How to Save a Laptop from Liquid Damage
This wikiHow teaches you how to prevent your laptop from sustaining damage immediately after spilling a liquid on it. Keep in mind that, while the information below provides the best way to handle a spill yourself, there is no way to guarantee without fail that your laptop can be saved; similarly, seeking professional help is a far better solution.
1. Unplug the laptop and turn it off.
2. Remove the laptop from liquid.
3. Turn the laptop upside-down and remove battery.
4. Unplug external hardware.
5. Open the laptop and lay it down on a towel.
6. Wipe any obvious remaining liquid.
7. Remove all hardware you can.
8. Pat dry internal components and remove residue.
9. Let dry for at least 24 hours before turning back on.
Turn off the laptop and disconnect it from its power source immediately.To do so, just hold down the laptop's power button. If the liquid touches the circuits on the laptop while they are active, your laptop will most likely short out, so time is very much of the essence.
- To disconnect the laptop from a power source, simply remove the charger cable from the laptop. It's typically on the left or right side of the laptop's housing.
Remove the laptop from any residual liquid.This will both minimize your laptop's exposure to more liquid and decrease the risk of electrical shock.
Turn the laptop upside-down and remove the battery if possible.You can typically do this by turning your laptop upside-down, sliding a panel off of the bottom of the laptop, and gently tugging on the battery.
- This step is not possible on some laptops, including MacBooks without first unscrewing the bottom of the laptop from the rest of the housing.
Unplug all external hardware.This includes the following items:
- USB devices (flash drives, wireless adapters, chargers, etc.)
- Memory cards
- Controllers (e.g., your mouse)
- The laptop charger
Place a towel on a flat surface.This is where you'll place your laptop for the next couple of days, so make sure you choose a warm, dry, unobtrusive area.
Open your laptop as wide as possible and set it face-down on the towel.Depending on your laptop's flexibility, doing so will result in anything from a tent-shaped laptop to a completely flat one. To speed up the process of drying the liquid you can angle a fan at the liquid to help evaporate the liquid faster.
Wipe up any obvious liquid.Places to wipe include the fronts and backs of the screen, the laptop's housing, and the keyboard.
- Make sure your laptop is still partially facing down while you do this so that any excess liquid continues to drain.
Ground yourself before touching your computer's internals.Grounding yourself will remove any static electricity from your clothing or body. Static electricity can easily kill circuitry, so performing this step before touching the RAM cards or the hard drive is crucial.
Remove any hardware that you can.If you're uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the notion of removing RAM, your computer's hard drive, and other detachable internal components, consider taking your laptop into a professional repair service instead.
- You can typically find manuals for your specific computer that detail hardware replacement and removal online. Simply search for your computer's make and model number followed by "RAM removal" (or whichever component you need to remove).
- For a MacBook, you'll first have to unscrew each of the ten screws holding the base of the housing together.
Pat dry any wet internal components.To do this, you will need a microfiber cloth (or an otherwise lint-free rag).
- If there is excess water in your laptop's internal areas, you first need to drain it.
- Be extremely gentle while doing this.
Remove dry residue.Use a lint-free cloth to buff out any non-water stains gently, or use compressed air to blow away dust, grit, and any other non-liquid residue.
Let your laptop dry.You'll want to leave it alone for at least one day.
- Consider storing your laptop in a dry, warm place. For example, a dehumidifier may improve drying time.
- Never use a hair dryer to speed up your laptop's drying process, as a hair dryer's heat concentration is intense enough to harm your laptop's internal parts.
Reassemble the laptop, then turn it on.If it doesn't boot up or you notice distortion in the sound or display, you'll need to take your laptop to a professional repair service (e.g., a Best Buy tech department).
Remove any residue if necessary.Even if your laptop is up and running, you may have to contend with sticky or greasy substance left over. You can remove this residue by gently buffing the afflicted area with a damp, lint-free cloth as you used earlier when drying the laptop.
QuestionMy brother spilled juice over my laptop. I cleaned the surface and didn't turn it off because I was confused but after 5 minutes the screen went black and colorful lines appeared on the screen and now it will not turn back on. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should have turned it off right away. It sounds like your laptop has shorted out and likely won't recover from this. Bring it in to a repair shop to find out if its fixable.Thanks!
QuestionI spilled some liquid on my laptop keyboard. The computer works fine, but some of the keys are not working. How do I repair this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerChances are the "liquid" has dried and gummed up some of the keys. Try cleaning underneath the keys (i.e. removing the actual letter or number plate and clean thoroughly underneath.) Be careful not to break the plastic arms that are like the hinges of the key!Thanks!
QuestionIf I immediately unplugged my computer when liquid was spilled on it, could it be all right?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt could, but every situation is different. I spilled milk on mine and turned it off and then back on 20 minutes later and it was fine, except for some speaker damage. So it really just depends how bad the spill was, where it got into the machine, etc.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if none of this worked for my laptop?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI removed the back from mine and used a blow dryer on it. It responded with a blinking light and, after I let it sit for 12 hours, it was fixed.Thanks!
QuestionIf my SD card was inside the laptop when the water damage occurred, could it still be salvageable?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf the SD card did not come in contact with the liquid, then it might still be usable. If it did come into contact with the water, you should try to pry it open carefully and let it dry out overnight. If there is any visible or sticky residue, you need to wash it off first.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if the liquid has sat for multiple days?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you turned it off immediately after the spill and removed the battery right after, you can try opening the board and dry the liquid out. But if you have the battery inside your laptop with the liquid inside for many days, there is a chance it will short-circuit when you boot it up, if it will boot up.Thanks!
QuestionMy laptop got wet and I dried it out for several days. The touch pad is the only thing that seems to be affected, occasionally it doesn't respond. Is it worth having it checked out by a professional?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe circuitry may be damaged on your touchpad and it is probably worth getting a check, if you haven't already, try seeing if your touchpad was disabled by accident first.Thanks!
QuestionIf the battery of your laptop is built in, can you open it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn many models you can. To do so, take off the back case of the laptop where the battery is indicated, then when you see a black bar that says power something, there's the battery. However, not all laptops can be opened without voiding the warranty, while some laptops are only suitable to be opened by professionals, such as the MacBook Air. Read the manual accompanying your laptop for more details.Thanks!
QuestionCan I retrieve pictures from a damaged laptop?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can take your hard drive out, put it in an appropriate hard drive enclosure, and plug it into a working computer via a USB and boot it up to the external drive. However, if the hard drive is also dead, you will not be able to boot it up.Thanks!
QuestionIt has been a few days since I spilled water on my laptop. Will this method still work?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerProbably not. The water already got inside your laptop and affected the circuitry.Thanks!
I spilled a bit of coffee (like 3 drops) on my touchpad, and now my cursor wont stop shaking up and down. Even when using my mouse. What can I do to save it?
I spelled some water on the keyboard of my pc 2 days ago.then I switched the pc immediately but till now it won't work though I tried to dry it. Is there a possibility my pc will switch on again?
How do I salvage a laptop after spilling soda on it?
When I spilled milk on my Acer ChromeBook c740, the speakers broke - how can I fix them (because it's a school laptop)?
Fabric softener spilled into my ports (USB, etc.); I wiped most of it out and could still smell it. I switched it on and it worked. However when I tried to switch it on, it didn't work and started blowing wind out the fan even when I plugged in the charger. Can it be fixed and did I void my warranty?
- Just because your laptop is working after drying does not mean it has been fixed. You should absolutely back up your data and take your laptop in for a thorough check-up.
- YouTube both tend to have comprehensive, advanced tutorials on stripping down a broken laptop.
- Some companies have a spill provision in their warranties; check on this before opening your laptop's housing, since performing any repairs on your own will void your warranty.
- If at all possible, attempt to take a video of the entire disassemble process so you don't have any trouble reassembling the laptop.
- Several companies sell keyboard covers or membranes for laptops. While these covers will change the way your keyboard responds to input, they will also prevent direct spills from affecting your laptop.
- Consider purchasing an "accidental spill" warranty if you know you are going to be around liquids frequently. This may add a few hundred dollars to the purchase price of your laptop, but it will be much cheaper than having to buy a new one.
- You may also find it helpful to angle a fan at the keyboard for several hours to evaporate any excess liquid from inside the keys.
- Water and electricity do not mix! Make sure all plugs and other points of electrical contact are completely dry before connecting your laptop to a power source.
- Don't turn on your laptop in the middle of the drying process.
Things You'll Need
Various small screwdrivers
Plastic bags to hold small parts and screws
Sources and Citations
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