How do you fix a wet keyboard on a laptop?

Getting liquid spilled on your laptop keyboard can be annoying and even dangerous if not addressed quickly. Thankfully, fixing a wet laptop keyboard is possible if you take the right steps. Here are some quick answers to common questions about wet laptop keyboards:

– How did my keyboard get wet? – Common causes are spilling drinks, getting caught in the rain, accidents around the sink, etc.

– Is it safe to use my laptop? – No, you should turn off and unplug your laptop immediately to prevent short circuits.

– Will rice fix it? – Rice can help absorb moisture, but is not guaranteed to fix the issue alone.

– How can I dry my laptop fastest? – Disassembling the keyboard and using a blow dryer on a low setting.

– Do I need to replace my keyboard? – It depends on the extent of the water damage. Replacement may be needed if corrosion is present.

– How much does a repair cost? – Anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on make/model and repair shop.

Assessing the Damage

If you’ve accidentally spilled liquid on your laptop, the first step is to quickly assess the amount and location of the damage. Here are some tips:

Check for visible moisture

Examine your laptop keyboard closely and look for pooled water or obvious wet spots. Pay special attention around the keys, between cracks, and inside openings. Look to see if any liquid seeped under the actual keys themselves.

Inspect for key functionality

Try typing on your keyboard to see if any keys feel sticky, sluggish, or completely unresponsive. Make note of any keys that don’t work properly. Non-functional keys indicate liquid made its way under the keycaps.

Give it a shake

Gently tilt and shake your closed laptop from side to side and listen closely for any internal splashing or dripping sounds. This indicates excess liquid inside the keyboard assembly or other components.

Smell for moisture

Laptops that have gotten wet often give off a damp, musty odor. Give your laptop a sniff to detect any lingering moisture smells. The stronger the scent, the wetter it likely is inside.

Look for external damage

Inspect the external chassis for things like water stains, discoloration, or corrosion around ports and openings. This may signify major liquid exposure internally.

First Steps for Drying

Once you’ve assessed the wetness level, follow these initial steps to help dry out your laptop safely:

1. Turn it off immediately

As soon as you notice the spill, power off your laptop if it is still on. This is critically important to prevent short circuits which can permanently damage components.

2. Disconnect the power adapter

Unplug the AC adapter from both the laptop and wall outlet. You do not want electrical current running while moisture is present.

3. Remove the battery

If possible, open up the chassis and take out the laptop’s internal battery. This eliminates the chance of shorts and charge-related corrosion.

4. Wipe away excess moisture

Blot any pooled or standing liquid from the laptop’s exterior using a dry lint-free cloth. Do not rub vigorously.

5. Tilt to drain

Gently tilt your laptop in different angles to let gravity help drain out as much moisture as possible through openings.

6. Dry the outer case

Use a microfiber cloth to carefully dry the entire outside of the chassis. Focus on areas like vents and ports where liquid may collect.

7. Let air dry for 72 hours

Allow your powered-off laptop to air dry for at least 72 hours before attempting to turn it on again. This gives internal moisture time to evaporate.

Advanced Drying Techniques

In some cases, additional drying steps will be needed beyond just air drying to fully evaporate residual moisture, especially under keyboard keys. Consider the following techniques:

Disassemble Components

Open up your laptop chassis and remove key components like the hard drive, RAM, wireless card, and keyboard for separate drying. This allows air flow to interior sections.

Absorbent Materials

Bury laptop parts in dry uncooked rice or silica gel packs. The rice absorbs ambient moisture, while the silica gel packs actively draw out dampness.

Blow Dryer on Low

Use a blow dryer on the “no heat” or cool setting to direct consistent airflow over the internal laptop parts. This accelerates evaporation. Never use high heat settings.

Absorbent Pads

Place moisture-wicking hydrophobic pads inside your laptop chassis or under the keyboard overnight to pull out dampness through absorption and adsorption.

Desiccant Packets

Desiccant moisture absorber packets placed inside the laptop can actively extract humidity from the internal air and speed up drying.

Fan or Ventilation

Point a portable fan or cooling pad at your open laptop to generate continuous evaporative airflow through the chassis and keyboard area.

Cleaning Corrosion and Mineral Deposits

Liquid spills, especially sticky and sugary ones, can leave behind corrosion or mineral deposits as they dry. Use these tips to clean laptop parts:

Distilled Water Rinse

Gently rinse laptop boards, connectors, etc. with 90%+ isopropyl alcohol or distilled water to dissolve crusty deposits and dissolve minerals. Allow to fully dry afterwards.

Q-tips and Toothpicks

Use Q-tips, soft brushes, or wooden toothpicks to gently dislodge caked-on gunk in keyboard cracks, vents, and crevices. Avoid abrasives.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Wipe down circuit boards and connections with a lint-free cloth soaked in 90%+ isopropyl alcohol to remove corrosion and dissolve deposits.

Canned Air Duster

Use short bursts of canned air duster to dislodge particles from under keyboard keys, around ribbon cables, and in other tight spaces.

Vinegar Solution

Wipe down exterior plastic laptop cases with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to break down stubborn mineral deposits and corrosion.

Foam Swabs

Use foam-tipped swabs dampened with isopropyl alcohol to precisely clean corrosion in small crevices and hard-to-reach spots on circuit boards.

Testing for Functionality

Once your laptop is fully dry internally and externally, it’s time to fire it up and test out all functions. Here’s what to check:

Power On

Attempt to boot up your laptop while plugged into AC power. If it powers on successfully, that’s a great first sign.

Display & Backlight

Verify that the laptop screen illuminates and displays an image. Check for flickering or dimness.

Keyboard Inputs

Try out every single key on your keyboard to make sure each one types properly without sticking or repeating letters.

Touchpad & Buttons

Test the laptop’s touchpad and selection buttons for accurate responsiveness and clicking.

Speakers & Microphone

Play audio through the speakers and record audio via the microphone to check both for clarity.

WiFi & Bluetooth

Connect to a wireless network and pair a Bluetooth device to confirm the laptop’s wireless radios are functional.


Open the webcam software and check that the built-in camera previews and captures images properly.

Ports & Drives

Test all ports like USB, HDMI, SD card reader, etc. Attach external drives to verify laptop can access storage devices.

Safe Usage Precautions

If your laptop survived its liquid encounter and works normally after thorough drying, take measures to safely operate it and avoid future moisture risks:

Monitor Temperatures

Use monitoring software to routinely check component temperatures for abnormal spikes that may indicate lingering moisture damage.

Perform Backups

Frequently back up critical data to external drives to minimize data loss risk if leaks reappear later on.

Enforce Laptop Bans

No drinks allowed! Enforce strict rules about keeping food and beverages far away from your laptop.

Use a Laptop Cover

Protect your laptop from future spills and humidity exposure by always using a durable, water-resistant laptop sleeve or case.

Add a Waterproof Skin

Apply a transparent skin or sealant specifically designed to waterproof laptops and make the case impervious.

Get Insurance

Consider purchasing an extended warranty or device protection insurance to cover costs if permanent water damage emerges later.

When to Seek Professional Help

In these situations below, take your laptop to a repair technician for inspection and servicing:

Visible Internal Corrosion

Obvious green or white corrosion spots inside the laptop likely require professional cleaning to prevent damage spread.

No Power, Display, or POST

If your laptop won’t power on, display video, or complete POST, specialized tools may be needed to dry and repair.

Short Circuits or Electrical Issues

Erratic power behavior, flickering screens, or repeated shutdowns indicate shorts requiring expert electrical repair.

Stuck or Repeating Keys

Keys that stick, repeat, or fail to register keystrokes need professional cleaning or replacement.

Lingering Odors or Condensation

Strong damp smells or visible moisture inside mean excess liquids that technicians can properly remove.

Visible Residue or Corrosion

If you spot gunk, mineral deposits, or corrosion on circuits, seek professional cleaning to prevent electrical issues.

Accidental Power-On When Wet

Powering up a wet laptop can cause instant damage. Technicians may be able to repair affected components.

Cost of Repairs

Here are typical repair costs you can expect to pay if liquid damage is beyond DIY fixes:

Repair Type Average Cost
Keyboard replacement $50 – $150
Motherboard replacement $200 – $500
Component cleaning/drying $60 – $150
Full laptop replacement $600 – $1500

Keep in mind newer laptop models or extra repair complexities can increase costs. Water damage repairs average $250 overall in most cases.

Preventing Future Spills

Here are some key tips to keep liquids well away from your laptop in the future:

Use Laptop Stands

Laptop stands and risers elevate your device off the work surface, keeping it safely above drink spill range.

Employ Good Cable Management

Neatly run and bundle cables to avoid inadvertently pulling glasses and drinks onto your laptop.

Shut Lids When Not in Use

Make it a habit to fully close the lid whenever you need to step away from your laptop for a period of time.

Hydrate Carefully

When placing drinks near your laptop, use lids and avoid overfilling containers. Only set drinks on level, stable surfaces.

Keep Food Away

Avoid eating and snacking when using your laptop to prevent messy food drips and spills.

Use Water Bottles

Fill reusable water bottles instead of glasses which are more easily tipped over. Sports bottles with straws or no-spill spouts are ideal.

Pick Up Your Laptop Properly

Always close the lid and lift from the base when relocating your laptop to avoid drips and drops from resting drinks.


Getting moisture inside your laptop keyboard can definitely happen, but doesn’t have to be catastrophic if handled correctly. Quickly powering off, drying with air circulation, cleaning deposits, and testing for functionality allows you to safely restore operation in many cases. For severe water damage or electrical issues, rely on the expertise of professional repair technicians. Implementing careful habits can also reduce future laptop spills and keep your device safe.