible. Don't try to solve the swelling yourself, by, for example, puncturing a hole in it. The gas that is then released is not only flammable, but also unhealthy.

Above all, make sure that damaged batteries cannot cause a short circuit by sticking the contacts and/or packing the batteries individually. Preferably store them separately and away from fire-sensitive material.

More tips on how to handle batteries safely? You'll find them here.

Is your collection cube full? Then bring your used batteries to a Bebat collection point!

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Looking for a collection point?

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