Spilled Water on a Laptop? Here’s how to save it.

Water and electronics don’t mix. You’ve probably heard all the warnings about not drinking near your computer using water bottles or cups with lids. But sometimes bad things happen to good people.

So what do you do if you spilled water on a laptop?

7447016 - businesswoman trying to save her laptop from the swimming pool

Image courtesey of: Imagehit Limited and 123rf.com

  1. Turn off the computer – Water and other liquids are excellent conductors of electricity. When water seeps into places it shouldn’t, it can allow electricity to move in ways the laptop wasn’t designed to handle.So cut power as quickly as you can. Do this by holding the power button down until the laptop shuts off.
  1. Unplug – If your laptop is plugged in, unplug it. If you have external devices like mice or flash drives plugged in, unplug those too. This will remove all external sources of electricity.
  1. Remove the battery – Flip your laptop over and remove the battery if possible. Many laptops have a simple slid latch that allows the battery to pop out.
  1. Dry the outside – use a clean, dry towel to remove any excess water on the outside of the laptop. The dryer you can get it the better.
  1. Wait – There may still be water inside the laptop. Find another dry towel and lay it flat on a table. Open the laptop as far as you can and lay the laptop keyboard-down on the towel. Let it drip dry for a couple of hours.

Pro Tip: If you have a large bag of rice lying around you can pour the rice into a cookie sheet and set the laptop on that. The rice will help draw out the water.  

Some people have reported success with using heat to dry their laptop. This method can be risky, as it may literally cook components inside your computer. We don’t recommend trying it. But if you do use a hair dryer or oven to dry your laptop, be sure to maintain a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

If you spilled something sticky like a Moxie or a coffee Coolata, drying the laptop might not fix the problem. Stickiness can cause real issues with delicate components. In that case, we recommend taking the laptop to your local tech shop or calling Technology Solutions Inc. at 207-368-2880.


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