In this post I provide a few liquid spill repair tips.

IMPORTANT: If you spilled something on your laptop you should stop using it right away, even if it appears to be running good. Right after the spill you should turn it off, unplug the power adapter and remove the battery. The laptop should be disassembled as soon as possible and all internal parts should be inspected for liquid damage.

Liquid spills are very unpredictable. Even a small liquid spill can cause serious damage.

IF YOU SPILLED A SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID

Let’s say you spilled less than a teaspoon of liquid on the keyboard and it stopped working properly, but anything else works fine.

In this case it could be enough to remove just the keyboard to evaluate the damage. Turn off the laptop, unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery. Now remove the keyboard and take a closer look underneath.

Search for any liquid presence under the keyboard.

- If you see liquid on the motherboard, you’ll have to disassemble the laptop completely for the further inspection.
- If the motherboard appears to be completely dry, do not disassemble it any further. Replace the keyboard with a new one. Hopefully replacing the keyboard will fix it.

IF YOU SPILLED SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF LIQUID

If you spilled a lot of liquid on the laptop, turn it off right away. Unplug the power adapter and remove the battery as soon as possible.

Most likely it will be necessary to remove the top cover and inspect the motherboard for the damage evaluation.

Search for any liquid presence on the back side of the top cover and motherboard.

If the motherboard is wet, remove it from the laptop and inspect the other side.

HOW TO CLEAN UP LIQUID DAMAGE

Wipe it out liquid with a soft cloth. Ideally, use an air compressor to dry the motherboard.

Be very careful wiping the motherboard because it has too many small components.

If you find any corrosion, you can clean it up with a toothbrush and 91%-99% isopropyl alcohol.

Make sure the motherboard (or any other internal component) is completely dry before testing it.

IF YOU SPILLED SOME LIQUID ON THE SCREEN

If you spilled liquid on the screen, wipe it out clean as soon as possible. The liquid might get inside the screen and damage it.

In one of the previous post I explained how to clean the screen with liquid damage. Believe me, it’s not easy. But if it happens, just replace the whole screen.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE LAPTOP AFTER CLEANING

You’ll have to assemble it back together step by step.

First, assemble just main components: motherboard, CPU with the cooling fan and RAM modules. Now turn it on and test basic image on the screen.

If it turns on and you can see the image, start adding other parts one by one and test after each step.

If the laptop doesn’t start after cleaning, take another look at the motherboard and other components. Maybe you missed a small damaged area. Try cleaning it again.

If it still doesn’t turn on, most likely the motherboard (or other component) is damaged.

HOW TO RECOVER DATA FROM HARD DRIVE

Let’s say the laptop is dead and you cannot do anything to make it work. You still should be able to recover personal data from the hard drive. I assume the hard drive wasn’t damaged by liquid.

You can access data using a USB enclosure.

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37 Comments

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  1. 37
    cj2600 Says:

    @ Ashneet,
    Liquid spills aver very unpredictable. If you don’t want to take it apart for diagnostics, at least let it dry for a week.

  2. 36
    Ashneet Says:

    I spilled aroud half a glass of water on my hp laptop(keyboard) .i immediately turned it off
    and removed the battery after 10-15 mins and wiped out all the liquid as much as possible.
    I turned it on after 48 hrs and fortunately it was working well
    but i am afraid as i heard from sum that the effects of liquid spills may be seen after sum
    time so wat shud i do now ??
    shud i take it for a check or not on it for few more days??

  3. 35
    cj2600 Says:

    @ Ravi,

    expect i’m hearing some noise in the touchpad like crackling and buzzing sound. Does it really need to worry

    That’s not good. I wouldn’t use the laptop like that.
    Normally, I would recommend taking it apart for liquid spill diagnostics. If you don’t want to do that, turn it off, remove the battery and don’t use for a few day. Let it dry.

  4. 34
    Ravi Says:

    I have spilled tea near the hp 1000-1401AU latpop touchpad buttons and keyboard. The amount of spill is little i have taken every drastic measures when we do if liquid gets in laptop and everything now works fine, expect i’m hearing some noise in the touchpad like crackling and buzzing sound. Does it really need to worry

  5. 33
    cj2600 Says:

    @ angela,
    There is no simple answer but remove the battery as soon as possible and don’t try to turn it on until liquid spill diagnostic is done.
    It’s necessary to disassemble the laptop and take a closer look at the motherboard.

  6. 32
    angela Says:

    I spilled soda on my new laptop it turns on but the screen is black can it be fixed?

  7. 31
    cj2600 Says:

    @ sarah,

    spilled small amount of water on my laptop, after drying up thoroughly, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, even fan is working fine – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help?

    It’s necessary to open up the laptop and take a closer look at the motherboard. It’s possible the motherboard was damaged by water. If you find corrosion on the motherboard, try cleaning it up with a tooth brush and alcohol. After that test the laptop again. I cannot tell you what is wrong without taking it apart.

  8. 30
    sarah Says:

    spilled small amount of water on my laptop, after drying up thoroughly, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, even fan is working fine – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help?

  9. 29
    Delilah cline Says:

    What about liquids other than water? I had mt dew spilled on mine and now it will power on but no part of the keyboard works.

  10. 28
    Kevin Gillenwater Says:

    UPDATE: I was able to remove the keyboard combining information the I found from several sources and then just proceeding carefully.

    The way that I was able to remove it was to:

    1. Remove the battery and power source before proceeding.
    2. Remove the cover on the bottom which covered the memory compartment and the hard disk drive.
    3. Remove the screw which holds the ODD (cd/dvd drive) in place.
    4. Gently pull the ODD drive out of the slot.
    5. Turn the laptop so that it is sitting in the upright position (like you were going to type on it) and gently insert your finger in the spot of the vacant ODD. At the bottom left corner of the keyboard, press up from the bottom and gently release the latches from left to right, bottom, side, and top. I used a thin exacto knife to gently release the latch as I moved across.
    6. Once the keyboard was released, gently slide the clips holding the ribbon out and slide the ribbon out of the bracket.

    Kevin

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