It happens! Here in IT, we see our community members dealing with liquid spills on their laptops and phones all the time.  Unfortunately, many people make the same mistakes that ultimately lead to the death of their laptop, phone or other electronic device. Here are a few quick tips to help you survive this disaster!

  1. SAFTEY FIRST: Liquid+Electricity=Shock and/or fire! Use your best judgment. If you hear something sizzling/popping don’t touch it. If it looks like it’s emitting smoke/getting HOT, unplug it and call the fire department. Most phones and laptops won’t do this, but you should be prepared.
  2. TURN IT OFF! Seriously! DO NOT TURN IT BACK ON. Most electronic devices need to dry out for 96+ hours before you should even think about turning them on again. That’s 4 full days!
  3. UNPLUG anything that’s connected to it! (keyboards, phones, mice, monitors, USB cables). Disconnect ANYTHING connected to the device.
  4. REMOVE the battery if possible. Since most Apple products don’t have removable batteries, keep reading, otherwise get that battery out of there!
  5. TURN IT OVER: Try tipping the unit upside-down to get the water out. If it’s a phone there’s not much to do. If it’s a laptop and you’ve spilled water in the keyboard area, turn it upside-down immediately! If the water get’s past they keyboard and into the rest of the device, it can be a total loss.
  6. Bring it to IT IMMEDIATELY: If you can’t, try to do the best you can to help it dry. Place a phone in a tightly sealed bag of white rice until you can get to IT or another repair shop. If it’s a laptop turn it over with the screen open. Do this over a towel or something that will absorb the liquid. Here’s a great picture from OSXDaily on the best way to help dry out a laptop with water spilled into the keyboard.

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We cannot stress how important it is NOT TO TURN IT BACK ON. Even if you’re just curious if the unit really did get wet. Most electronics will shut down when they begin to short out due to exposure to liquid. Turning the unit back on before it has been dried out AND cleaned will generally destroy the device.

We see this ALL the time and it usually sounds like:

“I dropped this in the toilet the other day. I dried it off, put it in rice overnight and then turned it back on the next morning. It worked great the rest of the day but now it’s dead and won’t charge, turn on, or anything!”

… and that’s the end of that device.