Many of us have experiences the despair that is water damage. In fact, water is one of the least damaging things you can spill on your laptop, cell phone or other electronic device. Here at Colorado PC Pro, we regularly receive requests to repair damage from spilled water, soda, beer and even candle wax. Follow these tips before bringing your device to a service center to give yourself the best chance of a full recovery.
Step 1: Remove the battery
And the charger! Water itself does not damage electronics - it is the oxidative effects of the water on the circuitry inside the electronics. The most important thing you can do when you spill something on a device is to turn it off immediately, unplug the charger, and remove the battery. Even when unplugged, lithium ion batteries discharge electricity consistently and with enough power to short the sensitive components in your device.
Step 2: Ignore the old wives tales
Sure, you know a guy that put his cell phone in rice. Maybe it worked for him, but it wasn't because of the rice. Don't waste your time or potentially damage your device by placing it into bowls of any ingredient, do not place it in the fridge and do not otherwise attempt to "dry it out." Instead, just unplug all peripherals attached to your device and proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Stop the spread of damage
Flip your device 'upside down' so that spilled liquid can begin to seep back out of your electronics, rather than further into the guts. At this point, most users should stop and wait at least 24 hours before attempting to repair the damage. Colorado PC Pro offers this service for a flat fee of $79.99.
If you have some experience with device repair, you may choose to continue repairing your own device. If that's the case, make sure that you wear an anti-static wristband or work on an anti-static mat in a clean room to prevent accidental damage or contamination.
Begin by removing the case of your device, inspecting each area for water damage as indicated by a change in coloration or shade. Clean any damaged areas with alcohol on a clean, dry rag. Do not apply water to the rag. As you work your way through components of your device, keep in mind that your last stop is the keyboard.
Keyboards and batteries are the two most common damaged items after a spill. Extra care is required to clean the keyboard as every key should be removed and cleaned. If the battery has been shorted, the only choice left is to replace it with a (preferably) OEM alternative.