Spilled coffee or water on laptop

We’ve all been there, a spilt cup of coffee or a tipped over water bottle on your desk and it’s all over your laptop before you can catch it. Accidents happen! If you’re reading this after a spill, the first thing you should do is turn off your computer, and then remove the power cable and battery as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind: electricity and water do not mix! You could cause yourself serious harm or further damage your computer. Before touching the laptop, make sure your hands and the area (or button) you’re touching are completely dry. We don’t need electrocution on our conscience.

Step One: Power Off Now

Your first step after a spill is to turn off your laptop and remove the power cable immediately. The quickest way to do this is to press and hold the power button until the screen goes dark. The longer you wait to power off your computer, the higher the damage risk.

If your laptop has a removable battery take it out, dry it off, and store it somewhere safe. Then prop your laptop face down on a towel with the lid open (like an upside down V) this will help the water drain before it seeps into any delicate components inside your computer.

Most computers can survive a spill provided that you power it off. By turning off the computer and removing the battery you’ve hopefully avoided a shock to the battery that would permanently damage your computer.

Place your laptop in a dry, airy place and wait at least 48 hours before you try to turn it on. If you were able to get to your machine quick enough after the spill, there might not be any damage at all. However, if you spilled something sticky, your keyboard was probably affected at the very least.

How to Fix Sticky Keys

The best solution for sticky keys is to clean the individual key switches. On some laptops, you can pop the keycaps off fairly easily to get to the mechanism beneath. You can use some isopropyl alcohol spray and a cotton ball to remove even the most stuck-on gunk. The alcohol will quickly evaporate.

Before you try this, make sure your laptop is turned off, unplugged, and that any batteries are removed, if possible.

Spray or drop some isopropyl alcohol on the affected keys, and then press each key repeatedly to work the alcohol into the mechanism. The more you press it, the looser the key should become. Don’t use too much alcohol, though, or you might wash the gunk farther into your laptop.

Don’t Use Rice

Contrary to popular belief, rice isn’t the best thing to use to dry out moist electronics. It doesn’t speed up the process of drying. And, if you get grains of rice in the cooling system or USB ports, it will cause you more problems than the initial spill. We recommend you eat the rice, instead.

If Your Laptop Still Won’t Power On

We recommend checking the warranty on your device for what to do next. Unfortunately, any water damage voids TekReplay’s warranty. However, we always suggest taking the device to a local repair shop who should be able to strip the machine down and dry it out for you and let you know what your next step should be.

Avoiding Future Spills

The best way to avoid a soggy laptop is to keep it away from both food and drink. However, we understand that accidents happen. We hope these tips help if you find yourself in the middle of a spill crisis. Besides, there’s no use crying over spilt coffee.


Eli Richardson

Eli Richardson

It really helped when you elaborated on avoiding using rice when trying to dry out a laptop. My sister called me just now to ask if I knew how to fix a laptop with water damage. I think my sister should take her laptop to a professional before it gets worse, as you explained. https://visdyninc.com/service

Charles 73CW

Charles 73CW

Thanks for posting this. I fell asleep with my coffee mug on my lap. I woke up with my pj bottms soaking with coffee. Some of it got on the top of the keyboard. Some coffee dripped out and I shut down thje computer, took it out the the hot dry patio and inverted the open lap top with the KB facing down at a small lifted up on a clean dry cloth. Thanks for writing this set of directions and I will wait another 24 hours and see if the cmputed has survived! Thanks Charles 73CW

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