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What To Do When Liquid Spills on Your Laptop?

First off be thankful you have another device to look up this information! Traditionally, everyone knows that liquids and laptops don’t mix. But we all do it. As I’m typing these words on my MacBook Air, I’ve got a cup of tea next to my machine that’s one careless wave of the hand away from spilling all over my keyboard, potentially ruining this perfectly good machine, while writing a blog about the dangers of spilling liquids on computers.

So why do we take the risk?

Logically, it doesn’t make sense to be sipping a hot cup of laptop ruiner while working on the thing that could easily be destroyed. The truth is, nobody ever thinks that it will happen to them. If you’re careful and responsible, you should be fine. And, in most cases, people are. But all it takes is one time to lose everything. These days with most computers being solid state machines, the chances of losing not only your computer but all of your data as well are higher than ever.

Accidents do happen, so when the unfortunate happens to you, here’s what you do.

  • Shut down your laptop immediately (HOLD THE POWER BUTTON FOR 7 SECONDS, EVEN IF THE SCREEN GOES DARK AFTER 1 SECOND)
  • Flip the laptop over open up onto a towel so that the keyboard faces down onto the towel
  • Take the battery out if you can. Granted most laptops are unibody machines so this may not be an option.
  • Don’t Panic
  • Leave the computer off for a few days.
  • Pray

Chances are in most cases you’ll be fine. Anyone that’s ever dropped a phone in a toilet will tell you that the situation is not as bad as it seems at the moment. Similarly, most of the electronics of a computer are sealed. Hard drives are sealed, and as long as you shut off the machine before anything shorts out, you should be fine. If you’re very worried about it, you should have your machine cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner by a professional.

Also, important to note, some newer laptops have spaces built in so that in the event of a laptop spill, the liquid will flow right through. Most laptops, however, do not.

The Type of Liquid Matters

If you spilled water and caught it in time, you’re most likely going to be okay. If you were trying to clean your keyboard, you should probably use denatured alcohol over soap and water (in fact never use soap and water, that’s how bad things happen to good machines). However, if it’s anything sticky, soda, beer, etc. Be ready to replace the keyboard, and/or the machine. Liquid damage for laptops is one of the leading causes of laptop replacement if not handled properly.

When sticky stuff gets into a keyboard, it’s almost impossible to get off. I’ve heard stories of people that successfully cleaned a keyboard by throwing it in the dishwasher with no soap and letting it run for the flu cycle. But I honestly can recommend doing that to any computer.

It’s far easier to call the ITGuys, and have us replace the keyboard for you. With our $49 diagnostic, the IT Guys of Colorado will let you know if the keyboard is worth replacing. In some rare cases, the computer will be toast and we’ll have to perform data recovery to get your important information back. Most of the time fixing the keyboard on a laptop that liquid has spilled on is a simple fix.

Call the IT Guys next time you spill liquid on your laptop