What to Do When You Spill Water on Your Laptop

When you spill water, or any liquid for that matter, on your laptop, time is of the essence. You need to turn the laptop immediately and unplug it from the wall. Hold that power button down until the laptop shuts off. If the battery can be removed, remove it right away. 

Now let’s get this emergency (that’s what it is) under control!

In the past, smartphones were taking a dive in the toilet right and left and they were vulnerable to liquid, but smartphones have become more water-resistant, while laptops haven’t even started, so they’re susceptible. Spilling just a simple amount of water on a laptop keyboard can spell disaster.

What to Do When You Spill Water on Your Laptop

Like we stressed at the beginning of this article, you must act fast in this situation because the quicker you do these things, the greater your chances of saving the laptop from the water. When you spill water on your laptop, don’t panic (we don’t have any time to panic). Stay safe, turn the laptop off, unplug the laptop and take the battery out. 

Make sure you get the liquid out. If it’s possible, you may want to open the laptop up to help it dry out faster. Now, clean the board – you can either do this yourself or take it to a legitimate repair shop. Once the laptop is dry, you can turn it back on.

How to Remove Water from Your Laptop

When you first spill water on your laptop, it can be painful and you may panic. Whatever you do, don’t panic. Think about the worst-case scenario – you might need to have your laptop repaired, maybe even replaced, but if you take matters in your hands right now and act quickly, you can save your device, as well as your data, from damage.

When a drop of water hits your keyboard, you have a little bit of time before it’s going to seep into the casing and get under the keyboard and into the circuit boards. Here’s what you need to do …

Step 1: Turn the Laptop off

You need to shut the laptop down completely, Disconnect the power cords and remove the battery.  This is to make sure you don’t have current travelling to the internal components and circuit boards. The biggest danger right now is a short circuit. Make sure you unplug peripherals like the mouse, and other USB devices you may have hooked to it.

Step 2: Turn the Laptop Over

Immediately turn the laptop upside down so you can drain the liquid before it gets inside. To allow the liquid that may have permeated to drain to the sides and out, tilt it gently from right to left. Once you are certain you have got all of the liquid out, take a lint-free cloth (or paper towels) and blot the excess.  During this time, don’t wipe, because this can spread the spill.

Step 3: A Vacuum Cleaner

Using a hair dryer to blow dry the water from your laptop may seem like a good idea, but you need to avoid this. Instead, you will want to do the opposite – use a vacuum cleaner.  The vacuum cleaner will absorb any humidity that could cause oxidization at a later time.

Step 4: Allow it to Dry Naturally

Take the laptop and place it upside down in an inverted V position. Leave it here and let it dry completely. You want to avoid leaving the laptop right over a heater or in direct sunlight because this could cause even more damage. A heat source or dehumidifier nearby could help. Before you replace the battery and plug it up, give it at least 24 hours to dry. 

Step 5: Clean Out Residue

Now that the laptop is dry, you will want to clean out any residue that may be left over, especially if you didn’t spill water, and it was Coke or coffee. Sticky residue could cause damage to the laptop, even after it has dried.

Take a lint free paper towel and clean the outside first. The cloth can be a little damp, but not too wet. We discovered that rubbing alcohol can be magical as well.

Once the outside of the laptop is spotless, you may want to open the laptop up so that you can clean the internal components. Remove any drives and cards so that you can clean their surface.

You can use alcohol on circuit boards and cards as long as they’re not connected to a power source, just make sure they are completely dry before you connect them back.

Drives can only be wiped on the outside using a cloth and a little bit of alcohol, but never water. Before turning the laptop on, make sure it is 100% dry. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my Laptop Ruined if Water is spilled on it?

Most hardware, including hardware in a laptop can survive water as long as the power is off. By powering the system down, unplugging it from the wall, and removing the battery as fast as possible, you can break the circuit that could lead to a horrible shock and damage your laptop.

Will a laptop work after getting wet?

Electronics and liquid are a bad combination either way you stack it, but if you do spill water on your laptop, all is not lost. Just remain calm and act quickly. When you act quickly to dry out your computer, you may be able to resume your work without suffering too much damage. 

Can spilling water on a laptop wet the motherboard?

Yes, spilling water on your laptop keyboard can wet the motherboard. Using a damp motherboard is similar to inviting an elk to attack you for a final assault. Also, if you have your laptop turned on, a little drop of water can cause major complications, from destroying the circuit board to damaging components. 

Does rice work for a wet laptop?

You shouldn’t bother leaving your entire laptop sitting in rice. Air drying is suitable. Plus, when you air dry the laptop, you won’t have to worry about grains of rice getting inside the machine. Let the laptop air dry for at least 24 hours – the longer you let it dry, the better it will be.

How Long Does it Take a Laptop to Dry Out?

The minimum recommended drying time for a laptop with water spilled on it is one hour, but leaving it out to dry for at least 24 hours is the preferred method. Once the laptop has had the appropriate amount of time to dry, you can reattach all of its components and turn it on.

Can a laptop with water damage be repaired?

Yes, but you will need to leave the laptop off for at least 24 hours before you attempt to turn it on. If you feel that there is still water after 24 hours, then the repair will be even more complicated and you may want to consult a professional in this situation.

Can I use a hairdryer to clean laptop?

When you first wet your laptop, it may seem like a good idea to use a hairdryer, but it’s really not. You shouldn’t use a hairdryer to dry the laptop because the dryer may have a static charge that can damage the parts. Plus, you will be blowing air on the keyboard, which could push moisture deeper into the laptop. 

How do you dry out a wet laptop?

To dry out a wet laptop, all you have to do is open the lid and place it face down on a soft towel – it’ll look like a V turned upside down. This will allow any moisture that may be in the laptop to drain out. The laptop should be placed in a dry, airy place for 24-48 hours before you attempt to turn it on. If you were able to get to the laptop quick enough, you might not have any damage.


When you first spill water on your laptop, don’t panic because there’s a solution for you. As long as you act fast, you can save your laptop and, in the end, despite your best efforts, if you discover your laptop is damaged, it’s time for you to get some help from a professional.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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