Save a Laptop from Water Damage

Edited by Leomar Umpad, Charmed, Ephraim, Eng and 10 others

A little coffee spill on your Laptop may not affect anything at all. However, if you accidentally spilled your whole cup of coffee or water on your Laptop that would be another story, and it may be fatal to your device. We have outlined below the steps on how to prevent, or at least minimize, the damage you will have due to a spilled liquid on your Laptop.

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General Steps

  1. 1
    Do not panic.
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  2. 2
    Cut off power supply on your Laptop.
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  3. 3
    Remove all accessories connected to your Laptop.
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  4. 4
    Let it dry.
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  5. 5
    Remove vital parts from your Laptop.
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  6. 6
    Clean your Laptop.
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  7. 7
    Put back the removed parts.
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  8. 8
    Check for the extent of damage.
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Do Not Panic

Your safety should be the top priority. This is the most important thing that you should note. When your Laptop has had water spilled on it, you need to act fast. Your presence of mind is needed in order to save your Laptop from further damage. Do not do anything that could endanger your life. Remember, liquid is a good electricity conductor, and you do not want to electrocute yourself.

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Cut off power supply on your Laptop

  1. 1
    Do not attempt to normally shut down your Laptop using the operating system's shutdown function, as it may delay the process.
    Immediately remove the battery as soon as your charger has been unplugged from the A/C outlet.
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  2. 2
    The next most important thing that you should do is to shut down the device and cut off any power on to prevent your Laptop from being short-circuited.
    You should be careful, and the first thing that you need to do is disconnect the charger from your Laptop. Normally, you would simply unplug the A/C plug on your Laptop to cut-off the power supply. This is not advisable in this situation, as liquids may also be spilled on the area near the A/C adapter on your Laptop. It is recommended to remove the charger plug directly from the socket, as this place has the least amount of liquid on it (close to none with a normal spillage).
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  3. 3
    Next, remove your Laptop battery.
    This is to completely turn off your device. The faster that you can remove the power and battery, the higher chances you will have of saving your Laptop from damages.
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Remove all accessories connected to your Laptop

After making sure that power supply is cut off, remove all accessories attached to your Laptop. These include any external mouse and keyboard, USB storage device, printer port cable and all cables and adapters attached to your device.

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Let it dry

Make sure that you remove all the spilled liquids from your Laptop, and you can turn it upside down to prevent liquids from going down further into your device. After turning it over and making sure that gravity has done its part to remove the liquids, you may now proceed with wiping out any liquid trapped in your Laptop. You can use a lint-free cloth to clean your monitor, keyboard and all openings to your Laptop that may cause the liquid to enter into it. For hard to reach areas, you can use a Q-tip.

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Remove vital parts from your Laptop

  1. 1
    Do not attempt to open your Laptop if you are not experienced with doing so.
    Let a qualified person do this step if you have not ever done this before.
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  2. 2
    Remember, static charge will also damage your Laptop.
    Always make sure that you properly insulate yourself from static discharge before opening the Laptop case.
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  3. 3
    You need to disassemble your Laptop case in order to see if water has entered the internal areas of your device.
    Note that some drinks can be corrosive and may damage internal circuits and parts. The first thing that you want to remove is the hard drive. Check to see if it has any liquids on it and let it dry. Then remove all cards and drives that have signs of spillage.
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Clean your Laptop

  1. 1
    Do not worry:
    Without power on them, Laptop parts can sustain being wet. However do not overdo it. You should always make sure to keep the wetness minimal.
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  2. 2
    While drying your Laptop, put your battery, hard drive and card in a plastic bag with silica gel packs to remove all moisture from them.
    If you do not have silica gel packs, a bowl of rice will do the trick.
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  3. 3
    Remove any dry residue on your Laptop by using a toothbrush or a lint-free cloth. Make sure that you do this gently so as not to disturb the parts from their position.
    You can also use a blower to help you remove the residues.
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  4. 4
    If you spilled water on it, you need to rinse it with distilled water.
    If other drinks have been spilled on it, you need to rinse your Laptop under a faucet to completely remove the residue on it. Follow that by rinsing with distilled water.
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  5. 5
    If the spilled liquid is oil-based, rinsing it with water alone cannot remove it. Use a denatured alcohol to remove the oils and then rinse it under tap water before finishing with the distilled water.
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  6. 6
    When you are done with cleaning, let it dry naturally up to two days.
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Put back the removed parts

When drying is done, put back the parts together. Again, if you are not the one who removed the parts, have an experienced person do this for you. Double check for moisture and liquid presence on every part inserted to your Laptop.

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Check for extent of damage

Now that your Laptop has been reassembled, check to see if there are any abnormalities. If there are, you have the option to just make do with it or have it fixed. If your device has not completely turned on, double check the connections and make sure that you have a working electric supply. After making sure that this is not a problem with loose connections or electric supply, bring your Laptop to a service center to be checked.

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Save a Laptop from water damage using the rice method

  1. 1
    Turn off your Laptop immediately.
    After getting your Laptop wet with any type of liquid, you must turn it off. Leaving the device on after getting it wet will allow the liquid to travel through the circuits of your Laptop, thus causing more damage to your Laptop. Shutting the Laptop off will help stop the process completely by shutting off all electrical current to the Laptop.
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  2. 2
    Dry all parts of the Laptop.
    Check it from the AC adapter to the wire plug itself to ensure that those connections will not cause an electrical shock surge to the Laptop when the Laptop is plugged in again.
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  3. 3
    Pull out the battery.
    You will need to later dry that component of the Laptop separately from the rest of the Laptop device. Pulling out the battery will also help, for the liquid may have gotten in the battery also. Some people actually leave the battery in during the rest of the process rather than drying the battery later, causing more issues when the device is powered back on.
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  4. 4
    Use a paper towel to dry off all the excess liquid on the device.
    Do this before proceeding to the next step of this process. Only dry the things that are reachable so that you do not make a mistake, causing a piece of the paper towel or lint from a cloth to be captured in an area from which you cannot retrieve it out of the device.
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  5. 5
    Submerge the computer into uncooked rice completely.
    In order to allow the rice to soak out all the liquid in the Laptop. Take the battery and submerge it into rice separately, so that the rice can soak up the liquid from the battery.
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  6. 6
    Leave the pieces of the Laptop submerged in rice for about two days.
    This will ensure that all of the liquid is completely dried up, and your computer will be more likely to run smoothly.
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  7. 7
    Plug the Laptop in without utilizing the battery.
    This way, you use only use the power from the chord to the computer which will ensure that you do not cause any damage to the battery or computer.
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  8. 8
    Put your battery back into your computer.
    In order to ensure that everything is running operationally, if it is not running perfectly, then you will need to consult a professional on the matter.
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What should you do if you accidentally spill liquid near electricity

This is a serious problem that everyone needs to pay attention to. There are two possible consequences that can arise from accidentally spilling liquid near all electric equipment: Electric shocks and short circuits -- and I am sure you don't want these to happen to you and to your beloved ones at home. Here are some IMPORTANT points that you must keep in mind if this happens.

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  1. 1
    Wear-your-gloves-fox-sign-s-9736.gif
    Wear your personal safety equipment for electrical work. Do not do anything stupid with electricity without wearing shoes, slippers, or gloves or else you will get electrocuted.
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  2. 2
    Turn/switch off the main electricity power or fuse box.
    This is the second most important of all, because if you accidentally spill liquid near, for example, electrical outlets, and you try to wipe the water off around it, there is a tendency you will get electric shocks. So, in order to avoid this, you have to turn off your main electricity power first before cleaning everything up.
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  3. 3
    Switch off and unplug the electric equipment.
    No one wants his property, especially cellphones and laptops, damaged because of negligence. If there's still time or if it's possible, unplug your precious property quickly.
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  4. 4
    Dry the spilled liquid up after doing steps one to three, and make sure that you dry the water spill on the affected area to avoid any incidents like slipping on floor, water getting into other electric equipment, etc.
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Can I use a q-tip and alcohol to clean the internal parts of a Laptop?

Cleaning a Laptop by yourself sounds better than going to a computer technician and let him do the work, because it saves you money and time. As you already know, there are two major parts of a Laptop that you can clean: External and the internal parts.

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Internal parts of a Laptop are referred to as its motherboard, or the main circuit board of a device. You may have experienced cleaning the external parts of your Laptop with q-tip and alcohol, which is typically okay, so you need not worry. But, if you are going to clean with those materials on the Laptop's motherboard, you could damage the entire hardware. So, in other words, it is not recommended to clean the internal parts of a Laptop with q-tip and alcohol.

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The effect of cleaning the Laptop's motherboard

The motherboard of a Laptop is made up of small parts, chips, expansion cards, etc. If you are clean it with q-tip and alcohol, you could damage the whole motherboard from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).

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QTIP MOTHERBOARD -ERMI.jpg

What is Electrostatic Discharge? It simply means the release of static electric charge when two things or objects come in contact. You could experience this the moment you place your feet on the carpet and then touch the doorknob or any metal objects. The feeling is called "electrical grounding". The same goes if you clean your Laptop. If you try to clean it without electrostatic precautions, you could get shocked and you could destroy your device.

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In addition, when electrostatic discharge happens, it will heat up some internal parts in the motherboard which are likely to affect and melt the other electrical parts. So, it is not advisable to touch anything on the Laptop's motherboard, because you could damage the important parts, especially the tiny chips in your Laptop.

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However, in order to clean the Laptop's motherboard without damaging and touching anything, you can use the two highly recommended Laptop cleaners -- a compressed air or a portable vacuum cleaner (battery powered) instead of q-tip and alcohol, but make sure that you wear safety equipment, like a static wristband, to avoid grounding yourself.

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Warning

Electrostatic discharge still happens, even if you unplug the device. This is because the power supply and a computer's monitor store a great deal of electricity, and this could stop your heart beat and damage the computer due to a voltage surge. You are better off not touching the internal parts of a Laptop UNLESS you are a computer whiz, and you know what to clean internally.

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Oil spill on Laptop �" how long it takes to dry

If you accidentally spill oil on your Laptop, it may take a while to dry, depending on how much you have spilled on it. It also depends on the type of oil. If the oil dries, your Laptop might not be able to work properly as it did before. If you only spill a small amount of oil on your Laptop, you may do some things quickly to avoid any serious technical problems later on. If you accidentally spill a great amount of oil on your Laptop, it will obviously take longer to dry, perhaps even as much as a month, and your Laptop still might not be able to work properly when it finally is dry. Without immediate action at the time you spill oil on your Laptop, it will eventually die. However, there are still possible solutions that you can do in order to avoid Laptop malfunction. Here are some tips that you may want to follow if you accidentally spill oil on your Laptop.

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Oil spill on laptop - ermin.jpg

Things you need to have

  1. 1
    Cleaners and solvents.
    Water can't remove oil from your Laptop. It may just become worse if oil and water are both in it. A stronger liquid cleaner is needed in this problem. Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used by many people when they have accidentally spilled liquid or oil on their laptops. But you may want to buy a proper solvent for cleaning oil residue on Laptop to be sure.
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  2. 2
    A soft and lint-free cloth.
    You will use this with the solvent for cleaning the oil.
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Things you need to do

  1. 1
    Turn your Laptop off and remove all accessories.
    This is the most important thing you need to do if you accidentally spill any liquid or oil on your Laptop.
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  2. 2
    Turn your Laptop upside down for 24 hours.
    Turning it upside down will help so that the oil won't get through the internal parts of the Laptop.
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  3. 3
    Clean the oil residue after 24 hours.
    Clean the greasy residue from the Laptop using your soft, lint-free cloth with the solvent, and blot it up gently on the outside of your Laptop. Be careful not to clean it on the Laptop's LCD and the internal parts or else you can get electrically shocked. (Read the above information about Electrostatic Discharge.)
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  4. 4
    Turn it on to see if it's going to work.
    Typically, if you accidentally spill oil on your Laptop, it will be difficult to remove it, and it could cause Laptop malfunction depending on how much you have spilled oil on it.
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  • Take note: Oil is thicker than water, so it is really hard to clean it up. It is difficult to dry as well, and even when dry, it leaves greasy residue. By following the instructions above, you might be able to rescue your Laptop from any malfunctions later on.
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Tips

  • Use paper towels as a first resort. If paper towels are unavailable ,then use a cloth that will leave few to no traces of lint.
  • If you do not have a dry place to let the Laptop dry in the rice, then use a plastic bag to dry the Laptop.
  • Use a fresh sealed bag of rice in order to submerge the Laptop.
  • The steps we have indicated above are precautionary measures to prevent any further damage on your Laptop due to liquid spill. If the spill has damaged it in the first place, these steps cannot do anything to help fix the problem.
  • This is not a repair guide but a fail-safe recovery guide.

Questions and Answers

What gets damaged when oil spills on the Laptop motherboard?

Computers are not supposed to get wet. It is common knowledge that the small microchips inside can be destroyed by just a few drops of liquid. This is the reason why many laptops are criticized for having keyboards that do not at all protect the inner parts from accidental spillage.

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The part that you need to most carefully keep from getting wet is the motherboard, which is the "brain" of the computer. The motherboard carries the important components of the entire computer system, like the central processing unit (CPU) and memory. These two major components link to the other peripherals of the computer. One of the major problems that arise when this gets wet is that it can short circuit, which then causes the parts to get burned. Once this happens, all the other parts of the computer will most likely stop functioning as well.

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Spilling oil on the motherboard is even worse because it is more difficult to clean it up. Unlike water, oil does not easily evaporate, and more likely seeps into the different parts. If you spill water onto your computer which reaches the motherboard, it is at times solvable by just letting it dry and not turning the computer on until it is dry. With oil, you will really have to open up your computer and manually get rid of the oil. Oil will also clog the motherboard's connection to the other peripherals. In other words, the likelihood that the CPU and memory will get damaged, as well everything that is interconnected, is high.

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How many days after I can start my Laptop?

Some water poured on my Laptop smps, I removed my battery immediately and kept it for to dry ,, after how many days I can use my Laptop....

The longer the better with this sort of thing, but after a good 2-5 days, you should be able to examine it and ensure all the water has thoroughly dried up. Its really up to you whether to risk it or not, I would always play it safe though and let it go as long as I could.

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What do I prepare for when I turn my water-damaged Laptop back on?

A full glass of water was spilled on my Laptop. I have removed the battery and taken out the keyboard, and it's been draining upside down for three days now. I'm going to try putting it back together to see what the damage is, but I'm worried it will only work for a short time and then die completely. IF this is a legitimate fear, then I want to be able to quickly remove all the files I would like to save, but I don't know how best to do this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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The laptop should be all right to operate if you do not see any sign of moisture when you turn it over again. Put the battery and keyboard back in. Before you turn it on, it is advised to buy an external HDD to copy all of the information over to it. The size of the external disk drive must be equal or exceed the one in the laptop. Then, connect it to your USB inputs, and turn the notebook on. If the laptop boots up, copy everything from your internal disk drives to your external hard drive. Do not remove the files and just copy them. If your laptop works for several days, then it is safe to assume that the laptop has survived "drowning".

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Have you ever had success with the rice submerging method?

I've got a wet Laptop .... should I really go get a 20lb bag of rice and stick the Laptop in it... has it ever really worked... I see for phones success stories... but none for Laptops/Notebooks

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My wife's laptop is malfunctioning, is it permanent?

My wife spilled soda on her laptop. First she got a message that her USB drives were malfunctioning. Now its not connecting to WiFi, even though my daughter's laptop is connecting to it in the same house.. I have tried: She hasn't tried anything that I am aware of, I am out of town so I can't help unfortunately.. I think it was caused by: Soda spill.

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We are taking the bottom off of the Macbook pro, do we then remove the battery, dry it out and replace the bottom before putting it into the rice?

We spilled iced tea on it. We have removed the back, what next. I have tried: Nothing. I think it was caused by: Spill

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Can you get electrocuted when you spill water on your computer?

Can you get electrocuted when you spill water on your computer

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Categories : Hardware

Recent edits by: lolz123, beck, tds12061991

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