5 Tips for When You Spill a Drink on Your Computer

posted in: Notes | 5
5 Tips for when you spill a drink on your computer
Photo from Pixabay.com. Used with permission.

Please enjoy this guest post from Zack Davis, longtime friend and fellow geek.  He posted the other day about having to rescue his new computer from the attack of an errant pop can.  And fortunately, he knew exactly what steps to take.

But are you prepared?  Do you know what to do when a drink spills on your computer, or any technology, for that matter?

If not, read on to hear more of Zack’s story, plus learn what to do if this ever happens to you.


What to do when a drink spills on your computer

Sunday afternoon I left my computer vulnerable to my own stupidity and it bit me! I had a can of soda on my desk, just sitting there.. and the cat tipped it off!  What’s worse, she tipped it off onto the side where my computer sits. Luckily a large part of it hit the floor (Thanks Rug Doctor!) but an easy 1/4 of the can went inside my system.

By some kind of karma, miracle, or sheer improbability, my computer didn’t fry immediately!  It’s also fortunate that I was walking back in the room when it happened; I was able to dive for the power button as I saw the can tip.  My computer managed to shut down safely before I could even pull the power cord.

It’s been off and air drying for the last two full days; half of that time under rice (since I couldn’t find silica packets around the house).

Luckily, I came out safe.

Especially since I JUST spent $1700 upgrading my computer system this summer.  So, I thought I would share a word from the wise.

First and foremost, always consider the placement of your computer, even your laptop, in relation to any liquids that could spill.

I knew my computer was at risk and I kept blowing it off and saying I’d move it under my desk instead of keeping it beside the desk — “I’ll do it later.”  If you haven’t taken precautions, don’t put it off like I did.  You may not be as lucky.

The second thing to remember is whenever ANY electronic device gets liquid in it, there’s some things you DO and DON’T want to do.

DO remove power from the device as fast as you can, if possible. Even if it’s off, if it’s connected to power it’s vulnerable.

DO dab the device with a towel; DAB, NOT WIPE!

DO try to keep the device at the same angle/position as it was when it was hit with the liquid. Moving the device allows the fluid to travel to places it may not otherwise have infiltrated.

DON’T Vacuum, Blow, Shake, or try to use any kind of pressure on the device. Doing so risks forcing the liquid deeper into the device than you would have not touching it at all.

DON’T be impatient. Yes you’re worried, your device that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars has been hit, it had an arterial bleed and now it’s in the ICU and you’re not sure it’s going to wake up. But trying to power it on too soon is a great way to kill it when it might have otherwise revived.

So, if you can see inside it and it looks dry after 24 hours, give it an extra 24 hours to be safe (I tore my the inside of my system down for the second 24 hour period because I’m insane!). If it’s a device you can’t open or see inside, then be as patient as possible. Keep it in a warm room, with some kind of absorbent material, such as silica or rice, and consider letting it sit for up to a week (since you can’t open it).

I’m just happy to be so lucky; I’m still cautious because liquids (especially soda) are not pure, so for the next few days at least I’m going to be cautious but very optimistic!


Has your computer been attacked by a rogue drink?

Well, I don’t know about you, but like Zack, I’ve toyed with disaster on this front a time or two. An open water bottle on my desk? Nah, no problems there… At least, no problems yet. Come to think of it, we’ve had a few spills occur with my laptop. With the little ones around, I’m pretty sure that my old laptop keyboard met an untimely end from the crumbs, milk, or whatever kid hazards have been around my kitchen table. Particularly at lunchtime. I think I’m going to be a little more careful from now on.

Have you ever spilled on your computer? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

5 Responses

  1. Gfitie Etcetera
    | Reply

    What about rice? Would moving it to put it in rice make it worse?

    Giftie Etcetera

    • Betsy Finn
      | Reply

      Great question! I asked Zack to respond since he knows more about this stuff than I do.

  2. Zack Davis
    | Reply

    It’s a good thing to move it to rice to help it dry out, but you definitely want to ensure you’ve carefully dabbed up (with little to no pressure) any standing liquids that you can. Then when moving it just take care to not move it around too quickly to help prevent any droplets or fluid from moving deeper into the device.

  3. Great post. My first instinct would be to turn it upside down and wipe it. Both no nos. Thanks for sharing with #SmallVictoriesSunday

    • Betsy Finn
      | Reply

      Mine too. I actually had a bottle of water tip this week when all my electronics were on the table (phone, boogie board, camera, laptop). Yikes. Thankfully it just puddled underneath the laptop feet for the most part. Need to heed this advice myself *all the time* 🙂

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