Most of us have gone through the traumatic experience of dropping liquids on our devices. Be it at a coffee shop where you unintentionally spill a cup of americano, or you lose control on the bus and spill water all over your keyboard, we have all been there!
And as much as we know that it is not a good place to be, it does come with solutions, so it is not the end of the world!
A lot of us want to know how to fix water damaged laptop. Either because we have faced it too many times, or we are afraid of when we might face such situations.
But what we do know is that there are many ways you can bring your laptop back to life, and as scary as this might seem when it happens, it really is not!
There are a few steps which you can follow which will ensure the good health of your laptop, even if you end up damaging it via water. Remember these steps carefully, or have them saved on your phone if you are someone who frequently gets into these mini mishaps.
One of the very first things to do is not check how the laptop is doing, but to turn it off instead. Don’t waste a single minute, and turn off the laptop by pressing down on the power button.
This is not the time to worry if your laptop has properly shut down through using the windows keys because there is a high risk that you might cause a short circuit if you keep it running for too long.
The next crucial step is removing the battery. Now, some laptops have this easy where you can pop open the back and remove the battery quite easily. Others, not so much, and require a lot more opening up of parts to reach the battery.
If you are not a pro and are not comfortable with doing this, you can always take it to a professional, but make sure to do so quickly!
Before you can take it to a professional, do make sure that everything has been unplugged from the laptop. Be it a USB or any other wire. You want to remove these because otherwise, you risk these extra wires drawing power from the laptop, which at this point can be dangerous for the laptop.
Often times in these cases, people tend to forget about their own safety. If your laptop gets a short circuit, and you are in contact with it, and possibly have a spillage on you, you are also at risk!
So in these cases, the first thing you should do is unplug the device if it is plugged in, and switch off the circuit breaker or whatever the source of power there is. And if at any time you see smoke, or can smell burning plastic or wires, don’t touch the device. Make sure all electricity sources are off, and then handle it.
Now that the laptop is safe to handle, you have to turn it upside down so it can drain itself. While you are doing this, take a dry cloth to wipe it down and any extra water that comes out. Once you have taken out the backplate, rub down the components for faster drying. Use a lint-free cloth so there is no residue left.
After you have done all of the above steps, you let it rest. This is basically to ensure that all of the water gets out. While wiping it down might seem like it did the job, it has only done the work on the outside. You never know where some water might still be hiding, and this is why you need to wait.
The recommended time by professionals for these cases is 24 hours. It is simply a safe bet where you know there is no more water or dampness left. However, if you are having an emergency meeting or exam, and you simply cannot wait for that long, the bare minimum to wait for is 4 hours.
Leave it for 4 hours and leave it open so it can properly dry. Do not throw it in rice or any of those viral remedies, because sometimes they end up doing more damage than good. Air drying is the easiest and most effective method.
Now you have your dried laptop. But you are not quite out of the woods just yet! Even if your laptop works fine and is usable now after all these steps, it is still recommended that you take it to your nearest repair shop as soon as you get the chance.
This is because there might be damage inside which you are not aware of. We are not trying to scare you here, but simply warning since not all damages can be seen instantly. Patting the laptop dry and having it upside down are tricks to quickly get it to safety. But for long-term usage, it still needs a proper checkup.
And this is even more important if you have spilled something other than water. Coffee, tea, or soda are drinks that will leave behind residue even after the water has dried, and that will lead to corrosion over time, ruining your laptop. We don’t want that now do we?
Repair shops have special solvents and ultrasonic cleaning machines. These can effectively get rid of these residues and give longer life to your laptop.
Well, not everyone always has the budget to get their laptops fixed by a professional repairman, and some people are somewhat pros who just need a little guidance. So for those tech-savvy people who want to take it upon their own, don’t worry about it.
What you need is 90% or more isopropyl alcohol, and skillful hands that can open up all the parts of the laptop. Using this alcohol, rub away slowly at the parts, always being careful not to knock out any small parts.
You want to pay close attention to parts like the ribbon cables and connectors since these are prone to corrosion.
After cleaning, check for corrosion carefully, use a magnifying glass if you would like to. Once it is all good reassemble it and turn it on for a checkup.
If at any time you saw that the battery has come into contact with water or even just moisture, it is time to replace it.
You may not be able to see the damage right now, but over time it will start to eat away at the battery. This becomes hazardous because then the entire device becomes dangerous for you to use. But, if you are in doubt or confused, simply head to a professional!
We spoke a lot on when you detach the parts, now for the how. A lot of people are not aware of the basic steps, so let us go over them, shall we?
This is rule number one. If you are working with electricity, you have to ground yourself, otherwise, you are simply putting yourself in harm’s way. Grounding yourself removes any static electricity.
Whether this is your first time or not, it is best to have the manual with you. You are going to have to go through multiple screws to reach the inside of the laptop, so better make it organized.
Laptops come with a lot of parts, which you are going to have to disassemble slowly, and then assemble just as slowly. This will take time, so bear with it. And at any point, if you get confused about what goes where, or have made a mistake, don’t further it, and head to a pro to get it fixed.
One common mistake people make is leaving their laptops to dry in the sunlight. Don’t do that, because you never know how sunlight might affect different parts of the laptop. Instead, simply have it airdry, where there are no risks.
You can prevent spills by becoming more careful and cautious, and you can prevent damage by protecting your laptop beforehand. You can easily find plastic keyboard covers as well as different types of transparent silicone cases and stickers which can give a layer of protection.
These will not cover the ventilation, which can be very bad, so keep in mind to not do that. At the same time, they will protect the laptop from minor spills.
Here’s the thing, having liquids spill on laptops is a pretty common thing, so don’t ever get freaked out. Instead, do your reading, so you know what to do if you end up spilling anything on your precious devices.
This article has all the answers to the burning question of how to fix water damaged laptop, and hopefully, you will be able to remember these points!
And even if you cannot, a quick glance will surely get your mind working again for a refresher. While we hope you never have to make use of these ways, we hope your laptop stays safe and dry!
About Dror Wettenstein
Dror Wettenstein is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He is the founder of TechTreeRepeat, a company that enables technical writers to publish their work faster and share it with readers across the globe. Dror has a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Irvine.
When he’s not working on software projects, Dror enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. He also likes playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two young children.