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How To Save A Laptop If It Gets Wet

Spilling a drink on your laptop doesn’t have to be a kiss of death and a ticket to a replacement. You just have to know what to do about it, and act accordingly. During break-time, local cafes and restaurants are, for many, the home office. That’s until the fateful day when you spill your latte all over your laptop. Liquid can destroy electronics quickly, but your computer may be salvageable if you act fast. Here’s how to save a laptop if it gets wet.

Also Read: Cleaning Your Laptop From The Inside

Now, what do we do when liquid gets spilled on our laptops?


Turn It Off NOW!

First of all, don’t panic. The first thing to do is actually unplugging the power cable, then holding down the power button for five to seven seconds until it’s totally off. Don’t waste time trying to properly shut it down.

If the computer is left on, even for a few extra moments, you could cause a short circuit, leaving the components inside with permanent damage. The quicker you can turn off the machine, the better chance you have of saving the computer.

If you can easily remove the battery, that should be your next step. Some laptops still have batteries that come out with a simple latch, while others make you unscrew the entire back-plate to access the battery.

If you’re comfortable doing so, go ahead and open it up. Otherwise, leave it closed. Remove any USB drives or dongles plugged into the laptop as well.
You want to make sure nothing is trying to draw even a trickle of power from the system.

Stay Safe And Don’t Panic | How To Save A Laptop If It Gets Wet

Safety is the first thing that typically goes out the window when you’re in panic-mode. We can’t tell you how important it is to remove yourself from any potential shock hazard — especially if you’re standing in water or your clothes are wet.

If that’s the case, rather than trying to unplug it from the wall, find the circuit breaker or switch for that source of power and switch it off from there. If you see (or feel) any heat, smoke, steam, bubbling, bulging or melting, avoid handling the device.


Turn Your Laptop Upside Down And Let It Drain

Take a dry cloth and wipe up any excess liquid from the surface of the laptop. Make sure to open the lid as far back as it will go.

Turn the laptop upside down, wrap a towel or something absorbent, and let the water drain out of it. You don’t have to open the laptop if you aren’t comfortable doing so, but if you are, remove the back-plate and wipe off the components with a lint free cloth before letting it sit to drain.

  • Leave it like that for 24 hours if you can; that’s ideal timing. If you don’t have the time, we’d say a minimum of four hours. Even though it seems dry, these parts do absorb a lot of water, so that just gives it time to dissipate any liquid.
  • Open-air drying is best in these situations. Rice doesn’t do much in the way of fixing a spill.
    What winds up happening is that you have to do more work in cleaning out rice, which could pop some of the components. It really doesn’t work, and if anything, it could harm the system in the future.

The Final Straw – Take It To A Repair Shop

At this point, you could plug the laptop back in and turn it on. In many cases, it should boot back up again.

Just because something works after you dried it out doesn’t mean it’s fixed. Once the fluid intrudes, even after it’s dried, it can leave behind minerals that carry electricity where it doesn’t belong. Something like this ends up causing increased corrosion-damage over time.

This is especially crucial if you spilled something other than water — like soda or coffee — since those will undoubtedly leave damaging residue behind. A good repair shop will clean the components with powerful solvents or ultrasonic cleaning machines that do a very thorough job.


Last Word | How To Save A Laptop If It Gets Wet

If you’re tech-savvy and don’t want to spend the money at a repair shop, here’s a long-story-short solution for you:

  • Open up the laptop,
  • Grab a toothbrush,
  • Dip it in a bit of 90 percent or higher isopropyl alcohol, and
  • Scrub away any residue you can find on the components.

Use caution as you clean to avoid damaging or accidentally knocking off small board components.

  • Pay close attention to the connectors and ends of ribbon cables to prevent corrosion of their contact surfaces.
  • Once the board is clean and dry, you can check the cable ends for signs of corrosion, then reassemble everything and turn it on.

Note: If your battery came into contact with any liquid, we recommend buying a new one. Liquid can not only damage a battery, but it can also render the device unsafe to use. When in doubt, consult a professional.

Well, there you have it guys! Happy cleaning your laptop and good luck!

Written by Ahsan Gardezi