What to do if spilled drink on laptop?

Assess the Situation Quickly

If you’ve accidentally spilled a drink on your laptop, it’s important to assess the situation quickly. Don’t panic, but do act fast. The longer the liquid sits inside your laptop, the more potential damage it can cause. Take a deep breath and follow these initial steps:

  • Unplug the laptop immediately. This will help prevent short circuits.
  • Turn the laptop off if it’s still on. Hold down the power button for 5-10 seconds until it shuts down.
  • Disconnect any external hardware like USB drives or external monitors.
  • Gently shake the laptop to drain out as much liquid as possible from openings.
  • Open the laptop and position it to let the remaining liquid drain out. Tilt open at an angle.
  • Blot up any liquid on the screen or keyboard with a clean, dry towel or cloth.

The goal here is to get as much liquid out of the internal components as quickly as possible before it can do any real damage. Don’t try turning the laptop back on yet or testing components.

Dry Out the Laptop

Once you’ve drained off the initial spilled drink, the next step is to thoroughly dry out the laptop’s internal components. Getting rid of any moisture inside is critical for avoiding short circuits, corrosion, or permanent component damage:

  • Remove any replaceable parts you can like RAM modules or hard drives. Gently blot the undersides with a towel.
  • If possible, flip the laptop over and open up the bottom cover or back panel to access the motherboard. Blot any moisture present.
  • If you can’t open it up, keep blotting the exterior, especially around ports or openings.
  • Use compressed air to blast out any droplets inside hard-to-reach areas.
  • Place the disassembled laptop pieces on a towel and let them air dry for at least 24-48 hours.

The longer you can leave components to dry, the better. Full drying can take 3-5 days depending on the amount of liquid spilled. Leaving it disassembled prevents moisture from being trapped inside.

Do Not Power On Until Fully Dry

It’s important not to reassemble and power on your laptop until you are 100% certain no moisture remains. Powering on too early risks short circuiting and failure:

  • Check all components for any visible moisture before reassembling.
  • Reconnect any parts you removed and replace covers once completely dry.
  • Try turning the laptop on after letting it dry for at least 24 hours minimally.
  • If it won’t turn on or doesn’t boot up properly, let it dry longer – up to a few more days.
  • Leaving it to dry for longer is better than risking permanent electrical damage by powering on too soon.

Be patient and disciplined here. It’s better for your laptop to remain disassembled for a few extra days than causing failure by applying power prematurely.

Clean Remaining Sticky Residue

Once your laptop has dried out completely and you’ve reassembled it, you may find sticky residue or sugary film left behind on areas like the keyboard, touchpad, or chassis:

  • Use rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth to gently remove sticky buildup. This will sanitize and dissolve residue.
  • Cotton swabs or Q-tips can help clean tight areas like between keyboard keys.
  • A can of compressed air can help blow out any lingering particles inside.
  • Be cautious when cleaning screens and avoid getting moisture in ports or openings.
  • Consider replacing your keyboard if drinks contained lots of sugar and it’s too sticky to clean.

Take your time cleaning to avoid accidentally pushing gunk further inside the laptop. Slow, gentle motions are best for removing stubborn residue.

Test Laptop Functionality Thoroughly

Once your laptop has finally dried out, reassembled, and cleaned up, the last step is carefully testing and making sure everything still functions properly:

  • Check that operating system boots up and runs as expected.
  • Test keyboard, touchpad, and buttons for responsiveness.
  • Verify that screen displays image and has no issue with backlight bleed.
  • Make sure speakers, microphone, webcam, and other components work.
  • Test battery life and charging to ensure no liquid reached battery compartment.
  • Run diagnostics tests like built-in BIOS tools or hardware scans if available.

Spend at least an hour rigorously testing all aspects of the laptop to catch potential issues as early as possible. Certain problems may not show up right away.

Backup Data and Replace Any Faulty Parts

If testing reveals specific components damaged by the spilled drink that impair functionality:

  • Back up any data on the laptop if you haven’t already as a precaution.
  • Replace any parts not working properly like the keyboard, battery, display, etc.
  • For more serious liquid damage not fixed by part swaps, you may need professional repair.
  • In worst case of irreparable damage, full laptop replacement may be required.

Have a repair technician inspect it if you notice major component failure. Parts vulnerable to drink damage include the motherboard, screen, and keyboard.

Use Precautions Moving Forward

To avoid spilled drink situations in the future:

  • Don’t place drinks right next to or over your laptop.
  • Use cups with lids when setting drinks nearby.
  • Keep your laptop on a stable, level surface and don’t move it with an open drink close by.
  • Take a break from working to enjoy a drink away from your laptop.
  • Close any open containers before moving your laptop.

Be mindful of drinks when working on or moving your laptop. One slip or bump can lead to catastrophe. Position drinks at a safe distance.


Spilling a drink on your laptop can be stressful, but staying calm and following these steps gives you the best chance for a successful recovery. Act quickly to drain liquid, thoroughly dry internal components, clean away residue, test for issues, repair any damage, and ultimately get your laptop functional again. Be extra careful around drinks in the future to avoid a repeat incident. With patience and care, you can survive a laptop drink spill.

Step Actions
1 Assess the situation quickly – unplug laptop, power off, drain liquid
2 Dry out the laptop – remove parts, blot moisture, air dry components
3 Don’t power on until completely dry – wait at least 24-48 hours minimum
4 Clean any sticky residue – use rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, compressed air
5 Test laptop functionality thoroughly – check all components, run diagnostics
6 Backup data, replace damaged parts, consider professional repair
7 Use precautions moving forward – keep drinks away, use lidded containers

Following these key steps methodically after spilling a drink gives you the greatest chance of salvaging your laptop and avoiding permanent damage or failure. Don’t deviate from the process until you’ve verified everything still works properly. With care and patience, you can survive spilling liquid on your laptop.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if only a small amount of liquid was spilled?

Even if only a small amount of liquid was spilled, it’s still wise to follow all the steps. Liquid can spread quickly inside a laptop and lead to issues down the road. Play it safe and thoroughly dry it out.

Are some drinks more harmful than others when spilled?

Yes, drinks with higher sugar content like soda, juice, or sweetened coffee are more conductive and can short circuit components faster. Water causes less immediate damage but can still corrode long-term if not dried off.

How can I tell if permanent damage was done?

If you follow the drying process and laptop still won’t power on or has obvious functionality issues like display problems or keyboard failure, permanent damage was likely done that requires professional repair or replacement.

Is it ok to try drying with external heat sources?

No, never try to speed up internal drying with external heat sources like hairdryers or ovens. This can cause thermal damage and is not safe. Air drying at room temperature is best.

What should I do if liquid got inside the screen or camera?

Moisture inside the screen or camera can cause fogging, distorted display, or blurred image quality. The screen and camera components may need replacement if issues persist after complete drying.

Can I disassemble and dry a laptop not designed to be user serviceable?

It’s not recommended to force open laptops not meant for user upgrades, as you can break plastic clips or damage components. Carefully drying the exterior or seeking professional help is best.

How much does professional laptop liquid damage repair typically cost?

Costs greatly vary based on extent of damage but expect anywhere from $50 for minor cleaning to over $1000 if critical components need replacement or device replacement is required.

Will liquid damage be covered by laptop warranty?

Probably not – accidental liquid damage is classified as user-induced damage and most manufacturer warranties exclude coverage in this event. Extended third-party warranties may provide some protection.

What liquids cause the most damage when spilled on a laptop?

Sugary sodas, fruit juices, and coffee with sugar are most conductive and corrosive. Saltwater and alcohol can also quickly short circuit components. Even plain water can gradually cause corrosion over time.