Keyboard Spills 101

Keyboard Spills 101

At Computer Corner, we often see trends in the issues customers bring into the store for service. More and more we see laptops come into our shop with a variety of liquids spilled on keyboards.

At Computer Corner, we often see trends in the issues customers bring into the store for service. More and more we see laptops come into our shop with a variety of liquids spilled on keyboards.

A desktop keyboard is not as big of an issue because they are typically inexpensive and easy to replace, unless you have a higher end gaming or ergonomic keyboard. Today, we are going to focus on what you should do when you have a laptop keyboard spill.

If treated properly and quickly, there is a good chance of saving your laptop. Unfortunately, what brings people to our service counter is a lack of immediate action after the spill. 

Often, users simply towel dry the keyboard and then power it back on. This is what NOT to do, your system must be completely dry inside and out before you attempt to power up again. If liquids have gotten inside the laptop, often people let it sit overnight, but it may take several days to dry.

We have some steps for you and this process requires patience. Many of the laptops we have seen started out with the right steps, but the owners didn’t let their system dry thoroughly inside before they powered on again and that’s what ultimately damages and even destroys laptops.

Here’s what you should do If you spill liquids in your laptop:

  • Immediately power the laptop down and disconnect it from any other devices like USB drives, other drives, and especially the power adapter.
  • Drain the liquid by turning the unit upside down, towel dry what you can on the outside and remove the battery. Do not use a hair dryer, which may result in static electricity issues. Do Not use canned or compressed air as this could be forcing liquid into other parts of the laptop like the motherboard. Often, we see online posts encouraging users to use canned air to dry out a spill on a laptop, but we discourage this.
  • Remove other components such as the battery and memory, if you have easy access to them. We emphasize “easy access” as we discourage you from trying to take your laptop apart unless you really know what you’re doing.
  • Turn your laptop over and let it drain and dry out as much as possible. While you think it may take hours, it’s more likely to take days - patience is indeed a virtue.

If you don’t have the patience (or time) to wait for it to dry out, you can bring it into Computer Corner, where our trained and experienced staff will disassemble your laptop and dry it fully before attempting to power it on.

Laptops can survive most liquids if treated quickly and properly, but if you have spilled a soda beverage, the likelihood of it surviving is small. Some of you may have seen videos where soda is used to tenderize meat and clean porcelain, so you can imagine what it does to laptop components. Other sweetened beverages are also difficult to clean and if you happen to spill a margarita, we encourage you to make yourself another one and think of happier times.

The best rule of thumb is to keep liquids far away from your laptop, but we understand life happens. If you have a spill or need help cleaning up a mess, stop by Computer Corner and we will do our best to get your laptop back up and running quickly and correctly.

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