Water, soda and coffee are among laptop’s most dreadful enemies. Just a tiny drip could damage or ruin your machine and cause a complete data loss.
Some laptops are sturdier than others, and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with high price tag. Your laptop may have a thin plastic/rubber membrane under the keys; the design may feel cheap and squishy to some users, however it stands up better to spill and splash than a more conventional design that uses exposed contacts and springs.
A good way to prevent accidental spill is to keep any liquid as far away as possible. It’s a good idea to keep your cups of coffee, cans of soda, and glasses of water on another table. Having said this, you maybe know all too well the challenges of doing your work on a crowded airliner, with barely enough room on the seatback table. It is one of the likely places to have an accidental spill. A hot cup of coffee, a glass of wine and a cold can of soda are all bad news; they are slightly acidic and nastier than tap water because they will corrode metal contacts in your laptop and can become sticky and gummy as they dry.
Here are the steps to recover from a spill:
- If your laptop is plugged into wall socket, remove the cable immediately.
However, if the cable is wet, you may need to turn off the circuit breaker, it’s a bad idea to touch a wet cable carrying 110 volts or so. But if you’re sure the liquid is confined around the keyboard, it should be safe to remove the cable from the wall. Flip your laptop to help drain any liquid inside the laptop.
If the laptop is running on battery power and it is still working, and you don’t smell burnt electrical components, hear odd noises, or see sparks, then it is a good sign, shut the laptop down normally.
If something is clearly wrong with your laptop, turn it off quickly by removing the battery or by pressing the OFF button for a few seconds.
- Ground yourself by touching a metal object that rests on the ground.
- Remove any external devices for example, a mouse, any devices connected to the FireWire, serial, USB, or other ports.
- If your AC adapter and battery is wet, wipe them gently and set them aside. However, if your battery or the AC adapter has been completely soaked, you should consider both a loss. Replacement battery and AC adapter are available in most laptop stores. Also remove external DVD drive and hard drive, dry them off.
- Remove any cards inside the PC Card slot.
If they are wet, thoroughly dry them off. If any liquid has gotten into a narrow slot, dry it out with cotton swabs; make sure you don’t leave cotton threads in it.
- Wipe off the screen carefully with a dry cloth, don’t let any water trickle to the keyboard, after that use a damp cloth to clean up any sticky residues.
- Wipe the keyboard surface with a dry lint-free cloth.
Keyboard is the most likely place a cuppa java or a puddle of pop to collect, and this can be a big problem. If your laptop uses a rubber-like or plastic membrane under the keyboard, it should protect against spill to the motherboard and other components beneath. If your keyboard has switches and springs, the cleanup process can be more grueling. If you spilled coffee or soda, consult the operating instructions for your computer and find out how to carefully pry off each of the keys inside the affected area. Make sure you write down the location of each key or better, use a digital camera.
- Clean everything under the keys carefully.
Place your computer on a strong surface supported by small boxes or books.
Allow air to circulate inside the laptop for at least one day. Don’t use a hair dryer or a fan to attempt accelerate the drying process. You may force the moisture to go deeper inside the laptop and cause more problems.
- Reassemble the parts you have removed.
After you are sure that everything is completely dry and no dried sugar spots are anywhere inside or outside the machine, then you can start reassemble it. Always ground yourself before working with any modules or circuitry. If your computer fails to start, bring it to a laptop repair center.