# Cleaning up dispersed potassium hydroxide (KOH) spill?

So I tried to replace a dead triple-A alkaline battery in a waterproof compartment; it had leaked fluid + gas which had built up a bit of pressure: When opened, the material (about a dozen tiny droplets, total volume less than a pea) spattered on my hands, clothes and desk :-[

I am assuming that it was pretty concentrated KOH given that it felt slippery / turned the skin greyish before washing it off with plenty of water (no visible chemical burn or aftereffects several days later, though).

• Is it good enough to wash the contaminated clothes in a regular washing machine? I did do an additional rinse cycle afterwards.

• Will any droplets that I haven't been able to find become neutralized over time, or do I have to tear my study apart and wipe/hose everything down?

• Some documents state that KOH absorbs atmospheric water while others state that it reacts with atmospheric CO2 to form a stable carbonate - Surely it can't do both at the same time?

Sorry for the somewhat off-topic question, but it feels like all the MDS are quite unhelpful about how to remediate a spill beyond just 'wash skin with water, remove clothes'..

Your estimate that the Leclanché and alkaline battery contains lye is correct. The sensation of the skin turning slippery is expectable, since $\ce{KOH}$ started to degrade the protective coating of your skin (fat) into soap. Rinsing promptly with plenty of water was a good action.
Regarding your study, I recommend to go the extra mile, and and clean all the possible surfaces; albeit hosing sounds a bit overkill (esp. inside an appartment). You want to eliminate the pollution quickly, as it may attack wood and wood stain; and imagine you accidentally glide a book over such a forgotten droplet, it will be attacked just as your skin was attacked, too. (Even more, as in contrast to human skin, the dead book does not have the ability to re-cover itself by the thin film of protective glycerides.) In addition, droplets of lye do not dry away like water, $\ce{KOH}$ is hygroscopic and will constantly remain somewhat wet (and corrosive).