What do I do if I spill liquid (coffee, water, soda, whatever) on my laptop?
That’s a common question we get. Sadly, it’s usually after the fact. About 60% of laptops that have suffered something being spilled in them can be kept working if the proper steps are followed. Here’s a list of “DOs” and “DON’Ts” that may salvage your laptop.
THINGS NOT TO DO:
- Do NOT try to dry off your laptop with a blow dryer (we’ve seen a lot of people try this for water spills). You’ll melt your keys, and possibly damage other components as well.
- Do NOT turn your laptop on it’s side (especially the front side).
- Do NOT put your laptop in it’s laptop bag/case.
- Do NOT rinse out or rinse off your laptop (we’ve seen this happen for non-water spills such as soda spills).
- Do NOT put your laptop in the oven, in front of a heater or anywhere else like that to dry.
- Do NOT keep using your laptop.
THINGS TO DO:
- Unplug your laptop IMMEDIATELY.
- Pull the battery out of your laptop IMMEDIATELY. If possible, keep the laptop flat when you do this (ie: don’t turn it over or on it’s side if at all possible).
“Won’t I lose what I am working on?”
- Yes – but NOT doing #1 & #2 immediately may mean you lose your whole laptop and possibly all your data.
- Leave your laptop in the same orientation it was in when you spilled liquid in it.
- Immediately take it to a repair shop you trust – in the same orientation it was in when you spilled liquid in it.
- Now… the really important one…
When you get to the repair shop, be 100% honest with the technician.
Tell him what you spilled in it, when you spilled it, how long the machine was still on after the spill occurred, and where the liquid went into the laptop. This will increase your chances of the laptop being able to be repaired/cleaned with little to no replacement parts needed:
- The technician will know what they need to be cleaning off the components (and what to use to clean it off) – instead of guessing.
- The technician will know what directions they can move/flip the laptop to try to avoid getting your hard drive wet (did you know most every hard drive has a venting hole/slot someplace? getting liquid in the hole can help ensure you LOSE your data).
- The technician will know what special care is needed to disassemble the laptop. For instance, a laptop is pretty easy to take apart when it’s a water spill. If you spill soda (or coffee with lots of sugar) in the laptop though, it becomes more difficult as the soda/coffee dry, and special care needs to be taken to disassemble the laptop without breaking or stressing a component.
Don’t expect miracles, you aren’t guaranteed your laptop will ever work again – even if it was working when you pulled the power and battery. But following the steps above will help increase your chance of having a laptop that will keep working.