How to Save a Laptop After a Liquid Spill

Liquids can destroy laptops very quickly. They can corrode or short the hardware inside your laptop. Especially sugar-based liquids can make parts sticky and hard-to-clean. If you accidentally spilled coffee, water, or soda on your laptop, we’ll give you some first aid advice.

Relevant article: Steps to Save Your Phone If You Drop It In Water

 

Things that you shouldn’t do with your laptop.

  • Don’t try to properly shut down your laptop or wait when your files will be saved and all the windows close. The quicker you turn off your laptop, the more chances you have to rescue it. You can do it by simply holding the Power button for a few seconds.

  • Don’t put your laptop in a bag of rice. Although it is common advice when phones get wet, we suggest you not to do it for the following reasons.

    1. First, rice doesn’t efficiently absorb liquids from internal parts of your laptop.

    2. Second, rice is not effective when dealing with liquids that contain sugar, alcohol, or other substances.

    3. Third, rice can introduce dust and starch into the laptop and create even more problems.

  • Don’t disassemble the laptop by yourself unless you’re a professional.

  • Do not clean the battery with alcohol or water.

 

A plan to rescue your laptop after a spill.

  1. Turn it off immediately by pressing the power button and disconnect from the power source. Don’t try to save your documents and close all the windows before switching your laptop off. You need to turn off the laptop before its motherboard gets shorted. Touching the motherboard with your bare hands could also short it. Replacing the motherboard will cost you around half of your laptop’s price.

  2. Use a paper towel, thick toilet paper, or microfiber cloth to blot up residual liquids from the keyboard and outside surface.

  3. Slide a panel off of the bottom of the laptop and gently remove the battery. But this step is not so simple on newer laptop models, including Microsoft Surface Laptop, MacBook, etc.

  4. Unplug all cables, USB devices, wireless adapters, controllers, memory cards, and other external hardware.

  5. Place a towel on a flat surface, and put your laptop on it upside down to let remaining liquids drain out.

    If you’re afraid that liquid leaks through to internal parts of your laptop, motherboard, or components, like your memory and storage drive, you can remove them too. Some models of laptops have panels that allow for their removal. Remember that you shouldn’t touch the motherboard with bare hands because you can short it if there is a charge left.

    All those wet parts should be dried, but if the liquid was soda, coffee, or juice, you should clean them out with a cotton swab applied with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This dissolves stickiness and cleans dirt without any damage. Leave everything to air-dry after you finish and do not use a hairdryer.

  6. If your laptop is under warranty, call the manufacturer. If your laptop has a designated repair store like Apple, contact them. Otherwise, look for local repair stores.

 

The good news

If your laptop will not turn on, it doesn’t mean that you lost all your documents, photos, and other important files. It is still possible to recover data from your hard drive, so even if you couldn’t save your computer, at least you can retrieve all the files you had.

Seeking professional laptop repair help is a far better solution because spills that are cleaned by a professional’s hands within a few days will save your laptop 100%. So, if you spill water or any drinks on your computer, unplug it, turn it off, wipe out the residual liquids from the surface, and take it to the laptop repair shop right away.

To safeguard your laptop in the future, we recommend you buying a silicone keyboard cover.