I spilled water into my laptop, how do I get it working again?

Spilling liquid into your laptop or keyboard can cause serious damage. The first step is to dry it thoroughly, and we'll look at one possible solution.

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While I was asleep, my cat must have tipped over a part full cup of water on my new laptop computer. The computer lid was closed and the AC power cord was connected when my daughter tried to turn it on in the morning. It did not turn on (and it hasn’t ever since, even after leaving it to dry out for a couple of weeks). There was also a small pool of water under the computer (about 5cm in diameter) and drips of water come from the keyboard when tipped over. What should I do to maximize my chances of getting it working?

I’m going to recommend an obscure long shot as something to try.

I’m also going to ask for help.

First, readers, if you have any suggestions to help in a situation such as this, please feel free to leave it in a comment below. I’m particularly interested in techniques that you’ve tried that have been proven to work.

Which is unlike what I’m about to suggest. smile

First, I need to set a some expectations.

The problem is that water conducts electricity. So the moment you turned the computer on while it was still wet inside, the computer likely experienced a number of short circuits and crossed connections. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that some of the electronics were damaged. The only solution, if that’s the case, is to isolate and replace the damaged components. That’ll require someone looking at the machine and attempting to diagnose the specific failure.

The problem is that water conducts electricity.

It’s worse if what was spilled is anything more than plain water. If it’s soda, coffee, tea, milk … whatever … when it dries it’s going to leave a residue. Be it a sticky sugary residue, powder of some sort, or who knows what else, anything but plain water is going to be much worse, and much less likely to be fixable.

Now, on to my off-the-wall idea.

It’s actually not that off-the-wall, as I’ve heard it recommended repeatedly for people who’ve dropped their cell phones in water. But I’ll throw it out there to use at your own risk…

Rice.

Place your laptop in a sealed container filled with uncooked rice for a few days.

My concern with this approach, of course, is that rice grains are small enough that they might end up in your laptop instead of around your laptop, which is what you really want. Perhaps you should bag the rice in nylon or some other very porous material.

The theory, that apparently works well for cell phones, is that the rice acts as a desiccant – absorbing moisture out of the air. If the container is properly sealed, the only place that moisture can come from is your laptop.

It’s a long shot, but given that the laptop’s not working, and as long as you can keep the rice outside of your machine, it couldn’t hurt.

But as I said, I’m interested in what other ideas people might have. This is not an uncommon situation.

There are 85 comments:

  1. Seeker Reply

    Ok, here are some questions to help us help:

    a. What’s your experience with dismantling and assembling your laptop? Can you break it up to basic parts? Have you done it before? If the answer’s no, then the solutions that can be recommended at least by me are limited.

    b. Did you smell anything weird? Can you smell anything weird when you put your nose near the laptop?

    c. How about the power supply in your house? Is there a safety switch that comes down when there’s a surge? Did it come down?

    d. Is there anything else you think is noteworthy?
    Since we can’t see the laptop, the more you say, the clearer the situation will be.

  2. KPTECH Reply

    I worked in the I/T department of a large corporation (3 “Big Blue” letters) for 29 years. We would occasionally have an employee come in with a similar complaint. We would disassemble the laptop so air could circulate to dry out the internal components. Once completely dry, we would reassemble and check to see if we got lucky. If not, we would usually end up replacing parts. Unless you

  3. KPTECH Reply

    I just had another thought…

    I also have a brand new laptop. When I ordered it, I purchased an upgraded warranty which covers everything for 3 years, even if it’s my fault. For example, I’m covered even if I drop it.

    You might want to check to see if your manufacturer offers such a warranty. Some will let you upgrade your warranty only at the time of purchase and some will let you upgrade for some period of time after purchase.

    Might be worth looking into…

  4. Velocity Wave Reply

    I actually experimented with old electronics, by dunking them driectly into water, to see what happened to them.

    (I experimented with a calculator, an older sony-walkman, and a remote control for a 13 inch tube television that I didn’t want anymore).

    In my experiment, I took out the batteries, and dropped the electronics in a sink full of water, and left them soaking in the water for 30 minutes.

    I then removed them, and waited a couple of days for them to completely dry, and put the batteries back in, and they worked absolutely perfectly. No problems whatsoever despite the fact that I completely saturated them.

    A couple of years ago my girlfriend spilled coke on our cable-remote, so I immediately removed the batteries, washed it with water, and then let it dry completely. The remote still works fine to this day.

    Thus, when electronics get wet, the best thing to do is immediately cut the power (remove the batteries, etc…

    Next, if the liquid was sticky or sugary then I would recommend rinsing the device completely with water to wash away the residue.

    Finally, let the device dry COMPLETELY before running power through the circuits.

    Doing this, you might just get lucky.

    However, in this particular case, the damage seems to have been done. The electronic device — the laptop — was turned on, and power was running through it for a while, while it was still wet. Thus the electric current probably had more than ample time to jump across circuits it wasn’t supposed to.

  5. Just J Reply

    I recently took in a non-switching-on laptop, which it transpired had had a glass of cola spilled over it.

    It was dried out by leaving it in the airing cupboard for a few days.

    The laptop now works….somewhat. The right-hand side of the keyboard no longer works. This has been overcome with a USB keyboard though. Important thing is that the laptop now/still works.

    An airing cupboard or somewhere else warm & dry for a few days would be my advice. (Never heard of the ‘rice trick’ though, might be worth a go!)

  6. Ian Reply

    I managed to knock over a glass of wine on my laptop and, like a fool, put it in standby instead of switching off. When I tried to pump it up again it was dead. I eventually managed to take it to bits (with the help of irisvista.com) and found a dried sticky patch of plonk on the motherboard, presumably shorting contacts. I cleaned it well with a soapy cotton bud and am using it now to type this…

  7. bparkerd Reply

    I just wanted to add that if you elect to rinse any electronics with “water”, that you should use distilled water. Most tap water contains some level of contaminants that could leave a residue and cause problems beyond the moisture. If rinsing is going to work at all, using distilled water gives you a better chance than tap water.

  8. Chris Reply

    During fabrication, they wash the components in distilled water.. As long as it’s off when its wet and completely dry before turning it back on, everything should be fine.

  9. Tue Doan Reply

    You can put the laptop next to the home radiator in the next several days and let the heat dries out the laptop.
    Good luck.

  10. Joeff Brown Reply

    Remove the battery and bake the laptop in a baking oven at 50C (120F) for a few hours.
    I have done it many times.
    If you live in a hot sunny area, you can bake it outside under direct sun.

    Baking in an oven? No way. I would be terrified of over-heating and further damaging the components. I do not recommend this.

    - Leo
    07-Jan-2009
  11. Jeff Lentz Reply

    Rinse it in isopropyl alcohol, the 93% (rubbing) kind you get from the grocery store, but BE SURE YOU HAVE THE BATTERY REMOVED, as any internal power source could conceivably pose a fire hazard while you’re working on it. The alcohol will flow where the water would, but because it evaporates readily, it’s much easier to dry it out, and it’s electrically non-conductive. Once you’ve rinsed it thoroughly, put it somewhere warm (on a floor vent, for example) to dry out, for a few days to be safe. I’ve seen this technique resurrect flooded radio equipment, and I used it to get my UPS working again after a cup of milk was dumped in it. The more you can open the computer up to rinse with the alcohol, the better off you are.

  12. Rochelle Reply

    The rubbing isopropyl alcohol, the 93% (rubbing) kind you get from the drug / grocery store is the one that worked on other electronics in our home.

  13. mike Reply

    i have used a hair dryer in the past , it worked for me.. mike

    I would be terrified of over-heating and further damaging the components. I do not recommend this.

    - Leo
    07-Jan-2009
  14. Dennis Reply

    I work in an environment where people do just what you have done, spill stuff into their electronics. Now, IF(!) you did not turn the unit on, you are ahead of the problem. Pull out and remove all of the components that you can. Unplug the ribbon cables as well, gently. Laptops come apart quite nicely. You do this so that you can remove any condensation that is lurking in the crevices of the plastic housing as well as on the electronics themselves. Next, get a spray bottle/mister and fill it with denatured alcohol. Spray the entire assembly, electroics, case and connectors. Let it dry throughly. The alcohol will absorbe the water and dry the board at the same time. Be in absolutely no hurry here! Let it dry! Recheck for moisture, recheck the connectors as well. Redo if necessary, you should be good to go from there. Use canned air to help remove any moisture that you are able to see as well as clean the rest of the board. However,if you turned the unit on, you most likely blew up the switch mode power supply that is in the unit. This may/maynot be part of the main printed circuit/mother board. If this is the case, you most likely did damage to other parts of the unit as well and now all you have is a nice looking paper weight. Spilling soda, coffee w/cream and other goodies requires a different approach and technique to restore your electronics. I hope this was of some help in answering your problem.

  15. Dennis Reply

    My cell phone fell out of my shirt pocket into water. 1st thing is to pull the battery! Next I took the phone apart down to the last screw. Spread the circuit board and other stuff out on top of the kitchen stove pilot light (old stove) 4 hours later the LCD lit up. I’ve done process twice. Now I have a wrist strap attached to the phone, I had to drill a hole in the case for it. Now the phone is always secured to me in some fashion.
    This process probably won’t work for a extended soaking of a laptop. Best solution, purchase no fault insurance for repairs, I did/do at Best Buy.
    Happy New Year.
    Den

    No.
    Seriously, there’s no way I would ever put electonic equipment into a stove, the risks are simply too high that you’ll accidently come back to a melted puddle of plastic and parts.

    - Leo
    07-Jan-2009
  16. R Grahn Reply

    One trick used by photographers that get their camera equipment wet is to place it in a frost proof freezer for a few days, then give it time to return to room temperature before using. The frost free/proof freezer freeze drys the unit and sucks all moisture out of the unit. The only issue with a computer would be the minerals in the tap water.

  17. Dave Reply

    As this has not be mentioned so far – my first question would be if there was any data that was not backed up. If there was important data I would remove the hard disk drive and work on it as a separate problem before trying to recover the laptop.

  18. Ricky Meade Reply

    I spilled some lemon-lime soda on my laptop once and did the rubbing alcohol thing to it. I then proceeded to use a can of compressed air to aid in the drying process. Afterward, everything worked like new. I also tried to power-up my laptop beforehand and after the “treatment”, all was OK !!

  19. D Sexton Reply

    There has been a lot of bad advice posted here, which is typical for a public message board. (There has also been some halfway decent advice).
    Firstly, DO NOT apply heat to an electronic device unless you have a way of precisely controlling the temperature and you know the tolerances of the material you are working with. A home oven is not a suitable heat source because its heat output at a given thermostat setting is not constant (there will be drops and spikes). All in all, using any type of heat in an uncontrolled way at best may do nothing for you, and at worst will damage by scorching or melting the plastics making up most modern electronics.

    The way you would attack water (or other common liquid)contact with an electronic device (ED) depends on the amount and length of contact (ie whether something spilled on the ED or whether it was completely submerged in water). Most of the preferred methods, usually involving the dismantling of the ED in question, are beyond the scope of this post.

    In the above question to Leo it’s stated that water was pooling beneath the ED and pouring out when tipped over. Being that the computer was on–and even though water is a poor conductor of electricity–it’s possible there was some arcing and consequently shorts in the circuitry, as Leo stated. This would be mean that there is permanent damage to the printed circuit boards (PCB’s). It’s also stated that “the laptop was left to dry after a few weeks”. Most PCB’s WILL corrode in the presence of water, sometimes in as short as a few hours time. Weeks later there is likely to be advanced corrosion. So in the case above, there is likely to be NO favorable resolution to the problem.

    In almost all cases of water contact with something like a laptop the preferred method of dealing with this would be to act quickly, and first take apart the major parts of the computer to facilitate careful cleaning (case, keyboard, etc).

    Barring dismantlement, you can try:

    1) Immediately remove all sources of power (if safe to do so) such as transformers, battery, etc.

    2) Isopropyl alcohol, as mentioned above, could work as a dryer in a pinch, but its water content (even at 94% volume) can make it a slow dryer in an enclosed space like the interior of a laptop or cell phone. A preferred solution (using things available from a hardware store like Home Depot) would be a mixture of Turpentine and Acetone in an 80:20 ratio. It is a high evaporation, no residue formula which makes it suitable for drying water (or other liquids). Pour this into the contaminated compartments and let gravity drain it out. Do several washes. In the case of let’s say, a cell phone dropped in a toilet, you could submerge the entire cell phone in this solution (NO BATTERY!) but you run the risk of damaging some sensitive plastics.

    3) After the chemical washes place the ED in an enclosed container (like a plastic storage container with a lid) along with a dessicant like “Damp-Rid” (also sold at Home Depot). Epsom Salt is very hygroscopic and will also work in a pinch. Keep in mind that the more surface area of the drying material is exposed (and the more of it), the faster it will work. So put it in a tray, if possible. If possible, let the ED sit and dry for at least several days.

    Finally, take out your ED, examine for any continuing signs of water contamination (like pooling or dampness). If none is visible, attach battery or other power source, cross fingers, and turn it on. If the gods are smiling on you that day, it will work.

  20. Jean M. Reply

    A few months back, I carelessly spilled an almost full glass of wine on my laptop. Immediately turned it off; turned it upside down and removed the battery. Then proceeded to blow it dry with my hair dryer. Had some success with this method with a pedometer that I had accidently left in my jeans when I washed them.
    After drying it the best I could, I turned it upside down & left it to dry sort of tent style. Tried to use it every day for about a week and finally one day it miraculously started working. Needless to say, no liquids are ever allowed in the vicinity again! I have recently read Leo’s rice solution someplace so I think I would be willing to try that also. After all what do you have to lose?

  21. Ryan Reply

    a had a laptop that got orange juice all over it…some of the electrical equip. inside got destroyed…the company who made the laptop gladly repaired it…at a cost to me of course. im also pretty sure that only salt water conducts electricity…just saying

  22. Paul Chaplin Reply

    The only suggestion i could make in regards to Leo’s post is to enclose the laptop in a soft porous material before placing in a sealed container with rice. This way you remove any chance of any small grains of rice becoming stuck anywhere in the keyboard or elsewhere. Also what kind of person leaves a glass of water near/beside their laptop when they go to bed and they own a cat. The only liquid you or anybody should have any place near a laptop or a PC should be in a bottle with a secure twist top.

  23. Jay Kocsis Reply

    I dropped an early model PDA from my shirt pocket when I bent over into some really dirty ground water. I immediately took the battery out (did not turn it on) and flushed/dipped it into distilled water several times changing the water after each dipping. I sucked as much water as possible out with a small shop vacuum and let it dry out for 2 weeks. When I turned it on and I had to reset it and it worked fine until it was stolen from my vehicle.

  24. Rob Healey Reply

    I saved a cell phone that fell into seawater – I removed the battery immediately, drove to a supermarket and bought a large bottle of methylated spirits, cut the top off the bottle and dropped the phone into the liquid.

    Meths absorbs water.

    I pulled the phone out and shook it dry then dunked it again, repeating the process about 3 or 4 times.

    I then did the same with the battery.

    Left everything out in the hot sun all day, then stored it in a warm place overnight. Next morning the phone worked.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing with a laptop, the meths will go into every minute area and absorb the water, then the remaining traces of liquid will evaporate easily if placed anywhere warm with a breeze, for instance a desk fan blowing onto the laptop.

  25. Shawn Patrick Reply

    I use the box that my HP laptop came in as an elevating stand for the laptop… I have an external monitor connected to it as well as a cordless mouse and a mini usb keyboard…. By using this setup, there is no way for the laptop to get wet. I also use 1 1/2 wooden blocks under each rubber pad under the laptop in order for the machine to displace the heat exhausting from the bottom of the laptop. There are preventative ways that can be taken to avoid accidents… I hope I’ve been of help.

  26. Spike Reply

    As a preventive I always teach the “15 foot rule” which is:

    NO FOOD OR DRINKS WITHIN 15 FEET OF A COMPUTER (or any other electrified device)! Short (pun intended) of that, the best suggestion I saw was the methylated spirits. Acetone melts most plastics immediately on contact – not good for anything like a laptop case & keyboard. Only DISTILLED water is a poor conductor, BTW.

    Laptop + water (+/- cat) = DISASTER!

  27. Fred J. Ball Reply

    SPILLED WATER INTO A LAPTOP – I had an old IBM Selectric Typewriter that sat on the shelf for several years. When I got it out and turned it on the ball wouldn’t rotate. I sprayed it with WD-40 until it dripped wet and then I put it on my balcony in direct sunlight. I brought it in at night and put it out again for several days until it was dry all over. Then I plugged it in and it ran perfectly. If a Laptop doesn’t work after it is dried out try spraying it with WD 40 to lubricate any joints and connections. I have heard that the WD 40 Company encourages unique and different uses of its product and will sometimes offer a prize to the best new use.

    I can’t recommend spraying oil, regardless of brand, into a laptop or keyboard. “No good can come of this.”

    - Leo
    07-Jan-2009
  28. oscar gottfried Reply

    A refrigerator dries out your bread and probably your Laptop. The air in the fridge has very low relative humidity. Try it; can not do any more harm

  29. Mel Hull Reply

    Like jas been said IMMEDIATELY remove any power cells batteries etc then spray with contact cleaner WELL this will absorb water, clean corrosion. Works on almost everything.even old tv tuners and wet ignition systems on old cars. Hasn’t failed me yet

  30. O.A. Orcan Reply

    I have lost the count of number of laptops and keyboards I cleaned with success. I only failed in a few cases because of circuitry already damaged.
    In some cases equipment was damaged as soon as some liquid spilled inside or before the power was turned off. But the worst cases (hopeless)I’ve seen were these, when people dumped their equipment in water, tried random chemicals,etc. and then turned on the power. Instant destruction!
    So, what should be done ?
    First thing to do is turn off the power, take out the batteries and disconnect any type of cords. In case of small amount of clean liquids (free of sugar, salt, etc.) spilt into the equipment waiting for some time to allow drying might be enough. If not successful, batteries should be immediately taken out and cords should be disconnected. Never try anything with power available in some way, most of the cleaners are combustible and/or explosive when in spray form.
    Remember not to use improper solvents like benzene, acetone, xylene, methyl alcohol as these are harmful unless you have a fume hood and will also damage PVC, plexiglass and similar materials, especially your laptop display surface in many cases. Even harmless solvents will make plastics brittle under prolonged contact. Also, do not use conductive contact sprays like some WD-XX types unless you intend to clean them with some other cleaner.
    In case of sugar, you have to use deionized pure water. Don’t allow water to stay too long inside your equipment.
    Use ethyl alcohol or better, isopropyl alcohol to wash your laptop thoroughly (preferably, keep the screen dry), especially if you used water before. Water is absorbed by these alcohols and the only health hazard is temporary dizziness if you breathe too much of the vapor. Also, protect your eyes. Usually a couple of hours’ wait will be enough until your laptop is completely dry, clean of any water, grime, sugar, etc. 24 hours wait under a warm, well ventilated place would be better.
    For excessive cases, a proper cleaning spray intended for delicate instruments such as 3M’s Novec product is the ultimate remedy. I keep a couple of cans and do not use anything else. Unless you first carry out the steps above, you’d need to use at least half a can and wait for half a day before trying your laptop.

  31. Mel Henzler Reply

    First of all pure water does not conduct electricity. It is the inpurities in the water that do that. Other than the moving parts “Fans, drives, Etc” a PC board is pretty much a sealed unit. Water on it should not hurt it at all. Providing the power was not on or was not turned on after the fact. You can use a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol to scrub a board using care not to dislodge wiring and other connections. Alcohol does indeed absorb water. Several dunkings and or spraying it well several times should remove the water no matter where it went. Mild dish soap and a brush will remove the sugar and other gunk left behind before the final cleaning with Alcohol to remove any last traces of water. Leaving the unit setting near a heat source will help speed the
    drying up a bit. I have removed the worst of all contaminants and that is soot from a house fire and it goes every where. Soot is carbon and it does conduct quite well. Good Luck

  32. Max Caddis Reply

    As an electrician in a previous career and then later an Intensive Care Paramedic, I can assure you that water of any kind is a very good conductor of electricty so please be very careful.

    My advice to the person concerned would be to drain dry in the sun then use a hair dryer on low heat setting which should blow and dry up any moisture insitue. If that fails take it to a service technician. Good Luck.

  33. Doug McIver Reply

    You may not like this suggestion as it is a little dishonest, but try returning it for warranty since it is new. Don’t tell them what happened, just say it stopped working.
    I’m a PC Tech and admit I have done this a couple of times for clients when they have dropped laptops or spilled water on them and got warranty replacements with no questions asked.
    Can’t hurt to try, right?

  34. Fred Reply

    Put unit in Ziploc bag fill bag with pure 99% nitrogen leave it in the filled bag and repeat again after 12 hours you should be good to go.
    make sure you remove battery from unit also good to dry it out with a hair dryer (on low setting) to get as much water as possible prior to using the nitrogen tent.

  35. DENNIZ Reply

    MY FATHER HAD WATER SPILLED IN A VCR, WHEN I LEARNED IT DID NOT WORK, I TOOK IT APART (AS IT HAD SET FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS), PUT A NEW FUSE IN AND BLEW IT AGAIN. HERE IS WHAT SOLVED IT FOR ME. THE MOTHER BOARD ROUTING OR COPPER ETCHING OR WHATEVER HAD TURNED GREENISH, SO I WAS TOLD TO USE A DISH SPONGE WITH THE ABRASIVE SIDE AND IT QUIT SHORTING OUT AFTER THAT.

  36. DENNIZ Reply

    SORRY FORGOT TO SAY SAND BOARD WITH THE SPONGE ON MY POST

  37. Bear Reply

    Since time has passed it will be likely that the LT will need to be physically dismantled to be salvaged as many have noted.

    A point of clarification about WD-40 though, it IS a Water Displacer by design. It was Rocket Chemical Companies 40th attempt at creating a chemical for the space administration as they had a moisture and corrosion problem with rockets.

    In “theory” it is safe to spray WD-40 onto a circuit board (live if necessary) to displace water. The dielectric value for WD-40 is extremely high…something like 12K per 0.100 in.
    However, on a circuit with zero power, there would be no harm whatsoever to a circuit board.

    Automotive mechanics, and I’ve done so myself many times, spray WD-40 into an automotive ignition system when the engine is running to displace moisture caused by faulting insulation on spark plug wires / distributor caps etc and remember those are running at high voltage not just 12v. It is the easiest and generally fastest way to find the source of the problem as a sputtering engine will purr as soon as you hit the right spot with the WD-40.

    Kudos to you Leo for a great site and wish the original requester the best of luck. Gotta love our pets.

    Fascinating. Thanks for the clarification.

    - Leo
    08-Jan-2009
  38. Bob Davis Reply

    I did a friend’s phone with the rice and it worked, I wuld try the rice with cheese cloth for a laptop. Good luck.

  39. Timothy R Reply

    My Laptop works fine now but i think my cat is missing. Same story here, my cat tipped over not water but a full glass of “Coca-Cola” on to my opened laptop. Fortunately the laptop was not turned on or plugged in. It’s been 9 months now and all is well with no problems. The fix was simple but not quick. Items needed: PC repairer tool kit – about 5 gallons of Distiled (NOT REVERSE OSMOSIS) water – about 1/2 gallon of 99% pure isopropal alcohol – assorted size and shape of small tooth brush type brushes – two clean (never used) spray bottles – desica gel (or rice–minute rice works best)and time – lots of time. Using the tool kit take apart the entire laptop (if you go on line you can find all the schematics needed to take it apart.) Using the distiled water spray one at a time every nut, bolt, screw, circuit bord, every square inch of your laptop using one of the small brushes to GENTLY scrub the soda off. NEVER REUSE THE WATER JUST LET IS DRIP AWAY. When you’re satisfied it’s clean use the other spray bottle with the alcohol and spray every single piece allowing it to just drip away (don’t reuse the drippings). Allow all pieces to air dry for 24 hours (a fan can be used BUT NO HEAT) After air drying place all the Pisces in a sealed container with the desica gel for a minim of 72 hours. then just reassemble your laptop and your good to go. I’ve used this method on 5 laptops and 3 PC’s since fixing my own as others have heard of my success. Only one failure of the bunch but that was because SHE turned HER laptop on before bringing it over to see if it still worked lol. Good Luck to you all.

    God Bless The CPU

  40. Susan Reply

    Hardware stores sell a product called DampRid. It is basically a plastic container like a tall cottage cheese container, with a strainer in it and granuales of a chemical. This is what I would do – Put the computer in a large plastic garbage bag. Set the open DampRid on top of it. Set a clothes basket over the top. Seal the bag. I would leave it about a week. The granuals in the DampRid attract moisture, it is drawn into the container, strained through the DampRid and collects in the bottom of the DampRid. You could probably open it every few days to see how it is doing.

  41. Paul Higgins Reply

    How about a claim on your household insurance?
    Re the rice idea, I always keep those little bags of dessicant gel you get with shoes and trainers- these wouldn’t get into the machine and might be a lot more efficient.
    A teqnique I have used, though not iwth a laptop is to leave it for a day or two on a radiator, a boiler or in an airing cupboard- with as many covers removed as possible to alow the water to dry out.
    And if were going to be dishonest, put it on Ebay and blame the Post Office! (I hope you all realise I say this tongue-in-cheek!)

  42. vibhor singhal Reply

    There was a water leakeage in my house and my new laptop was lying on the floor.It was dipped into water and the worst part is that, it was on stand by mode at that time. What can i do for it. It is almost 2 days i havent swtiched it on. I had already taken the battery out. Please suggest me something.

  43. Mark Reply

    Hey, my new dog dragged my cola bottle in to my room and he started to chew the top of the bottle and some of the coke got on my pc, and when i went back to my room my screen was blue ad had some writting on it. but then it shut off and when i tryed to start it it turns is self of after 15 sec and the screen is black all the time, what can i do? if u know how i can fix this with out using money please reply

  44. Cheryl Reply

    I spilled coffee on my laptop. The computer seems to come on fine, I hear the windows startup & the lights come on. I can see the caps lock light come on. The problem is the screen. Totally black. This happened about 5 hours ago.

  45. dan Reply

    I spilled some coffee on my keyboard, while my laptop was on, and, even though it still worked, some of the keys would print the letter diagonally next to them when hit…i.e. “T” would pring “T5″, etc…I unplugged the laptop, and took the keyboard off, using a downloaded user mannual, and wiped the back of the keyboard with a “none lint” dish cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol….then I poured alcohol all over the back side of the keyboard, tipping it so the alcohol could run off….I wanted the alcohol to get “into” the back side of the letter “buttons”. I wiped off the excess, and let it all air dry for about 5 hours. I then reassembled the keyboard back into my laptop. I am writing this reply with it now, so as you can see….it worked!…Good luck.
    Thanks Leo, for such great information.

  46. Sam Reply

    I hear that if you have an electronic device that has been affected by liquid you should leave it in the freezer for the night and leave it out to dry for a few hours…..I have done this with a cell phone and a pocket pc and they both are in perfect condition!

  47. Ellymoo Reply

    Following on from the main question, I could really do with some help. I’ve recently bought a new Samsung notebook and spilled some water over a few of the keys on the right handside. It was a pint glass of water but most of the water went on the floor – a bit went on the notebook. The laptop was on and when the water went on it didn’t affect it but I turned it off straightaway. I also put it close to a fan, used a cool hairdryer briefly (I could see little droplets of water next to the keys on the far right of the laptop) and put it keyboard-down so that any remaining water would drain out. It took me literally an hour to figure out how to remove the battery as I couldn’t understand it or get any help from Samsung but it is now removed. I unscrewed all that I could (looking at the memory, hard drive, etc.) and could see no signs of water having damaged these parts. I now have the laptop close to a fan to hopefully dry it out. I am very upset by this so any further advice would be gratefully recieved. Thank you.

  48. Tstorm Reply

    I spilt a whol cup of sweet tea on mine while the screen was up and the laptop was on, i turned it off then the next day i turned it back on after air drying and blow drying ocasionally when i pressed the power but it lit up for a few seconds but then shut off …. is this fixable or am i screwed????

  49. Gabbie Reply

    Also my daughter split a cup of water into my new laptop. This was on December.. and after that, i tried to turn it on, and i failed, but in the past month April, I try to turn it on.. and It did!! but.. it got frozen, and i had to remove the power and turn it off… and after that it didnt turn it on.. It could have my laptop remedy?

  50. Murck Reply

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I spent most of my career evaluating the causes of shorts in electronic equipment. There are two failure stages with contaminants such as water. The first being that water itself is conductive and may affect sensitve circuits depending upon the resistance that can be tolerated between circuits. This condition can be alleviated by drying out. The second and catastrophic condition is when voltage is applied. The voltage and water cause a phenomena called electromigration where metal actually travels between conductors to produce a somewhat solid metallic short. The only way to fix this is to physically remove the short by abrasive means i.e. scrapping, brushing, etc. Of course, if the short was of a low enough resistance it could have damaged components.

  51. sreenivasa holla Reply

    hiiii

    Even i face the same problem, i.e: i split a cup of coffee on my laptop (toshiba L300), after a few seconds it turned off, then i tried a lot to dry it in different way but nothing worked, finally(after a week) i kept the laptop in sunlight(covering the screen with paper) for an half hour, it started working fine, so try it hope it will work

    thanks
    sreenivasa holla

  52. katie scutt Reply

    i have spilt acohol over my laptop whilst it was on, the lid was open and it is in several places that contain wires, i have noticed that when i try to turn it on the light comes on but the screen doesnt, i have a dell S5300 with microsoft XP, is there a solution or am i screwed, someone please tell me i need help now as it is my dads laptop.

  53. james martyn Reply

    i have spilt wkd over my laptop and it landed on my keyboard, i have a fan drying the keyboard area and another fan on the back, i have taken the battery out and im going to leave it for an hour so it can dry out, is there anything else i could do, because the buttons work but the screen isnt coming on?

  54. Christi Reply

    Well i to recently faced water damage after dropping a full glass of water on my opened laptop. what i did was immediately dried it with a towel, then blow dried it on cool n then i wrapped it in a thick towel n placed it in my closet where there isnt much air n wen i turned it on again it worked perfect except the keyboard is still a bit messed up. i tried using the rice n now its sitting in my closet for 3 days to see wat happens this is wat i tried, but it may not work for every1

  55. Junior Reply

    Well heres the thing with electronics, when water goes into them you shall never turn them on right away, you dry them and make sure they are fully dry, if you turn it on with water the circuts can burn out, im no technician but i do know that since your daugther turned it on something inside may have burned out

  56. zain Reply

    Yesterday somehow I spilled water into my laptop.It was almost 1 quarter of an ordinary glass.
    Laptop was gone off at that time.I turned laptop on a side and let the water come out then I put laptop in front of blower for almost 3 hours.In result water is gone and laptop dry. Fortunately its working again.

  57. Mark Reply

    evryone should take a look at this link – by the way when i watched the prog they said they proved the best results was using a vacume cleaner for 20 mins…….

  58. gia Reply

    I have a acer net book and wen I woke up a bag of ice driPped alll over it I turned it onn not knowing and the screen was messez up just turned blblack and blicked it dripped water I took the battery out and tipped it upside down hope it works I’m planning on living it for a little over a day just to be safe

  59. logan. Reply

    So I Was out camping with a few mates and decided to spill a full beer onto a turned on open laptop , any suggestions ?

  60. Nicci Reply

    I spilled rum and juice on my laptop when it was open and on and it shut off by itself, i immediatiately turned it upside down took the battery out and dabbed it with a clean cloth on the keyboard i left it upside down and put it in front of the heater for about half an hour before i went to bed and then left it on the table upside down over night when i woke up i tried to turn it on but it wouldn’t so i took the battery out again turned it upside down and tried to turn it on a day and a half later everything turned on like the lights on the keyboard, the fan, and it made a sound as if it was about to turn on(could’ve just been the fan) but the screen didn’t turn on, my boyfriends uncle opened it up and took a look at it (he’s not a professional, he just knows quite a bit about computers) he told me i fried it and it’s probably not fixable but take it to a shop and let them take a look at it just in case. Do you have any ideas of what could be wrong with it, if it will ever work again, and how much it will cost me around to get it fixed if possble? or what’s wrong with it(other then the water damage) lol Thanks!

  61. Nasser Reply

    I have successful experience with “hair drier”.
    You’d better to detach any electric power source such as power cord or batteries. Then try to open the casing of your gadget and dry it with a hair drier found in almost every home.
    I wouldn’t suggest turning it on right after said process, as warm weather can contain moisture itself. So let it cool down before closing the lids.

  62. Anne29 Reply

    I’ve just received a laptop with a similar problem, the guy dropped hot water on the keyboard and now the mouse wont work.. I will disassemble it and dry it out with a hair dryer ill let you know how it goes…

  63. Lia Quiles Reply

    My bottle of water was defrosting and it some water got only under my laptop and some of my keys dont work and some do. Can you please help me?!

  64. Boglorious Reply

    Hi Lia Quiles, could you please help me, The same thing has happened to me today!! What did you do? Could you fix it? Thanks!!!

  65. stefanie Reply

    I let orange soda fall on my new laptop and it tured off by it self but it did not make any noise when it turned off i turned the laptop upside down but before i dryed the soda on top i let it dry over night i dont know if it works im going to check but if it dont work what can you recommend me doing if it dont work
    thank you for your time

    Soda is particularly problematic because of the syrup and sugar that it contains. Drying the computer may not help. My guess is that at best you might need to replace the keyboard, but at worst it might take a new motherboard – or new laptop.

    Leo
    04-Jul-2011

  66. raffic Reply

    i spilled castle lager beer on my laptop,i dried it and clean in with spilit then dried it again,now its turning on for only some 5 seconds and turn off and its not showing anything on screen,please help me,what can i do for it to turn on as normal

  67. Katie Reply

    Ok, about 5 months ago (it might not work but just asking) I was playing a song on my laptop while i was in the shower and uh I didnt dry my hands off. So now my question mark doesnt work. But then i spilt some soup on it (barely any soup) and the up down and left keys dont work. Is there any way to fix it without buying things

  68. haunt Reply

    Hi,I have sprayed a body deodorant over a dell laptop keyboard for cleaning the keys when power is ON at night. When i got up morning when turn on my laptop, i found my keys are not working…. Please suggest me anything….

    You probably need to replace the keyboard. Whoever told you to use deoderant gave you some very bad advice.

    Leo
    08-Oct-2011
  69. Awais Tanvir Reply

    Hello just now my new laptop got wet during my sister was drinking pepsi and she spilled it all over the laptop i just left the laptop lid open and turned it on and after a minuter it starded

  70. Mike Rice Reply

    A few years ago I spilled sugared coffee on my favorite Toshiba laptop, it died instantly. Fortunately I’m well versed in hardware maintenance so taking the machine apart was not a big deal. I carefully cleaned each part affected, including the keyboard, and got back 99% of normal operation. Occasionally I’d lose the letter m (M worked), indicating that a new keyboard could have helped.

    As to cleaning, only the hard drive and parts which could be harmed by soap didn’t get submerged and scrubbed. All other parts I washed and rinsed until the water ran clear. Then I dried them; Leo’s idea of a bag of rice holds water! Just be careful, rice in a bag can create a static charge, potentially harmful to components!
    WARNING, disassembly can permanently damage your computer! Even before you add water!

  71. Jean Agate Reply

    With a Dell home premium laptop less than a year old, I suddenly had a key that wouldn’t register on the screen when pressed. I panicked since I was in the middle of big publishing project. I read that sometimes you can blow away some particle that may have fallen into the keyboard (my problem was not a liquid). First I blew on it with my breath. Nothing. Then I thought of the hair dryer. With the hair dryer on, all of a sudden that key partially melted! Oh no! I called Dell and wondered if I was still under warranty. I was, but not for that. The Dell person talked me into buying extra insurance on my laptop, which would cover my problem plus anything else that might happen with one year. I stupidly went for this. They overnighted a new keyboard to a local technician who works with Dell’s customer service, and the next day this man came to my house with a new keyboard and installed it. I had no idea at all (this being my first laptop) that a laptop keyboard is all of one piece, so that if one key gets stuck, they can’t replace the one key. It’s just a thin thing. But after the man left, another key on the new one wouldn’t work properly. Yikes! Now I did what a friend does. I went to Radio Shack and for about $20 got a regular keyboard with a USB hook-in. This was actually to my advantage, because I don’t take my laptop anywhere (I should have gottend a traditional computer), and when I typed on the laptop keyboard, the palms of my hands got so warm. That’s not a nice feeling. But the traditional keyboard certainly worked better than the laptop keyboard ever did. Better yet, I took two large old atlases and put my laptop on top of them as they lay flat, and thus I was able to get farther away from the laptop screen (another thing I figured was hurting my eyes). Now I’m much happier using my laptop, but I’m out several hundred dollars I’ll probably never get to use under the hardware warranty. This was a “live and learn” lesson. Somehow I thought that a wireless laptop wouldn’t have to go through a provider, which is why I got it in the first place. Water over the dam.

  72. Joseph Reply

    Hey,
    I was really annoyed by my brother. His laptop was really dirty and had all the food he had eaten on it. So, I switched off the power, took some wet tissues and wiped his keyboard and his mouse pad. After a few minutes, I switched on the laptop. It worked perfectly for a few minutes . After which the screen became blurred. I offed the laptop and switched it on yet again. Only this time there was no response. I might mention this too, the second time I switched on the laptop, the plug sorta short circuited. As in sparks came out of the plug !!
    His laptop is an older model of the Macbook.

    Any advise ??? Please !?!?

  73. insaf Reply

    when i was cleaning my laptop water went into my screen.then after when i onned it not working what can i do insaf

  74. connie Reply

    @Insaf
    The most important thing to do is to not turn it on until it is totally and completely dry.

  75. Insafr Reply

    But i turned it on and after à Day it stopped. Now its working.if i pût thé charger on thé charger Thére is à light when i pût thé wire into thé laptop. Thé light blink stopped

  76. Stacey Shmygol Reply

    I spilt a cup of plain water onto my mum’s mac book pro laptop. Will it work?

    Maybe. Maybe not. There’s no way to know for sure.

    Leo
    27-May-2012
  77. suhitha Reply

    Water fell on my laptop and it stopped working..at present in in a village..so service centre is nt available right wat todo…

  78. sujitha Reply

    without disturbing the system allow it to dry for a day or 2. i tried that. Its working now..

  79. edoju Reply

    pls i plug my hp laptop on light 2 charge d battry.when i plugd it,it is charging. then,in 1.5mins later, i pecievd an odour which made me 2 unplug it 4rm light and check d house cables etc.i later come back 2 plug d charge on d system and found out that d system battry is not charging again and if i aswall remove d battry and plug it,it is nt passing current/nt booting.i can only power it on/us it with life on d battry but d charge seller and i confirm d charge to be good.what z d problem,could it b board?if yes.hw much is it.

  80. laura Reply

    can you please help me.. i spilled coffee on my sister’s laptop while it was on, i remember it was just little.. we immediately turned it off, wipe the keyboard and let it dry for a minute but because of curiosity whether it will work again or not, she turned the laptop on.. at first it worked normal but seconds after the screen turned black.. im currently using a fan.. is there any chance to revive it??what shall i do? please answer me :((( thankss..

  81. Diane Reply

    This worked with a colleague’s IPhone2.

    1. Power off & battery out immediately.
    2. Pat ED with napkins/paper towel to immediately soak up as much water as possible. Meanwhile, head to step 3 asap.
    3. Hold ED in air blast of a Dyson brand air dryer in a public washroom for at least 5 minutes. (I don’t mean to give a plug to Dyson, but it must only be a Dyson as it’s the fastest air jet without heat. No heat is very important.)
    4. Restrain your curiosity and don’t power up for at least 2 days after you’ve seen no sign of dampness on paper towels.

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