Originally Posted by Al Fiallos
Grampa Jim is spot on. Bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda not baking powder) neutralizes acid and if it gets into your battery it will kill it. If you have maintenance free batteries you are much better off.
Corrosion across the top of a battery will also slowly drain and kill the battery because it creates a short circuit between the positive and negative terminals. I find that vaseline works if you cannot get a good di-electric grease.
After a lifetime in the auto repair industry, I STILL cant believe that anyone would recommend to use baking soda to clean a battery......That is the worst stuff you can get near a lead acid battery (unless you want to kill it....)
Use it to clean connections, cables, battery box, but DO NOT get baking soda on the top of a battery! Washing it off will liquify the soda and allow it to run down into a cell, neutralizing it permanently...
Dielectric grease is excellent at protecting clean connections and posts...