How to Care for a Laptop After Spilling Water or a Drink on It
We’ve all been there, beavering away at our laptops and not realizing how close our drink is to it before accidentally knocking it over on our device.
But there’s really no point in fussing and fuming as time is of the essence and every second counts when it comes to making sure no real damage is done.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to minimize internal component damage to your laptop after a spill. Plus, we’ll tell you how you can protect your laptop from future spills – just in case.
1. Switch Your Laptop Off
First things first. Forget about saving files and just disconnect your laptop’s power supply ASAP. If it’s connected to an adapter cable:
- Unplug the power source from the wall.
- Remove the power lead from your computer.
- Hold the power button down until your computer completely shuts down.
- Remove the battery if it’s accessible and you feel confident doing so. Some laptops make removing the battery easy by including a release latch. Others require removing the entire back-plate.
- Remove all external devices (mouse, USB drives, dongles, etc.). Potentially, they could continue to draw power from your computer, which is the last thing you want.
The longer your laptop has power, the more the liquid seeping through to the internal components could damage them. Do the above steps as quickly as you can to help minimize electrical and circuitry damage.
2. Dry and Drain the Liquid
Another thing that needs to be done immediately after switching your computer off is to soak up and drain as much liquid on the surface of the laptop as possible. Here’s how:
- Blot the excess liquid on the keyboard using absorbent paper towels or cloth/fabric. Get the surface as dry as possible.
- On a flat surface, in a reversed “V” shape, flip the laptop upside down to drain liquid from the keyboard, screen, air vents, and other crevices. It can sit like that until you’re confident most of the liquid has drained.
- If the liquid is plain water, allow your laptop to sit open overnight to dry the leftover droplets inside. Whatever you do, don’t turn your computer back on until you’re 100% sure it’s dry.
The type of liquid makes a difference. Plain water is less acidic. Sugary and alcoholic liquids are more acidic and conductive when mixed with electrical goods. Not only will it leave a sticky residue when dry, but it can also quickly cause permanent damage to the internal components. In the worst-case scenario, it can cause them to overheat and stop working.
3. Open Your Laptop
If it’s possible and you feel confident doing so, open your laptop to remove and dry the components.
You should especially remove the hard drive and RAM to dry and clean those parts with some cotton swabs and alcohol (if the liquid was not water). Take your time to carefully remove each component, dry and clean them, then carefully replace them.
Alternatively, get a specialist else to do this.
4. Take Your Laptop to a Professional
Is your laptop still under warranty? If so, go over the details of your warranty, as you may be able to get it fixed or replaced at no cost. Or you can take your laptop to a reputable repair store. If your laptop has a dedicated repair store like Apple, take it there; or to a business that specializes in fixing your make of laptop.
How can I protect my laptop from water spills?
To help keep your laptop safe and more water-resistant, you can arm it with protective gear. Consider the following options:
· A plastic or silicone keyboard cover. This is probably the best option to prevent liquid from getting inside your laptop via your keyboard. The water-resistant keyboard cover should have a snug fit directly over the keys. Therefore, get one specifically for your laptop make and model. They’re also available in different colors.
To protect the outside of your laptop:
· Use a waterproof case for protection against small spills. Cases can be customized to completely fit the top and bottom of your laptop. Some are made from heavy plastic, which is perfect water-resistant material. The case will leave the ports and fans areas uncovered. Therefore, it shouldn’t be relied upon to protect from major spills.
· You can purchase a padded waterproof or water-resistant sleeve. For extra protection, some designs include outer and inner bags. This option is convenient when you’re traveling.
Keep Your Drinks Somewhere Else
Although it’s much nicer to have your drink by your side as you work, keeping it off your desk is beneficial for preventing laptop spills. Additionally, if you place it somewhere that requires you to walk to get it, it could serve as an excuse to get up and stretch your legs, which can maybe go towards your daily steps. Also, there would be no need to invest in laptop waterproof gear if you do this.
Act Fast to Mitigate Liquid Damage to Your Laptop
An accidental liquid spill all over your laptop can feel like the end of the world. Liquid damage can cause havoc on internal components and circuitry, leading to extensive repairs – or even worse – requiring you to get a new laptop. Luckily, when you know what to do, you can minimize the damage.
In this scenario, you should immediately disconnect the power to your laptop and turn it off. Disconnect all external devices and get the laptop and internal components as dry as possible. Getting it checked out by a specialist is a good idea. Also, find out whether it’s still under warranty.
Did you ever spill liquid on your laptop? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section.