Can I soak my MacBook in rice?

Rice is a pantry staple known for absorbing moisture. So it’s understandable that some people think rice can help dry out a wet gadget like a MacBook. But should you actually soak your MacBook in rice if it gets wet? Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of using rice to dry a water-damaged MacBook.

The Claim: Rice Absorbs Moisture from Wet Devices

The idea behind soaking electronics in rice is that the rice will act as a desiccant, absorbing moisture from the device. Since rice is inexpensive and readily available in most homes, it seems like an easy solution for drying out water-logged devices. Some people claim that letting your wet device sit in a bowl or bag of rice for 24-48 hours can help draw out moisture that got inside.

The Reality: Rice Has Limited Effectiveness for Drying MacBooks

However, experts say that soaking your MacBook in rice is not likely to be effective for a few reasons:

  • Rice doesn’t absorb moisture fast enough. Electronics need to be dried quickly, ideally within 24-48 hours. But rice can take much longer to absorb water.
  • Rice only absorbs surface moisture. But most of the water damage happens internally, where rice can’t reach.
  • Rice contains starch and other particles that can get lodged inside the device and cause corrosion over time.

While rice may absorb some surface moisture, it’s not going to be able to pull water out from inside the computer where it can do real damage to the electronic components.

Does Putting a Wet MacBook in Rice Damage It?

Simply putting your MacBook in rice isn’t going to immediately fry it or make the situation worse. However, it’s not going to help dry it out effectively either. And over time, rice particles may get stuck inside small crevices and contribute to corrosion.

Here are some specific risks of soaking your MacBook in rice:

  • Rice dust can get trapped in ports, buttons, or crevices and be difficult to remove later.
  • Trapped rice particles may eventually corrode or short circuit components.
  • Any liquids absorbed by the rice aren’t removed fast enough to prevent damage.
  • The rice only dries exterior surfaces, allowing interior components to remain wet.

While the rice won’t instantly damage your MacBook, it likely won’t provide any meaningful moisture absorption benefits either. And if rice gets stuck inside your MacBook’s small crevices, it could cause problems over time.

Does Rice Actually Work to Dry Out a Wet MacBook?

There haven’t been any scientific studies specifically testing how effective rice is at drying out MacBooks. However, based on the limited absorbency of rice, experts agree that it is not going to be effective for drying out an electronic device like a water-damaged MacBook.

Here are some reasons why rice doesn’t work well:

  • Rice absorbs under 20% of its weight in water. That’s not enough to effectively draw moisture from inside a laptop.
  • Rice takes 1-2 days to absorb moisture. MacBooks need to be dried immediately to prevent corrosion.
  • Rice can’t penetrate inside the computer to absorb liquid where it causes damage.
  • Any moisture rice absorbs remains trapped in the rice next to the laptop.

Some people may think they have successfully fixed a wet laptop with rice if it turns on initially after drying. However, liquid inside electronics causes corrosion over time. So any device dried with rice is still at risk for long-term damage or failure.

While rice has some absorbent properties, experts agree it is not effective at rapidly drawing water out of complex electronics like laptops before permanent damage occurs.

Better Alternatives for Drying a Wet MacBook

If your MacBook gets wet, you need to dry it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Here are some better options recommended by repair experts:

Use moisture-absorbing packs: Silica gel or other moisture-absorbing packs designed for electronics pull water out more quickly and thoroughly than rice.

Try a vacuum seal technique: Put the MacBook in a sealable bag with the moisture absorbers, squeeze out excess air and seal it to create a vacuum effect.

Use desiccant dust: Specific desiccant dust formulas are engineered to absorb moisture rapidly on contact. Dust the inside and outside of the device.

Use compressed air: Carefully blow compressed air into ports and crevices to displace lingering moisture.

Take it to a repair shop: Professional data recovery services open the computer in a controlled environment to dry out internal components.

Moisture-absorbing products engineered for electronics, vacuum sealing, and professional repair techniques are much more effective than rice for quickly drying out a water-damaged device.

Tips for Using Rice to Dry a Wet MacBook

While rice is generally not recommended, some people may still wish to try it. Here are a few tips for using rice:

– Remove all detachable parts and cables first to expose more surface area for drying.

– Pack the MacBook and components in a sealable plastic bag with at least 2 cups of rice. Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag.

– Bury the bag in a large container of rice (5-10 pounds) to surround it completely.

– Check it after 12 hours; change the rice if it has absorbed moisture.

– Allow 48 hours for maximum effect, checking and changing rice as needed.

– DO NOT turn on the device until completely dry, at least 48-72 hrs.

– Monitor for signs of corrosion over the next few months.

– Seek professional help if you experience any functional issues after drying.

While far from ideal, following proper precautions may let you use rice to dry a MacBook without immediately damaging it further. But there are much better drying methods available for water damage.

Signs Your MacBook Has Moisture Damage

If you spill liquid on your MacBook, it’s important to quickly identify if moisture got inside to prevent permanent damage. Here are some signs your MacBook has water damage:

– You notice liquid got inside ports, vents or crevices

– Shutting down unexpectedly or not turning on

– Glitchy visuals, audio issues or corrupted data

– Keys or trackpad not responding

– Strange smells from the vents

– Condensation or fog inside the screen

– Corrosion visible on electronic components

Any of these symptoms, or the MacBook not working normally, can indicate moisture got inside and needs to be addressed immediately. Don’t wait to dry it out or you risk permanent board damage.

Is It Possible to Fix a MacBook after Water Damage?

It is possible to fix a water-damaged MacBook, but your chances depend on:

– How quickly you dried it out.

– If power was left on during water exposure.

– If corrosion is visible on the logic board.

– Which components were affected.

With immediate action, minor spills that only hit exterior surfaces can often be fixed by quickly drying the laptop. But liquid that gets inside and lingers can permanently damage electronic boards and connectors. Components with visible corrosion may need to be cleaned or replaced.

For severe liquid damage, professional data recovery services can disassemble MacBooks in a controlled environment to dry internal components without corrosion. This offers the best chance of salvaging a water-damaged device.

The sooner you take action, the better your chances. But even a professionally repaired MacBook may still have a shortened lifespan if boards were damaged. Preventing liquid getting inside in the first place is ideal.

How to Prevent Water Damage on a MacBook

While accidents happen, you can take some precautions to avoid water damage to your expensive electronics:

– Keep liquids away from your workspace where possible.

– Use a spill-proof lid for drinks near your laptop.

– Don’t eat or drink over your MacBook.

– Keep MacBooks away from sinks, tubs, pools, and sprinklers.

– Shut down and unplug before moving a laptop near water.

– Don’t use laptops outdoors during rain or snow.

– Keep water and kids/pets away from laptops unattended.

– Carry MacBooks covered in rainy or snowy weather.

– Store laptops on elevated surfaces in basements prone to flooding.

– Back up your data regularly in case an accident does occur.

With careful habits, you can prevent most common water damage causes. But mistakes happen, so also be prepared to act quickly if your MacBook does get splashed.

Drying Out a Wet MacBook without Rice

If your MacBook gets wet, quick action is essential to minimize moisture damage. Here are the steps to take:

1. Immediately power off the laptop if it is still running while wet.

2. Disconnect it from any power source or external devices.

3. Wipe up any excess liquid and shake out any visible water from ports.

4. Open the computer and disconnected the battery to prevent shorts.

5. Carefully dab up moisture from interior components with a microfiber cloth.

6. Lightly blow interior spaces dry with compressed air if available.

7. Place moisture-absorbing packs inside and seal it in a plastic bag.

8. Leave sealed for at least 24 hours, changing absorbers if moisture is present.

9. Check for corrosion before reconnecting any components.

10. Once fully dry, reconnect battery and test computer function.

11. Bring to a repair shop if any components seem damaged or computer isn’t functioning normally.

Following these steps ASAP provides the best chance of saving a wet MacBook. Skipping rice and using proper moisture-absorbing products will dry it more effectively.


While leaving your MacBook in rice seems like a quick fix for water damage, it actually has limited effectiveness for drying out complex electronics. Rice can’t draw water out from inside fast enough to prevent corrosion. Specialized moisture absorbers, vacuum sealing, and professional data recovery techniques are far better options. But prevention is ideal, so be very careful to keep all liquids well away from your MacBook.