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Water or liquid damage - What should I do if I spill liquid on my computer?

Please don't put it in a bag of rice!

This won't do anything. A lot of liquid damage comes down to luck.

Occasionally a large spill somehow doesn't find its way to the vital components. Often a tiny drop can cause a lot of damage. Sometimes the damage can take months to manifest.

If you've heard of anyone having success with the rice method, they are just the lucky ones and likely would have achieved the same success by leaving it out in the open to air-dry.

So what should I do?

In an ideal world, you should take your PC, MacBook or Laptop to the nearest computer repair shop.

Time is of the essence here. The longer the water has to corrode the board, the more damage it can do. Make a mental note of where you think water has entered the computer (this can give vital clues when it comes to repairing).

  • Firstly, shut down your computer and, if possible, remove the battery​.

  • Next, try to remove as much visible liquid as possible. You want something that will wick (soak-up) the liquid as fast as possible (...hence why rice is not suitable). Kitchen towel is ideal but a towel or even toilet paper will do.

  • In an ideal world, this would be the point to take it to a repair shop.

If you are unable to take your computer to your local computer repair shop straight away (as you inevitably will be) follow these instructions:

  1. Try to remove as much water as possible to minimise the amount reaching the electronics.

  2. In the example picture below, we would want to open up the laptop, ply it with lots more kitchen towel (or whatever you have) and lay it over the edge of a flat surface - such as a kitchen work-surface - with the screen hanging over the edge (this way the keyboard would be laying on the kitchen towel).

  3. Leave it there for at least an hour..... and keep your fingers crossed.

And then...? Is that it?

You now have two choices.

Either, you take it to a computer repair shop as soon as possible to get given the once over, or you take your chances. Remember, even if you do take your chances, turn on your device, and everything is working as it should be, a problem may still arise at a later date.

Liquid contamination can mean an annoyingly sticky keyboard, but liquid corrosion can mean the end of your machine entirely.

This information is too late for me. My computer is dead.... what can Technical Merritt do to help?

With our specialist tools and knowledge, we'll likely be able to get your device up and running again.

If, however, your computer is beyond repair, we can usually recover your data, so all is not lost.

Technical Merritt


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