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

  1. 1
    Paul M. Says:

    I got lucky. A few days ago spilled some green tea on the keyboard. It started typing on its own after that.
    I removed the keyboard and the bottom was dry.
    A new keyboard just arrived and it works great. No problem so far.

  2. 2
    Tim Says:

    I wasn’t so lucky :(
    Found a very small damaged area on motherboad. It had oxidation liky on a car battery. Tried cleaning it but the laptop is dead.
    One drop of water killed the motheboard I guess.

  3. 3
    Cindy Says:

    Thanks for the USB enclosure trick.
    Took me a while to figure out how to take ownership over files though. Got all my files now.

  4. 4
    Alexa Says:

    I spilled coffee about 2 months ago. Laptop work but keyboard doens’t type letters I and K. What should I do?

  5. 5
    cj2600 Says:

    @ Alexa,

    I spilled coffee about 2 months ago. Laptop work but keyboard doens’t type letters I and K. What should I do?

    It sounds like you’ll have to replace the keyboard. You cannot fix individual keys if they stopped working.

  6. 6
    Access IT Systems Says:

    Another excellent way to recover a board after liquid spill is to wrap it in absorbant kitchen roll or similar, and place in a container filled with dry rice. Leave it overnight and the rice should draw out any remaining moisture. its not an exact science but it does work most of the time

  7. 7
    Haroldo Says:

    Another way in case of water, is to create a cardboard box oven, covered with aluminum foil and an incandescent lamp with 60w. Leave the motherboard wet inside the box closed for five hours. The motherboard will be dry and ready for reuse

  8. 8
    frisca Says:

    can i actually remove the keypad and put a new on my own?

  9. 9
    Control Escape Says:

    Thanks for the tips they are great. The cardboard oven comment sounds interesting… I think as with any electronic device, the important thing is to power it down and remove the battery asap to avoid damgage (not always possible such as with iphones). Remember that if you do need to clean it then use non-ionised water!

  10. 10
    cj2600 Says:

    @ frisca,

    can i actually remove the keypad and put a new on my own?

    Keypad or keyboard?
    Yes, you can but it requires some technical skills.
    It will be very helpful to have the laptop disassembly manual.

  11. 11
    Lorenzo Says:

    Used your tip about external hard drive case. I didn’t know how to get my pictures. Thanks.

  12. 12
    Nick Says:

    I have experienced cleaning laptop is not enough and motherboard must be dried in oven otherwise it will stop working in few days

  13. 13
    victor Says:

    my laptop stop work i dontknow how or why am just close my laptop and try to use agen and just show the back ground can any one help me whithat pls

  14. 14
    cj2600 Says:

    @ victor,

    my laptop stop work i dontknow how or why am just close my laptop and try to use agen and just show the back ground can any one help me whithat pls

    Please provide more details.
    Does it show Windows background or no icons or what?

  15. 15
    Evie Says:

    My daughter spilled water on my laptop a long time ago. Now it turns on but the screen is blank. Only some lights around the keyboard light up. Is it useless now or should I try having it repaired?

  16. 16
    Javi Says:

    About a week ago i spilled soda (not that much at all probably less tha a teaspoon) and ever since, y,u,i,k,j,h,and n has been REALLY sticky. i cleaned it up already and they still work. but like i said its really sticky. is there any way to fix this?

  17. 17
    cj2600 Says:

    @ Evie,

    My daughter spilled water on my laptop a long time ago. Now it turns on but the screen is blank. Only some lights around the keyboard light up. Is it useless now or should I try having it repaired?

    It’s hard to tell. You said the liquid was spilled a long time ago so there is a chance the laptop failure is not related to the liquid damage.
    You can try basic troubleshooting steps as I explained here: http://www.laptoprepair101.com.....e-problem/

  18. 18
    manking Says:

    Hey,
    My friend poured a half a glass of water on her laptops keyboard. She tried to try it off and let it stay for a day and then she booted it up. But the whole keyboard is dead. How to make sure if all the motherboard circuits are still okay and replacing the keyboard would fix it?

  19. 19
    josh Says:

    good day please i will like to know which chip is responsible for some keys on the laptop keyboard not to work properly for both internal and external keyboard

  20. 20
    steve Says:

    my girlfriend cant seem to get the mouse cursor to move any reason for this please can u help i have shut it down and restarted but still nothing she has a hi grade notebook

  21. 21
    lynn Says:

    Our Toshiba laptop got wet about 2 year ago and have not done anything with it due to we where moving. The worst part is that it was not that old when this all happen.We are trying to get it to work…Now we can get it to turn on and it goes to the first screen that say Toshiba innovation but cant get it to do anything else..please help…thanks

  22. 22
    cj2600 Says:

    @ lynn,

    Now we can get it to turn on and it goes to the first screen that say Toshiba innovation but cant get it to do anything else..please help

    Liquid spills are unpredictable and hard to troubleshoot.
    In cases like that I disassemble the laptop to barebone system and start testing step by step.

  23. 23
    brendan Says:

    Hi. My daughter spilled a glass of water on our sleeping laptop when I wasn’t home. My wife immediately dried everything off and threw it in a bag of rice and we let it sit for days. She didn’t remove the battery (it’s a Dell XPS, I think you have to remove the case to remove the battery). I’ve been through this before, more or less figured it was toast, and we didn’t even try to do anything with it for about two weeks. Now when it gets plugged in, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, the whole shebang – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help? Gracias!

  24. 24
    Gareth Says:

    @Brendan
    It sounds like it is overheating. Possibly, if there’s a cooling fan inside this laptop then it isn’t working anymore. Alternatively, the heat conducting paste between the cpu and the heatsink has been washed out or otherwise failed. If you have the service manual for your laptop you can find out how to remove the CPU and replace the thermal compound but check if there’s a working fan there first.

  25. 25
    cj2600 Says:

    @ brendan,

    Now when it gets plugged in, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, the whole shebang – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help?

    It’s hard to tell what is going on without taking it apart.
    Maybe the cooling fan doesn’t start? It’s possible the fan controlling circuit got damaged by water. Just a guess.

  26. 26
    umm ayman Says:

    hi
    my daugter spilled some water over the laptop, it worked fine.but after one day there is no lights no fan sound when we switch.it on. Tried changing the ac ppower source that didnt help. Is there any fix? Pls help.

  27. 27
    Kevin Gillenwater Says:

    Hi. I have used your site in the past and found it very helpful. A friend spilled a small amount of water on the keyboard of a Toshiba Satellite S855. He didn’t have the extended warranty that covered accidents, so I’m assuming that something like this wouldn’t be covered by the regular warranty.

    Are you able to provide information on how to remove the keyboard of the particular model? I cannot seem to find anything (anywhere) which provides instruction for this particular model. There aren’t any screws in the battery compartment (like on the L755). I was going to follow the troubleshooting instructions that you provided with this article, but can’t seem to figure how to disassemble the keyboard.

    Any ideas???

    Thanks
    Kevin

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

  32. 32
    angela Says:

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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??

  37. 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.

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