Liquid Spills on Laptop


I spilled coffee on my laptop, what should I do?

The first step after a liquid spill is to turn off your laptop immediately, unplug the charger and if possible, remove the battery. The goal is to eliminate all power sources that could cause a short-circuit in your laptop. Turn your laptop upside down to allow any liquid to drain from the keyboard. We recommend that you leave your laptop in this position for 1–2 days. Turn your laptop over and inspect the keyboard for any remaining visible liquid at the end of the ‘drying out’ period. If none are found, connect your laptop’s battery (if applicable) and power it on. There are three (3) outcomes from a liquid spill:

  1. The laptop will turn on and boot up – no further action needed.
  2. Your laptop boots up, but some of the keys are not working – the keyboard is damaged.
  3. Laptop is ‘dead’ meaning there are no signs of activity – seek a computer repair professional for a evaluation.

How does liquid affect electronic devices?

When the device is turned on during a spill, electric current is sent to places it should not go, causing damage. Depending on the liquid, it can cause corrosion, which is a chemical reaction that occurs between metal in the circuit board and the acid in the liquid.

Even if your electronic device survives the initial incident, it is possible that your laptop will develop problems in the future. Electronics often function with some corrosion, but issues or complete failure is possible over time.

Here is a list of common liquids spilled on laptops or other electronic devices (in no specific order):

  1. Coffee
  2. Water
  3. Soft Drinks
  4. Wine
  5. Beer
  6. Tea
  7. Sea Water
  8. Nail Polish Remover (rare)

What are the main components that can be damaged from a liquid spill (coffee, water, tea, soft drinks)?

Liquids that contain acids with a pH value between 4.5 to 5.0 such as coffee and soft drinks are corrosive. In fact, it is the acid particularly in coffee that gives each blend its a unique flavor. Therefore, the longer these liquids remain in contact with electronic components, the greater chance of damage. The laptop parts that are typically affected are:

  • Keyboard (full damage)
  • Individual Keys on the Keyboard (partial damage)
  • Trackpad/Touchpad
  • Motherboard

To receive a free quote to evaluate your laptop after a spill, click here.