If you have spilled water or coffee on your best laptop, you must act quickly. You must unplug and turn off your computer immediately. If you have a removable battery, remove it as soon as possible. Hold down the Power button until the machine shuts down. Take action now! In this situation, every second counts.
OK, so you’re back? The following is a more detailed guide to handling this type of emergency. We will provide 2 to 3 solutions to save your laptop if you have spilled water on laptop.
Solution 1: What to Do if You Spill Water on Your Laptop
If you spill liquid on your laptop, you need to act fast. Here are some steps you can take right now to prevent a catastrophe.
Step 1: You should remove all easily detachable components. Remove your flash drives and DVDs, and unplug any cables. Keep your laptop bare.
Step 2: It is important to dry the outside of your machine. Hold your laptop upside down until any accumulated liquid drains out, then use an absorbent towel or a lint-free absorbent fabric to wipe wet surfaces until they are dry. It is not recommended to use a hair dryer or heat gun to dry the computer.
Step 3: If the warranty is still applicable, we recommend taking your machine to a repair shop or taking it back to the manufacturer. You can also take it to your brand’s designated repair store (like Apple). Otherwise, find a local repair shop that specializes in your laptop brand.
It matters what type of liquid was spilled. Sugary and alcoholic fluids are more conductive and corrosive than water. In a matter of seconds, they can permanently damage your internal components. Whatever the case, the goal is to minimize their effects as much as possible by drying the computer as soon as possible. However, if you don’t want to contact a professional, there are other steps you can take to try and dry out your machine.
Break it down
Unlike earlier laptops, modern laptops aren’t easy to open and disassemble. It’s not recommended to take anything apart unless you have an older laptop model that’s not largely glued together. Here are some steps you can try if your laptop allows them.
Step 1:Take out the battery if you haven’t already, if your laptop allows it. Your laptop’s battery can usually be removed by pressing a button or switch under the screen.
Step 2: In case you’re concerned about liquid leaking into entire system components, such as your memory and storage drive, you can also remove those. On some laptops, you’ll find removable panels on the underside. However, in most cases, a Phillips or Torx screwdriver is needed to remove them. You can eject each memory stick by pressing the side clips. To remove the solid-state drive or hard drive from the frame, you will need to undo more screws. Carefully disconnect it from the power and data connection ports or cables.
Step 3: Check each component you’ve removed for signs of corrosion or wetness. You should dry any wet parts, but if the liquid isn’t water, use a toothbrush dipped in 99% isopropyl alcohol – this will dissolve gunk without damaging the liquid and evaporate without leaving a sticky residue behind.
After everything has been thoroughly cleaned and inspected, leave everything to air-dry for two to three days in a warm, dry area. You can speed up the drying process by using a fan. You should avoid using a hair-dryer, as this could cause static electricity. As soon as you’ve taken your laptop apart and dried it, you can reassemble it in reverse following the instructions.
Hopefully, all will be well, but if not, try next solution.
If Your Laptop Cannot be Taken Apart
What if you have a Surface Book 3, MacBook, or any other laptop that you cannot take apart or even remove the battery? The situation drastically reduces your options, so get it repaired as soon as possible.
Here’s what you can do between the time that the liquid spilled on your laptop keyboard and the time that you take it to the store: Hold your machine upside down and wipe any visible wetness with a towel. After that, lay your laptop down on a dry surface and give it as much ventilation as possible – it may not help much, but it’s better than nothing.
You may have heard some people suggest putting your laptop in a big bag of rice, but that advice has many problems. Firstly, a hygroscopic material like rice isn’t nearly as useful when dealing with liquids that have sugars, alcohols, or other substances besides water. Second, rice cannot efficiently absorb moisture trapped deep inside your laptop, where problems arise. In addition, rice can contain debris that can get inside your laptop and cause even more problems.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to get to a repair store; emergencies never occur at convenient times. If that’s the case, you should let your water-damaged laptop ventilate and air dry for at least 24 to 48 hours before attempting to turn it back on. Don’t turn on your PC before it’s ready. This can cause a massive short in your system and absolutely ruin your laptop.
In order to protect your laptop from a potential liquid spill in the future, we recommend purchasing a keyboard cover (like this one from KeyCover). For a more complete solution, get a full shell for your laptop’s top and bottom. You can add another layer of protection by carrying your device around in a great laptop bag. Make sure your laptop’s cover doesn’t block any ventilation holes. If it does, cut the cover’s skin to leave a ventilation space.
If you work in an area where laptop spills and moisture are commonplace, consider a ruggedized laptop. In order to protect against spills, this device comes with a sealed keyboard and other features. Check out Dell’s Latitude Rugged Extreme Laptop for an example.
Solution 2: Spilled Water On Laptop Keyboard
- Immediately turn your laptop off and unplug all accessories if you have spilled water on it.
- Try to open a wet laptop as much as possible, dry the components you can reach, and disassemble the machine for a thorough drying.
- Here are the steps you should take to save a spilled laptop.
You should take immediate action if you spill water (or any other liquid) on your laptop. There is no guarantee your computer will survive one accidental spill, but it is possible for permanent damage to occur. If you spill liquid on your laptop, here’s what you should do.
Turn Off the Laptop
In the first few seconds after a spill, the first thing you should do is turn off the computer. For most laptops, the fastest way to force it off is to hold the power button for six to 10 seconds. When the laptop is shut down, remove it from the wall outlet or AC adapter immediately.
Unplug all Accessories
Once the laptop has been powered off and unplugged, isolate it from any accessories after it has been powered off and unplugged. You should remove all devices plugged into the USB port of the laptop, including USB cables and flash drives.
Dry off Everything You Can Easily Reach
You’ll want to work quickly, removing as much water as possible. It’s more likely that permanent damage will occur if your laptop is wet for longer periods of time, especially if the liquid wasn’t plain water.
Also, be careful when opening your laptop and handling internal components (see the section on opening your laptop). There are many components that are delicate.
Generally, you should use absorbent cloths or paper towels to soak up liquid, but cotton swabs are good for smaller parts and nooks and crannies. You only need to do that if you spilled water, but if you spilled soda, coffee, or tea, you’ll need to remove conductive residue that might remain when the liquid evaporates. A small amount of rubbing alcohol can be helpful for that, but never spray or pour the alcohol directly on the components – always dip your swab or cloth in it first.
Also, open the laptop into a wide “V” shape and place it upside down on a flat surface for any liquid to drain out through the keyboard, vents, or seams. Leave it in that configuration until you decide what to do next, so trapped liquid can work its way out. Dry your laptop surfaces as liquid appears.
Open the Laptop and Remove Components (if you can)
This step depends on your laptop and how comfortable you are with performing surgery on electronics. If your laptop allows, remove the battery from the bottom. Most newer laptops do not have removable batteries, so you can skip this step. If the battery is removable (usually via a button or slider on the bottom of the case), remove it and set it aside. It’s important to dry the battery if it’s wet.
If the laptop is serviceable, open it up to access the hard drive, CPU, and RAM. If possible, remove any easily removable internal components and set them aside. In the event that you have access to these internal components, make sure they are dry.
All these components should be left outside until they are completely dry – this can take several days. Be patient, and make sure all of the internal components of the laptop are thoroughly dry before reassembling and restarting it. If you cannot open the laptop or remove any components, wait several days (or longer) before turning it back on.
Solution 3: Spilled Coffee on Laptop
Liquids and electronics do not mix. Spilling a drink on your laptop can cause disaster whether it’s a dribble of coffee or a flood from an overturned mug. Watching your laptop shut down while you helplessly wipe up a coffee spill is the worst.
Having a broken laptop means losing all your important business files and family photos.
The good news is that you can minimize the damage caused by a spilled drink and save your laptop.
While it’s important to get back to work as soon as possible after a spill, a few simple tricks can restore your laptop to its former glory.
How Spilled Drinks Harm Your Laptop
Your laptop can be short-circuited by any liquid that conducts electricity. The motherboard is the worst victim of this, as if it is damaged, the entire laptop will shut down until it is replaced. Your laptop’s motherboard is usually located at the bottom, where it sits on the table.
Another concern is the residue left behind after the spill has dried. Also, it can conduct electricity and cause shorts, or gum up the laptop’s mechanisms and prevent them from working properly. It is also possible for some residue to become stinky over time.
Spills of black coffee or tea, without sugar or milk, are the least problematic. Sugar and dairy in lattes, soda, green tea with honey, and hot chocolate can leave a lot of residue. The cleanup will be more difficult and the messier.
How To Clean Your Laptop
When you have dried yourself off after the initial panic, begin cleaning your laptop immediately. You risk less damage to your laptop if you work faster. A rugged laptop will be more resistant to spills, so cleaning will be less urgent, though still necessary.
Unplug Your Laptop
Remove all power sources as soon as possible. Take out the charging cable and, if possible, the battery from your laptop. In order to prevent electrical damage, you should not plug in either the cable or the battery until your laptop is completely clean.
In the case of an integrated battery, you will need to turn your laptop upside down so that you can remove it. Gravity will drain any liquid from the laptop’s electronics at the bottom, including the motherboard.
Mop Up Puddles
Whenever you see any obvious puddles of liquid, dab them with a cloth to clean them up. It’s best to use a clean washcloth since the fibers are gentle on electronic equipment. You’ll still need speed in order to avoid liquids reaching electronics, so you can use paper towels or Kleenex in an emergency.
It is best to dab the liquid to prevent it from spreading. As you clean, make sure you do not leave any residue on the cloth or towel.
Clean The Laptop Bottom
If there is residue on the laptop bottom, wipe it down with a microfiber or lint-free cloth. Wipe off the spill with a barely damp cloth.
If the laptop bottom can be removed, unscrew it to make sure the spill is completely cleaned up. You should avoid touching electronics (wearing an anti-static wrist strap is a good idea) and look for any spots with liquid or residue. Dab at any spills using the same method you used in Step 2, then replace the laptop bottom.
Instead of poking around, you can shake out extra liquid. Gently shake the laptop while holding it up so the air vent is facing down. Extra liquid may dribble out.
Leave To Dry
You should lean your laptop against a wall so that its bottom is off the ground. Let it air dry for a couple of days. If the laptop is still sticky after cleaning, avoid hitting it with dust as it dries.
To avoid damp spots on your laptop, wait a little longer before using it again if there are still damp spots.
If the cleaning process went smoothly and you spilled a plain drink, you are done. If your drink contained milk or sugar, or if cleaning your laptop was difficult, consider taking it to a computer repair center. They can clean your electronics professionally without causing damage.
Connect the charging cable to your laptop battery after cleaning. Try booting it and see if it works. Those who have problems running their laptops will need the services of a computer repair shop.
How To Clean Your Keyboard After A Spill
Keyboards are especially vulnerable to spills, since the residue can make it difficult to press keys. Most laptop keyboards cannot be removed for straightforward cleaning since they are built-in.
Whenever you clean, use distilled water to avoid leaving mineral deposits. In extreme cases, you can clean with isopropyl alcohol or ethanol to remove residue.
Using a damp cloth or soft toothbrush, scrub around the key bases on your keyboard. To prevent more liquid from soaking into the laptop, use small amounts of water.
Many Bluetooth and USB keyboards are available at low prices, so picking one up is an easy alternative to regularly cleaning your keyboard.
Additionally, you can use an external keyboard to determine if your laptop has been damaged in a spill or if there is a hardware issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m William Faulkner, author of LaptopsU, a laptop & MacBook review blog. I’ve been writing about laptops & MacBook for over seven years now and I love it! In my reviews, I try to provide accurate information on the specs of each laptop & MacBook, as well as my opinion on how it performs.
I thrive on finding new laptops & MacBook to review and helping people make informed buying decisions. If you have any queries you can get in touch with me through following social media accounts.