Mental note: the glass of water goes on the *other* side of the keyboard.

My laptop took a drink of water this morning and is now, hopefully, drying with our friendly IT folks.

Luckily my old (P3-866) BSD box here has Firefox on it and I had my work email setup to forward a copy to my Y! Mail account. So I can at least get some stuff done.

Sigh. As long as the hard drive is intact, I'll be happy.

Posted by jzawodn at September 26, 2005 12:22 PM

Reader Comments
# Jacques Marneweck said:

At least you did not spill tea / coffee / milk over the laptop! At the previous place I was working at one of our python developers split coffee over his laptop and the keys were sticky apart from the fact that he purchased a little USB keyboard for his laptop as he could not get his keyboard to work.

on September 26, 2005 02:35 PM
# Marcin said:

Also bad would have been cola or anything else sugary that gets sticky when dry. I guess technically that means it's not totally dry.

I spilt a little OJ into a laptop once. Luckily the spill was a bit further down the desk and only a little splashed in through the speaker grille on the side (the processor and HDD were on the other side). Taking it apart (I was suprised to find Dell had detailed maintenance manuals freely available) and cleaning it up made it work again.

on September 26, 2005 03:44 PM
# Chris G. said:

My old laptop took a coke shower a few years ago. The right side of the keyboard had keys sticking for a long time and by far the key you cannot do without decides to die (yes, the backspace key).

Let's say I got pretty good at using the delete key combined with arrow keys to actually delete what I want. Talk about a pain.

on September 26, 2005 04:18 PM
# Jeremy Johnstone said:

My laptop got sticky from something else...

on September 26, 2005 04:46 PM
# Charles said:

(puts on hardware tech hat)

For future reference, you can drive out most of the liquid from spills by liberal application of spray Tuner Cleaner (a/k/a Pot Cleaner). It is a spray liquid that evaporates easily and doesn't damage electronics.This works particularly well with sticky liquids (remember, sugar water conducts electricity). Buy Tuner Cleaner at any Radio Shack:

You can avoid the problem in the first place by using one of these:

on September 26, 2005 07:11 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Thanks for the advice. :-)

on September 26, 2005 08:23 PM
# Michael said:

I think it must be unlucky laptop day today... I managed to crack the LCD screen on my Toshiba last night by tripping over the power cord and sending it flying...sigh

on September 26, 2005 09:30 PM
# Neal said:

I have spilled water on my laptop twice and it still runs. Each time I shut it off and blow dry it for 3-4 hours. Then it takes a while, but it always seems to start. It's an old titanium powerbook.

on September 27, 2005 11:08 PM
# bob said:

I have one that had juice spilled on it.I used everything and not even a new keyboard will fix the problem.I was told that the juice short circuted the mother board because certain keys wont work at all.Some continously scroll forever.Some keep entering in the same letter as forever.This is a crying shame.Im glad it wasnt my laptop.If you use ceran rap plastic,it covers the keyboard and allows you to still freely type without ever worring about anything geting spilled into the laptop and it keeps out dust also.Take care all

on March 27, 2006 09:46 AM
# Gita said:

HI. Earlier today i split water on my laptop and immediately unplugged it from the mains and wiped of any liquid, but even if i remove the batter and run it off the mains, it won't work. I have blow dried it with cold air for 5/10 mins and left it on its side to let any excess water drain out...
I dont want to tell my parents as this is my second laptop ina year...will it work again? and i think liquid got into the motherboard, so what if thats the case...? do i need to get it replaced? argh.
a skint and worried student! (email me as soon as possible PLEASE)

on April 13, 2006 01:38 PM
# Emily said:

Hi, I also just spilled water on my laptop, and it was fine for a minute before it said it was logging off, then it shut down and hasn't come on again since. I've taken the battery out and dried to dry up any excess water but knowing my luck this thing will probably not work again. Am slitly paniced and and am completely and utterly screwed if my laptop is dead, it didn't make any frying noises or anything though, it merely said it was logging off then shut down so i'm hoping that's some sort of good sign..Am left now living on a vain little shrivel of hope that someone will have a miracle solution or if not then feel free to just lie and tell me everything will be ok cause this is just one seriously crappy day so far...

on May 5, 2006 04:23 AM
# Cynthia said:

Hi! I got my friends laptop drunk last night by knocking off a full beverage into it. Unfortunately, everyone was in a state where reflexes weren't as quick as they should have been. My friend is now demanding that I replace it. Is there any chance it can be fixed. When I went to pick it up 24 hours later, it leaked liquid. NOT GOOD!!!!! Any advice would be appreciated.

on May 7, 2006 08:46 PM
# Lesley said:

I managed to spill fruit juice on my laptop - it was close at the time but some got on the keys.

When I tried to start it again it would not boot up. I managed to get it up and running, but know half the keys won't work. I have had to attach a keyboard to the laptop to type this.

Can anyone help?

on July 24, 2006 09:17 AM
# Ashley said:

Emily, the exact same thing happened to me, except that my laptop DID make frying noises. Very encouraging. I'm pretty panicked about this. It wasn't even a lot of water, and I dried it up as much as I could, and then went to bed, hoping it would be better by morning. It wasn't. I can't turn it on now. I'm really hoping it'll be okay in a couple of days, but I kind of doubt it. =(

on July 25, 2006 03:04 PM
# Dudeman said:

Help. I split a little tonic water on my top righthand side of my dad laptop. Ergh. I tried blowdrying it and using the spray cleaner, any good proven methods of drying it? It's a dell inspiron 5100.

on August 7, 2006 01:25 PM
# Dennis said:

Yeah, I had my laptoop in storage while I was over seas for about a year... when I started it back up a week ago.. I found that 4 keys aren't working. 3, E, D, and C (I have to copy and paste each letter which is a total pain to instant message with)... Is there a way to just replace the key board in the laptop without buying a whole new computer?

on September 8, 2006 07:03 PM
# Matt said:

I just managed to spill iced tea (sugar free, if that means anything) on my brand effing new laptop. It only got on one side of it, not over the whole thing. I unplugged it, but left it on while I dumped the tea out of it.. it worked first, but then proceeded to come up with an error screen that would not go away. Now, when I try to restart it, I get an error message saying the hard drive is not detected. I'm freaking out.. 1200 bucks and haven't even made a payment yet; is there any hope?? PLEASE help if you can

on September 26, 2006 08:19 PM
# caz said:

I have split water on my laptop twice, each time i removed the battery immediately shutting off the power supply and put it in the airing cupboard 4 atleast 24 hours. I didnt try to turn it on b4 the time was up and it works fine!! Tip - dont use a hairdryer you'll melt the keys and the components inside!!

on November 19, 2006 03:04 AM
# Jennifer said:

A beer was spilled onto my laptop keyboard. Everything works fine other than the E key, O key, and the SPACE bar :(
Any advice???

on November 28, 2006 10:15 AM
# Jennifer said:

Type your comment here.

After you submit the comment, check your email. There will be
a link you need to click to make your comment visible.

Your email address WILL NOT appear on the site, so don't worry
about being anonymous, even if you think you are (grumpY!).

on November 28, 2006 12:28 PM
# Patrick said:

I spilled about a half of a cup of water on my laptop. There was a small little spark in the middle of the keyboard and then it turned off. It will not turn back on. I am drying it out now and will try to turn it on in a few days. Does the spark mean the motherboard is dead? or could it just be a short circuit? Also, does anyone know price quotes for repairing these type of things? Any help is very appreciated.

on March 3, 2007 07:57 PM
# Miller said:

i spilled a bear on my laptop keyboard and its over 3 weeks i was thinking its going to dry and work again normally but all to no x letter keep running and none of the key works at all its terrible.Any one got an idea,there is no laptop without a keyboard.

on March 13, 2007 03:43 AM
# said:

I ever spilled some cola on my ACER TRAVELMATE TABLET C111 when relaxing near the pool (sure a dangerous mix of risky environment...).
I let it to dry, but many keys stayed seized and kept scrolling, give buzzing alerts on setup, confuse the stylus input,...etc. Typing like crazy on the faulty keys while screaming various insults did not arrange things in any way.
So I decided to remove the kbd (3 screws underneath the case) and rinse it carefully under tepid water, drying with a hairdryer just after. It cured partly the problem, some keys randomly seizing at setup or after. Even some prealable strong "massages" of the keyboard before use did not help completely. 2-3 times of this process did not improve really the results.

So after securing my fate through purchasing a remplacement kbd (in an other language anyway), I plunged the whole kbd in warm water, for some 12 hrs. Then I shook it briefly to remove the excess of liquid and let it standing upright to sun dry for several hours. Now it works 100% fine.

on May 10, 2007 09:29 AM
# Curtis said:


As a service technician, I was amused to read all the posts here, and thought someone should add some professional advice, for whatever that's worth.

First, you are talking about liquid contamination of both electronic circuitry, and it's mechanical accessories. NOTE: Since whatever you spilled in the unit is either corrosive or will leave residue when it dries, it is important that you do not simply dry it out and then forget the mishap. Deposits will further corrode the mechanisms and/or circuitry, or cause mechanical failure.

Let's take them one at a time.

A. Electrical circuits are pathways of electrical energy flow. I'm sure you knew that. Liquids can change the flow of that electrical energy flow wildly. When the circuitry gets wet - unplug or remove the batteries immediately!!! This is your best hope of saving the circuitry. I will talk later about what to do next, but know this - you must do some important things right away to prevent further damage, besides what may have already occured.

B. The mechanical assemblies (Keyboard buttons, DVD drives, doors, buttons, etc.) all are designed to work clean or with a little lubricant. The liquids you pour into the assembly, when dry, will leave deposits behind. This usually interferes with their operation.

What To Do:

If you can afford to, take it to a professional. You may have better luck, but may not. You might copy these instructions and take them with you. If they aren't interested in doing what is described here, Think about looking elsewhere. Unless you spilled the liquid into your DVD player and everything else, either take it to a professional, or be very careful to use this procedure only where it is needed!

If you whant to know what has to be done to be sure of no further damage, read on.

1. If you spilled high grade (80% from the drug store) Isopropyl Alcohol on your device, just shake it out and apply some canned air (avoid spraying the liquid) into your device and then dry it in warm air (90-180 Deg. F) for at least 24 hours. A hair dryer will work, but put the device inside a box and blow the hot air into the box and not directly onto the device. Don't let it get too hot.

2. If you spilled clean water onto the device, wash the water out with the alcohol described above, and then follow #1. I use a squirt bottle.

3. If you spilled anything else into your device, wash it out with clean water (preferably distilled). If whatever you spilled into the device has oils or grease, you may use automotive car wash liquid cleanser in your wash water. You may need to use a small brush. Then follow steps #2 then #1. Note that after drying, mechanisms that require lubrication, and where you have cleaned out all the old lubrication, should be re-lubricated with the proper lubrication applied sparingly. (white lithium grease is probably all you will need.)

Practical tips any professional would know:

The device should be disassembled enough to prevent the cleaning procedure from unnecessarily intruding upon mechanisms that do not need cleaning. In a laptop, crud from the CPU fan and heatsink area may migrate over to enter your DVD player, for instance, and not wash out when you follw this proceudure on a fully assembled device, rendering your DVD player inoperative. It's best to clean and dry only what has been contaminated.

If the liquid is especially electrically conductive (urine or other salty liquid) the chances of no damage to live circuitry are lower. But salty liquids are also especially prone to cause damage to the metal parts of the device. Wash it as soon as is practical.

Please do not try this procedure on cameras. The optics and mechanism need special care, only a professional can perform.

Hope you found this helpful.

on May 17, 2007 03:00 PM
# said:

I spilled about 2 ounces of Iced Tea on my Toshiba Satellight A100 laptop on friday the 13th (a very unluckey day) and right after it happened I cleaned up the mess and then tested it out and all was fine so then I was sure nothing would become of the iced tea i spilled and i packed my laptop up for a 2 hour trip to the city and when I got there and opened my laptop all of the keys were screwey and not working and doing other functions so I turned it off not realizing that that means i wont be able to log back in.

I left it alone for a good part of my weekend cause I had other plans but after inspection Im finding that the tab and backspace dont work and the following letters w p f h k and l

and 2 of those letters are needed to log into my computer.

Im on my moms computer right now and it looks like im going to have to send my laptop back to the manufacturer unless there is anything i could do like iv tried cleaning it and its not working but after it first happened all the keys were messed up but now its only those 8 keys.

on July 15, 2007 11:06 PM
# Joe said:

Do what Curtis said. Remove the keyboard from the laptop so you don't ruin any other parts while cleaning. wash the keyboard with warm water and soap if needed because the spill was allowed to set and then some Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Then allow to dry thoroughly before reassembly, at least a day or two. Sometimes I don't even use the alcohol. Just some warm water as long as it is immediately after the spill and hasn't been allowed to dry. This method works on Desktop keyboards also.

on August 5, 2007 04:30 PM
# Shulu said:


I spilled iced vodka&jouice on my friend's Dell Latitude a few hours ago. We immediately turn it off, cleaned out all the liquid we could, turned it upside down, while still open, and it's now getting dried out near the aircondidioner.

Any further steps I whould take?
I am hasitant to get the keyboard off, not to screw it up further, since I haven't done that before. But if it's required, I may try to do that...


on August 8, 2007 01:41 PM
# Shuly said:

I forgot to mention, I took the battery out too
(sorry for all the spelling/spilling mistakes)...


on August 8, 2007 01:49 PM
# D said:

hi all, I spilled some coffee on my keyboard this morning (with coffee mate in it). I bought a usb keyboard that I am using right now without problems.

My QUESTION to anyone who knows is - If I remove the keyboard to clean it with water like other people say they have done - will the laptop continue to function normally with the usb keyboard or will removing the laptop keyboard somehow disable it, I'd assume it will still work but if anyone knows that would be helpful? (my first laptop, not too experienced with them, and unfortunately, also my only computer)

When it happened, i immediately turned it over and dried it off, then went out and got a laptop cleaning kit - and let it dry for several hours, then cleaned it with a swab and cleaning solution on the swab.
At first the right arrow key was stuck as pressed down - and now the * on the number pad is stuck and keeps scrolling *** across, but only when I hit certain keys (like c, m and numlock and the enter key) - and then if I hit any other key it stops being stuck. This is why I want to attempt to remove and clean it.

on January 19, 2008 07:04 PM
# Krys said:

Yesterday my dog spilt a cup of coffee on my desk and some of it got underneath my laptop and on my keyboard. I dried it right off, it works and runs fine BUT most of my keys are not working. They are not sticking like you might expect with coffee (with cream and sugar) but if you press a key, it won't do anything and others will work. With playing with it a few times, some of the keys that weren't working will work and the ones that were working won't. Most of my keys are not working at the moment. It turns on just fine - I have completley cleaned it. I even went as far as taking all my keys off and cleaning it up underneath and the underside of the keys - that didn't work, didn't make anything better or worse. It's been about 36 hours since it happened and the keys are no different. Any advice? I have used a hair dryer and even put it under a fan for a few hours, it's not sticky in any place I can reach and even under the keys, I even unscrewed the 3 places underneath my computer to see if anything was in there and there was no trace of anything being wet or sticky underneath the computer.

Any help would be AWESOME, I am a web designer and really need that computer to work on things.

on May 1, 2008 06:42 PM
# Kim said:

I just split Crystal light on my keyboard any advice on how to fix some keys?

qa (q) s` (s) gb (g) j throws` the mous`e to the other s`ide. And s`ometimes` the arrow keys` the rigbht one brings` up N and the left one makes` the period and the , throws the mous`e up a row when your typing. Any advice? It's` actually better than it was, but seeming that the juice only spilt on the left side of my key board I'm worried *HEY LOOK THE S works now!*

on October 28, 2008 01:23 PM
# Jeff said:

Hello, one day ago i went to sit on my couch while holding a flask with lemonade and squeesed to hard sending it through the air on my laptop where the screen and the main part meet. It went in to the tiny parts that hold the screen, i immidiatly turned it off and upside down and layed it down on a towel, to get most of the liquid off and teared out the battery to avoid damage. i left it to dry over-night. I tried to turn it back on but the screen was flickering strangely so i knew there was still some bastard lemonade stuck in there somehwere, it is a very hard to reach place so i blowdried it for about 10 minutes without making a part too hot, after that i wanted to know if it was still messed up so i turned it back on once again and still it flickered and i turned it off again. All i can do now is let it dry from the inside and perhaps blow dry it some more. Thanks for the tips some gave, i hope it doesnt come to openening/sending it back as water damage is not always covered by warranty. It's a brand new laptop and i hope it will work again properly, reading some comments i have a little bit of hope again because its been a shitty 2 days so far :(
- Cheers

on October 29, 2008 05:26 AM
# Josh said:

Hello! I just bought a new Acer Crystal Blue for around $1300, and woosh! Down goes my fruit punch over the keys.
I did the regular routine except I did not blow dry. Everything worked so I continued the night on it.

This morning I find a bunch of the keys on one side are really sticky! I'd rather not take it apart but I am willing to. Is there any less dangerous way to clean them? (I heard mentions of cleaning liquids and maybe I can still blow dry or something?)

on October 30, 2008 09:19 AM
# SErin said:

hey, I spilled water on my Toshiba a couple of weeks ago. What you should do is TURN IT OFF IMMEDIATELY, take the battery out, unplug it from the power source, and do not try to turn it on. Depending on how much liquid you spilled, and what it is, drain what you can out, and place it upside down. I aimed a hairdryer at mine for about 10, 15 minutes, and left it in a warm place (not too warm, with plenty of air circulation) for about a week and a half. This may not work for everybody, but turning it on is a bad idea if you think there is water on the motherboard, or in the circuitry, b/c you don't want arcs (will fry your computer). This was a fix for me, b/c I was leaving the country for a week, and couldn't get it to a computer guy before I left. Some places void your warranty as soon as you spill water on your laptop, but will try to fix it (or at least take a look at it) so either take it in to your dealer ASAP, or dry it out, and try to say that you have no idea why it stopped working. ;) Works for somep people, if it is still under warranty. Good luck with it though, it definitely sucks being without a computer.

on May 11, 2009 02:10 PM
# Eddie said:

HI! I spilled coke on my laptop and fortunately, it still works! BUT more than five keys are not working. Is there a solution for this?

on July 23, 2009 04:41 PM
# Hannah said:

Keys stick and some are stuck in the down position right now because when you turn on the laptop, there is a constant beep. Dad took it to a computer person who told him that it would have to be taken apart to look at it. I was wondering how much this would cost for someone to do. You know, someone like the "Geek Squad".

on August 10, 2009 11:27 AM
# Heidi said:

Hi Jeremy,

I split coffee with creamer on my Toshiba satellite about 3 weeks ago. Every thing boots up and I haven't lost any memory but I can not get the key board to work and the USB plugs are all shot. It also will not connect to the internet when I turn it on like it used to before. Am I out of luck and have to replace the whole laptop or is there something I can do to get it working again?

on January 5, 2010 09:13 AM
# Ely said:

Hey there,
I officially need a MAJOR help,

40 minutes ago, i was using the HP pavillion Dv6000 and i accidently spill a cup full of water in it. Spilling water had happened before so i thought it was a MINOR thing, foolish foolish me. Despite the water accident, i still using the laptop about 20-30 minutes. I thought nothing of it.

10 minutes ago, i started faced disaster. My laptop works crazy, each window i opened there especially those like google with the search box the ''.................'' will keep typing out even though i didnt touch the key ''y'', Some key could not work and little of em can. So i freaked out and shut the computer. I rang my brother up and he told me to tilted it and open it towards the fan

CAN MY LAPTOP BE SAVED? It's been devoted to me for a couple of years and im still a student i cant afford anything damage more!!!

on June 10, 2010 03:53 AM
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