Liquid Spills on Laptop Keyboard

What to do if you spill liquid on your laptop keyboard

It is possible to repair a laptop that has had a liquid spill – the outcome is basically dependent upon how big a spill and what type of liquid. Water is best, fizzy drinks and anything containing sugar is much more problematic as they often leave a residue and are more difficult to remove.

You need to act fast!

Firstly stop the spill – and then quickly unplug the laptop and network cable from the wall. Next, very carefully – as some power sources have capacitors in them that store a charge – disconnect the power cable from the laptop. Don’t use wet hands!

Now remove the battery and turn the machine upside down to drain excess liquid and hopefully prevent the liquid from reaching the motherboard.

It is important to now leave the laptop alone for about half an hour in the event that the laptop is smouldering and a fire may occur.

If after half an hour there is no fire, you need to get rid of the excess liquid by dabbing (not rubbing!) the laptop with an absorbent cloth – preferably a lint-free cloth. You can use an earbud between the keys and ports to help remove the moisture.


We don’t recommend you open the laptop case unless you have experience in laptop repairs. If you are confident to do this, you should take out the hard drive and RAM and dab the connections to remove liquid. You can use rubbing alcohol to help with this.

If the spill is a sticky liquid such as soft drink, it may be necessary to remove the residue with WD-40 on a cotton bud to prevent corrosion.

If you have successfully done the above (and assuming that you are confident that you can put the laptop back together again) leave the machine to dry out. Put the laptop somewhere where there is good airflow and leave it for at least a day, preferably two. We don’t recommend that you use a hairdryer to dry out your laptop as it may do more harm than good.

For those really experienced repairers, you may need to remove any keys on the keyboard that are no longer functioning and clean them underneath, possibly with rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits and a soft toothbrush to remove sticky residue. Make sure the board and keys are totally dry before reinstalling them.

Once your laptop is completely dried out you can power it up using the battery and see whether or not it will work. If the laptop powers up but the keyboard no longer works try plugging in a USB keyboard which if it works will allow you to back up your data. Then you may need to purchase a replacement keyboard and install it.

Prevent this from happening again

  • Be super aware in high-risk environments such as busy coffee shops and on the bus or aeroplane
  • Use a sippy cup
  • Raise your laptop using a riser at home and work and consider plugging in a cheap USB keyboard.

We hope this article has been of some benefit to you. Please we re-state that unless you have expertise in repairing laptops we recommend that you only undertake the drying steps, not the more difficult tasks of laptop dismantle.


Affordable Computer Repairs and Service, 48 Octantis Street, Coorparoo

Phone 3397 1215 or 0409 974 707

liquid spills on laptop keyboard

Affordable Computer Repairs and Service Brisbane