What to Do When You Spill Liquid on Your Laptop

Laptops may be convenient in an age of working and studying from home, but they’re prone to a lot of damage. Much of this occurs simply because we let our guard down around these devices.

Spills, in particular, are common, as it can be challenging to juggle both a device and a beverage without succumbing to a liquid-based mishap. Unfortunately, even a small spill can wreak havoc on your laptop, making an otherwise functional device act up.

How you respond to a spill can make all the difference. Take these steps to minimize the damage:

1. Disconnect Your Laptop Immediately

As soon as you become aware of the spill, turn off your laptop and disconnect it from its power source. Be sure to hold down on the power button for at least five seconds, or your computer might fail to shut down fully. It’s crucial that you complete this step as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk your laptop shorting out, at which point a full recovery will be far more difficult to secure.

Don’t waste your time going through the typical steps for a full shutdown. The sooner your laptop is turned off, the better – even if that means going against your instincts and hitting that power button.

In the event of a big spill that leaves you (and the area around you) soaking wet, prioritize safety. This might mean ditching your laptop for a moment and using the circuit breaker to switch off the power. Don’t handle your computer if you feel heat coming from it or spot smoke, steam, or bubbling.

2. Remove the Laptop’s Battery

After you confirm that you’ve properly shut down your laptop, remove the battery if possible. This step will be far easier for some devices than others. A few old-fashioned models allow you to remove the battery by simply undoing a latch. Others will force you to unscrew the backplate.

3. Double-Check All Sources of Power

In addition to unplugging your laptop from its power source, remove all USB drives or any other components attached to your device. Anything that can draw power from the system represents a potential hazard.

4. Drain the Device

After you’ve turned off your laptop, removed all sources of power, and ensured that the area is safe, you can finally start to do a little damage control. Begin by using a dry cloth to wipe up any liquid that pools near the keyboard, ports, or vents. Next, open the computer’s lid as wide as possible. Turn the entire device upside down and place it over another dry cloth. Let it rest in that position for at least 24 hours so that the water can drain out. Don’t stop draining the laptop just because it appears dry. Its parts may have absorbed quite a bit of water, even if this is not immediately visible.

In the event of a work emergency or some other urgent situation, it may be possible to use your laptop before 24 hours have passed. In such scenarios, aim for at least four hours of drying before trying to use your laptop again.

5. Don’t Fall for the Rice Trick

Upon exposing their smartphones to water, many people place these devices in rice to limit the damage. However, this trick should not be relied upon for soaked laptops. In fact, this approach may cause more damage, as rice could get trapped inside the device and may cause you to ruin components while cleaning out the grains.

6. Seek Professional Assistance

After you’ve thoroughly drained your laptop, consider visiting a repair shop for additional assistance. While your computer might boot up normally, underlying damage likely exists. If you don’t address these problems early on, you could suffer bigger issues down the road – and possibly at the most inopportune time.

Professional assistance is especially advisable if you’ve spilled something other than water. Coffee and soda, for example, can cause significant damage that you will likely struggle to address on your own. The few extra minutes you take to visit a repair shop could pay dividends down the road, allowing you to continue using your laptop far longer than you could if you ignore underlying damage from liquids. If you value your device, you’ll never regret leaving it in the capable hands of a technician.

Get Help from the Experts at NerdsToGo

Do you require a swift repair for your laptop, desktop, or smartphone? If so, look no further than the team at NerdsToGo. Our certified Nerds will have your device up and running in no time. From water damage to cracked screens, we can solve any computer problem by providing effective, lasting computer repair solutions.

Feel free to take advantage of our remote support services, which include guidance online and over the phone. Contact us today to learn more about our full range of technology solutions.