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What to do if you spill liquids on your laptop

Recently, one of my friends managed to spill a glass of juice on her laptop and since she didn't know how to react, she decided to call me to ask for advice. However, in these situations even a few seconds could make a huge difference so it's better to be prepared beforehand, instead of scrambling for an answer in the heat of the moment. This is why I've decided to write this short guide and tell you everything that you should know and do if you spill liquids on your laptop.

As I'm sure you already know, liquids and electronics don't get along well, so if you spill something on your laptop and don't do anything about it, there's a 99% chance that the respective device will no longer work. I've already shown you how to save a web mobile, but unless you have a monster smartphone, a laptop is going to be a lot more expensive, so you really want to do absolutely everything you can to enhance its chances of survival. In order to save your laptop, besides quick reactions you will also need to be aware of the kind of liquid that you spill on it. Let's start out with what to do if you were lucky enough to only spill water on your laptop or MacBook:

  1. Shut down - the first thing that you need to do is to power off your laptop. Don't waste time doing it the regular way (from the Start Menu); simply put your finger on the power button and keep it pressed for 4 seconds to force a quick shut down.
  2. Power outlet - if the laptop was plugged into a power outlet, take out the power chord first from your laptop then unplug it from the outlet. In case it was near the spillage area, make sure that you leave the cable with the plug (the one that goes into the laptop) hanging down, so that the water doesn't get any further than it already did. Once again, do this as quickly as possible; if the water makes its way into the power outlet it could compromise your entire electrical grid.
  3. Battery - the next step that you should take is to remove the battery, but make sure not to close the lid when you do that. Your laptop will keep certain parts powered even when it's turned down, so removing the last remaining power source is advisable. However, if you don't have the right kind of screwdriver or if you have a non-removable battery you can skip this step.
  4. Other components - remove everything else that's easy to unplug: mouse, keyboard, cards, USB cables. Furthermore, if you know how to and if it doesn't take you too long to remove them, you should also take out the RAM and the hard drive. However, you should try to do this without moving your laptop around too much so that the water doesn't reach any new areas.
  5. Drying - take a towel and carefully, but thoroughly, dry the outside and the places that you can reach. Once that's done put a dry towel on a table or on a clear surface, open the laptop as wide as you can and put it face down on the towel. Wait for about 6 hours, then if the laptop dried, try putting it back together and see if it will work. In case it doesn't, take it to a professional and see if he can help you out.

Water spillages are generally pretty OK and most of the time, if you follow the steps I've previously written, your laptop should be fine, but other liquids are a lot more problematic. The most annoying ones are sugar drinks such as Cola, coffee, tea, etc. Why? Because when the liquid dries, the sugar will crystallize and will become practically impossible to remove without damaging the component that it got on. So, if that's what you spilled and it's a major spillage (not just a few drops), your first thought should be to bring the laptop to a specialist as quickly as possible. However, if the repair shop is closed or you can't get to a specialist before the liquid dries, your laptop will be doomed in 9 out of 10 cases.

Even though I can't give you any guarantees that this will actually work, I will tell you what I did when a Cola bottle exploded right next to my laptop and you will decide, at your own risk, if you want to use the same solution: I followed steps one through three, removed any peripheral components that weren't touched by the liquid, then immediately placed the laptop in the sink and washed it with cold water. Because I reacted so fast, the sugar didn't have enough time to crystallize and the water washed it away. Since I got water everywhere I let it dry for about 24 hours, then started it and, to my surprise, it actually worked.

Now that you know how to react if you spilled something on your laptop, you might also want to find out what are the "Best Tools to Extend and Monitor Your Laptop Battery Life", learn to "Disable Your Webcam to Save Privacy" and find out what to do "If Your Laptop Has Left For Good".

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