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Spilled Water on Your Laptop? Here’s How to Save It

Spilling glass of water on the black laptop. Accident with technology

Spilled Water on Your Laptop? Here’s How to Save It

Key Points

  • Unplug and turn off your laptop immediately. If either you or your clothes are wet, do not unplug your laptop directly from the wall.
  • Don’t use a hair dryer or other heat source to dry your laptop. 
  • Please don’t turn on or plug in your laptop until you’re sure it’s dry. 

Spilling water on your laptop is one of those heart-stopping moments no one wants to experience. However, if it does happen to you, you can probably save your computer before anything too damaging occurs. If, or when, you spill water on your laptop, it’s important to stay calm. Remember that the most important thing is to turn off your laptop, unplug and remove its power sources, then disconnect any external hardware. This includes any external hard drives, as well as anything else that’s plugged in, including your external keyboard and mouse if you have them. 

In this article, we’ll go over the details of how to save your laptop after an accidental water spill. We’ll also take a look at what you shouldn’t do.

How to Save Your Laptop from Water Spills

Spilled water on your laptop? Here’s how to save your device from a water spill, step-by-step. 

What You’ll Need

  • A couple of absorbent, lint-free towels 
  • A warm, dry place 
  • A fan or dehumidifier 
  • A screwdriver 

1. Unplug Your Laptop from Its Charger and Turn It Off

First, you want to ensure that no power at all is getting to your laptop, so unplug it from its charger. If you or your clothes are also wet, do not unplug your laptop directly from the wall. Next, turn off your laptop. Do this as soon as possible after the water spill.

2. Remove the Battery if Possible

Turn the laptop upside down and locate the battery latch. Slide the latch over and hold it open until the battery is released. If the battery is wet, it is probably damaged and should not be used again.

3. Remove All External Hardware

Unplug anything external. Unplug any hard drives, flash drives, or USB drives if you use external devices. Also, remember to disconnect your external or wireless keyboard and mouse. 

exFAT vs NTFS
Disconnect any external devices or peripherals.

4. Remove Your Laptop from the Spill

If there’s water under your laptop, pick it up and finish cleaning up the spill. You can place your device on a clean towel while you’re doing this. 

5. Wipe Off Your Laptop

Gently wipe your laptop with an absorbent towel. Be sure to soak up any water. Try using a cotton swab or a clean toothbrush to get into small spaces. 

6. Leave Your Laptop to Dry

Open up your laptop as far as it will go. Over a dry towel, hold it upside down to let any leftover water drain. You can keep your laptop upside down for a day or two while it dries. You can use a dehumidifier or a fan in the room to help speed up the process. Do not use a hair dryer or any other heat source to dry your laptop. Only try to turn on your laptop or plug it in once you’re confident it’s dry inside.

Young caucasian woman holding hairdryer isolated on yellow background surprised and shocked.
Do not use a hair dryer to dry out your laptop. The hot air can damage the components.

Taking Apart Your Laptop

If you think there’s still water inside your computer, don’t plug it in or turn it on. If you know what you’re doing, you can carefully take your laptop’s hard drive and other components to dry. However, if you’re unsure or you have never taken apart a laptop, it’s best to call a professional for help. 

Tips on What Not to Do

  • Don’t wait to unplug and turn off your laptop after a water spill. Also, don’t forget to remove the battery and unplug any external hardware. 
  • Don’t use forced hot air from a hair dryer or another heating source. Using hot air will damage your laptop. 
  • Only take apart your laptop if you know what you’re doing. If you’re unsure, call a professional for help. 

If You Spill Something Other Than Water on Your Laptop

If you spill something other than water on your laptop, say soda or juice, you may need to use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol will help to dissolve the sugar and will dry quickly. To use isopropyl alcohol, dab a small amount on a towel and wipe gently. You can follow the same instructions in this article to clean up the sticky spill.

Summary Table

StepAction
1Unplug Your Laptop from Its Charger and Turn It Off
2Remove the Battery if Possible
3Remove All External Hardware
4Remove Your Laptop from the Spill
5Wipe Off Your Laptop
6Leave Your Laptop to Dry

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a laptop survive a water spill?

Most of the time, yes, laptops can survive a water spill. Just be sure to turn it off and unplug it, then let it dry completely before turning it back on.

How long does it take for water to evaporate from a laptop?

Most water spills will dry within two to three days.

Can I dry my laptop with a hair dryer?

Do not use a hair dryer to dry your laptop after spilling liquid on it. Forcing hot air can damage your components.

How long does it take for water to corrode a laptop?

There’s no indication that a set amount of time must pass before a laptop is corroded due to water damage. It could take an hour, or it could take a couple of days.

Should I use a fan to dry my laptop?

Yes. You can use a fan, dehumidifier, a lint-free cloth, or compressed air to help dry your laptop after spilling water on it.

Is water damage covered in laptop warranty?

Most laptop warranties won’t cover liquid damage.

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