What to do if laptop falls in water?

What to do immediately if laptop falls into water?

If your laptop accidentally falls into water, immediate action is crucial to potentially save your device. Here are some important first steps to take:

  • Retrieve it quickly. Immediately remove your laptop from the water to minimize liquid exposure and damage. Be sure to unplug it first if it was connected to a power source.
  • Turn it off. Press and hold the power button for at least 5 seconds to turn off your laptop. Do not try turning it on.
  • Remove the battery. If possible, open up the laptop casing and disconnect the battery to prevent short circuiting.
  • Drain excess liquid. Hold the laptop upside down over a towel to drain out as much water as possible from ports and openings.
  • Dry the exterior. Use a microfiber cloth or soft towel to gently blot up any moisture on the laptop’s outer case. Be careful not to scrub or wipe the screen.
  • Do not shake the device. Shaking can cause further water damage and make recovery less likely.

Taking quick action to power down, dry off, and remove power sources gives you the best chance of being able to revive your water-damaged laptop.

Should you try turning on a wet laptop?

No, you should never try turning on a laptop that has gotten wet. Attempting to power up a water-damaged device can cause short circuiting which may permanently damage the electrical components.

When water and electricity mix, shorts can occur which can fry the laptop’s motherboard and internal chips. This is one of the worst things you can do, as it often leads to an unrecoverable failure.

Leave the laptop turned off and follow drying steps to give it the best chance of working again once completely dry. Never plug it in or turn it on until you are sure all internal moisture has evaporated. Be patient and do not test it until at least 48 hours later.

How to dry out a wet laptop properly?

To dry out a laptop after water damage, follow these important guidelines:

  • Leave it powered off and remove any batteries or cables.
  • Disassemble components that can be safely removed. Taking apart the casing allows better airflow and drying.
  • Absorb moisture with dry towels, cloths or paper towels. Gently blot surfaces but avoid scrubbing.
  • Use canned compressed air to blow out any liquid in crevices and ports.
  • Place the laptop in a dry, well-ventilated area. Point a fan towards it to facilitate evaporation.
  • Put desiccant packets or uncooked rice in a bag or box with the laptop to absorb moisture.
  • Be patient. Allow at least 24-48 hours of drying time before attempting to use your laptop again.

Gradually drying all components removes traces of liquid both externally and internally. Rushing the process risks short circuiting if moisture remains. Take your time and thoroughly dry each part to give your laptop the best chance of working again.

What household items can help dry out a wet laptop?

If your laptop gets drenched, you likely do not have specialized drying equipment on hand. However, many common household items can assist with absorbing moisture:

  • Paper towels – Gently blot wet areas on the exterior to soak up water.
  • Cloth towels – Use soft, dry towels to pat down and dry the laptop’s case and screen.
  • Cotton swabs – Swab out moisture from small crevices and openings.
  • Tissue paper – Thin tissue paper can also absorbing trapped water droplets.
  • Canned air – Use compressed air to blast out water from inside ports and vents.
  • Desiccant packets – Place these moisture-absorbing packets around the laptop.
  • Uncooked rice – Bury the laptop in a bowl or bag of dry rice to extract moisture.
  • Vacuum cleaner – Use the blow function, not suction, to dry interior components.

While not ideal substitutes for commercial drying tools, many commonly available items around the home can be repurposed to dry out a device after water exposure.

Is it safe to use a hairdryer to dry a wet laptop?

Using a hairdryer to dry a wet laptop comes with some risks. The main dangers of using a hairdryer are:

  • Excessive direct heat can damage electronic components.
  • Blown air may push moisture deeper into crevices rather than drying them.
  • Condensation can form if heated too quickly.
  • Static electricity from the hairdryer may discharge and cause damage.
  • Strong airflow can dislodge interior parts if used carelessly.

However, when used carefully a hairdryer may help expedite drying:

  • Use low heat settings only.
  • Keep the dryer 6-8 inches away and moving to prevent overheating.
  • Aim airflow across the surface, not directly into ports.
  • Alternate with room temperature air to limit condensation.

If attempting to use a hairdryer, proceed with extreme caution. It is generally safer to air dry components thoroughly instead. But light, indirect heat can occasionally speed up evaporation when used with care.

How long should you wait before turning on a wet laptop?

After a laptop gets soaked, you should wait at least 24-48 hours before attempting to turn it on again. This allows time for moisture that may be trapped under chips or in crevices to fully evaporate.

Turning on wet electronics can cause electrical shorts, so it is crucial to be patient during the drying process:

  • Less than 24 hours – Too risky, more drying time is needed.
  • 24-48 hours – Safest waiting period before testing if device will power on.
  • 48-72 hours – Allow extra time if the laptop was very wet or components got submerged.
  • 1 week – Recommended wait if laptop was saturated or if you are unsure how wet internal parts became.

The more time you allow for the laptop to air dry completely, the better chance components have of avoiding permanent water damage when powered back on. Never rush the process or make assumptions before it has had ample time to dry out.

What are signs of water damage in a laptop?

If your laptop gets exposed to moisture, be on the lookout for these common signs of water damage:

  • Visible moisture – Water droplets, condensation or wetness inside or on the exterior case.
  • Cloudiness – Foggy, opaque appearance of the screen from water penetration.
  • Dark spots – Visible water stains on the case, often a sign of more extensive damage.
  • Corrosion – Rust, oxidation or green growth on metallic components.
  • Overheating – Laptop gets abnormally hot due to shorts and current leakage.
  • Burning odor – Smell of burning plastic from electric arcing damage.
  • Boot failure – Laptop will not start up when pressing the power button.
  • Malfunction – Keyboard, trackpad or ports stop working correctly.

Catching water damage early significantly raises the chances of being able to repair or save your laptop. Be alert for any of these common warning signs of moisture exposure.

Is it possible to fix a laptop after water damage?

Water damaged laptops can often be repaired, but success depends on:

  • How quickly it was powered down and dried out.
  • If corrosion has already occurred on circuits.
  • Which components got exposed to moisture.
  • The extent of any short circuiting or arcing damage.

If dried thoroughly and quickly, replacement of the following parts can salvage many wet laptops:

  • Battery – Very susceptible to water damage and often needs replacing.
  • Memory – RAM chips can short out easily when wet.
  • Hard Drive – Severe moisture can make data recovery impossible.
  • Motherboard – Core logic circuits control many laptop functions.
  • Keyboard – Individual keys frequently need replacing if immersed.

While labor intensive, components that fail due to water exposure can usually be swapped out to restore normal function. Just be prepared for potentially extensive disassembly to undo the effects of any liquid spills.

Best methods for quick laptop water damage repair

If your laptop gets doused and begins malfunctioning, the fastest ways to attempt to salvage it are:

  • Immediately power down and disconnect all cables/batteries.
  • Disassemble to drain any collected moisture using towels and compressed air.
  • Remove any modular components that got wet like RAM and drives.
  • Rinse removable parts with 90%+ isopropyl alcohol and let fully dry.
  • Clean corrosion from connectors with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs.
  • Check for arcing burns or damaged traces on the motherboard.
  • Replace any components that appear heat warped or non-functional.
  • Reassemble using new thermal paste and protective seals.
  • Verify laptop successfully boots up when powered back on after thorough drying.

Speed is critical for water damage repair. The faster you can disassemble, rinse, clean and dry key parts, the better your chances of reviving your laptop and saving data. Just be wary of prematurely reconnecting wet components before proper cleaning.

Is it worth professionally repairing a liquid-damaged laptop?

Factors to consider when deciding if professional repair for a wet laptop is worthwhile:

  • Cost of repair – Will it exceed the value of the laptop? Replacement may be better.
  • Age of laptop – Older devices may not justify extensive repairs.
  • Data recovery – Is data salvage worth the repair cost?
  • Availability of parts – Can compatible replacement parts still be sourced?
  • Complexity – Does troubleshooting require specialty tools/skills?
  • Liquid type – Was the fluid corrosive or conductive? Affects damage.
  • Peripheral damage – Were accessories, charger, etc. also ruined?
  • Diagnostic fees – Upfront costs may still apply even if repair is not possible.

Weigh all these factors against replacement cost to decide if professional laptop refurbishment is sensible. Data recovery especially may warrant the expense. For newer laptops, repair can be cost-effective if done quickly before corrosion sets in.

Warning signs that water damage is beyondDIY repair

Water damaged laptops that exhibit these issues likely require professional repair services instead of DIY attempts:

  • No power when pressing the start button, even after thorough drying.
  • Visible scorching or melted plastic on interior components.
  • Laptop immediately shuts down when powered on.
  • Distorted or cracked screen with visible moisture behind LCD.
  • Corroded or bent pin connectors on internal ports and sockets.
  • Sizzling, burning smell or smoking coming from laptop.
  • Sparking observed when battery connected.
  • Leaking fluid that appears milky, sugary, oily or discolored.
  • Error codes on start up indicating component failure.
  • Unresponsive touchpad, keyboard or ports.

While minor moisture exposure often can be remedied with thorough drying, these issues typically require skills and tools the average person lacks. Seek professional assistance if your laptop shows any of these warning signs of extensive water damage.

What temporary measures can keep a wet laptop functioning?

While drying and repairing a liquid damaged laptop, these temporary measures may help partially restore or maintain functionality:

  • External keyboard and mouse if built-in ones fail.
  • Secondary monitor if screen is damaged.
  • External USB ports for backup drives and accessories if internal ports malfunction.
  • Replacement battery if original no longer holds charge.
  • Canned air duster to keep blowing out residual moisture in crevices.
  • Silica gel packets left inside laptop overnight to continue absorbing any moisture.
  • Laptop elevation on risers or stand to improve air circulation and cooling.
  • Vacuum fan blowing air across laptop to reduce system overheating.

While not permanent solutions, accessories and workarounds like these can buy some extra time to try backing up data and finding repair options. Just avoid excessive laptop usage before it is fully restored to avoid worsening any water damage effects.

Data backup tips after water damage before repair

Before attempting any water damage repairs on your laptop, be sure to backup any accessible data:

  • Copy personal files onto external drive if hard disk still mounts.
  • Use cloud storage to upload irreplaceable documents and media.
  • Try booting from a USB recovery disk to access internal drive.
  • Remove hard disk drive or SSD and use enclosure adaptor to access from another system.
  • Attempt to manually mount drive on another computer if enclosure access fails.
  • Consult a data recovery service if drive failure prevents personal data access.
  • Do not continue using the laptop or internal drive as failures may occur.
  • Document serial numbers, specs and warranty info for repaired/replaced parts.

Preserving data is one of the most important reactions after water damage. If there is any hope of backup, do so immediately before potential drive corruption or physical repair alters the laptop further. Some data may still be saved if acted on quickly.

Is it possible to prevent water damage to laptops?

To help safeguard your laptop from water damage:

  • Keep liquids away from laptop usage areas.
  • Never eat or drink around an open laptop.
  • Carry laptop in watertight bag when traveling.
  • Shut fully when not in use, even for short periods.
  • Store on elevated surface in case of flooding.
  • Ensure air vents are not obstructed to avoid overheating.
  • Use laptop shell or hard case for added protection.
  • Avoid opening near sinks, tubs, pools or outdoor sprinklers.
  • Use laptop disaster skin stickers to cover vents and ports.
  • Disable laptop if young children may be near unattended.

While accidental spills or submersion may still occur, cautious habits greatly reduce risks. Treat your laptop as delicately as any other electronic device to maximize its longevity. A few simple precautions can prevent many heartbreaking water accidents.


Water damage can quickly ruin an expensive investment like a laptop if not handled promptly and properly. Acting fast to dry your device while powered down, and allowing ample time for moisture to fully evaporate before restoring power, are the best ways to avoid permanent failure after a drenching. Have your important data safely backed up even before attempting repairs. While moisture exposure can sometimes be remedied with careful cleaning and replacement of affected components, prevention is always preferable to preserve your laptop’s functionality. Be attentive to liquid risks, cautiously transport and operate your computer, and avoid questionable repair shortcuts. With some diligence and the right response time in case of an accident, your laptop can be a lasting companion.