How to Care for a Laptop After You Spill Water or a Glass on It

We've all been there, walking away from our laptops and not realizing how close our drink is before accidentally spilling it on our device.

But there's no point in fussing and fuming as time is running out and every second counts when it comes to ensuring no real damage is done.

In this article, we'll look at how to minimize damage to your laptop's internal components after a spill. Plus, we'll walk you through how to protect your laptop from future spills, just in case.

1. Shut down your laptop

First of all. Forget about saving files and just unplug your laptop's power as soon as possible. If connected to an adapter cable:

  1. Unplug the power source from the wall.
  2. Remove the power cord from your computer.
  3. Hold down the power button until your computer shuts down completely.
  4. Remove the battery if it's accessible and you feel confident doing so. Some laptops make battery removal easier by including a release latch. Others require removing the entire back plate.
  5. Remove all external devices (mice, USB sticks, dongles, etc.). Potentially, they could continue to be powered by your computer, which is the last thing you want.

The longer your laptop is powered, the more liquid seeping into the internal components could damage them. Perform the above steps as quickly as possible to minimize electrical and circuit damage.

2. Dry and drain the liquid

Another thing to do immediately after turning off your computer is to absorb and drain as much liquid as possible from the surface of the laptop. Here's how:

  1. Blot excess liquid from the keyboard using paper towels or an absorbent cloth/cloth. Get the surface as dry as possible.
  2. On a flat surface, in an inverted "V" shape, turn the laptop upside down to drain liquid from the keyboard, screen, vents, and other crevices. It can stay that way until you are sure that most of the liquid has drained away.
  3. If the liquid is plain water, leave your laptop open overnight to dry any remaining 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 the difference. Plain water is less acidic. Sugary and alcoholic liquids are more acidic and conductive when mixed with electrical appliances. Not only will it leave a sticky residue when dry, but it can also quickly cause permanent damage to internal components. In the worst case, this can cause them to overheat and stop working.

3. Open your laptop

If possible and you feel confident, open your laptop to remove and dry the components.

You mostly need to remove the hard drive and RAM to dry and clean those parts with cotton swabs and alcohol (if the liquid wasn't water). Take your time to carefully remove each component, dry and clean them, then carefully replace them.

Otherwise, ask another specialist to do it.

4. Trust your laptop to a professional

Is your laptop still under warranty? If so, review the details of your warranty, as you may be able to have it repaired 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 a company that specializes in repairing your brand of laptop.

Additional FAQs

How can I protect my laptop from water spills?

To help keep your laptop safe and more water resistant, you can equip 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 through your keyboard. The water-resistant keyboard cover should fit snugly directly over the keys. Therefore, get one specifically for your laptop brand and model. They are also available in different colors.

To protect the exterior 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 thick plastic, a perfectly water-resistant material. The case will leave the port and fan areas uncovered. Therefore, it should not be relied upon to protect against major spills.

· You can purchase a waterproof or water-resistant padded sleeve. For added protection, some models include exterior and interior bags. This option is convenient when traveling.

Keep your drinks somewhere else

While it's much nicer to have your drink by your side while you work, keeping it off your desk is beneficial for avoiding laptop spills. Also, if you place it in a place that requires you to walk to get it, it could serve as an excuse to get up and stretch your legs, which can perhaps 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 on your laptop can feel like the end of the world. Liquid damage can damage internal components and circuitry, leading to major repairs — or even worse — forcing you to buy a new laptop. Fortunately, when you know what to do, you can minimize the damage.

In this scenario, you should immediately unplug your laptop's power and turn it off. Disconnect all external devices and dry the laptop and internal components as much as possible. Having it checked by a specialist is a good idea. Also check if it is still under warranty.

Have you ever spilled liquid on your laptop? How was it? Let us know in the "Comments" section.

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