“I spilled water on the laptop keyboard – and some buttons stopped working. What to do?”

Updated: March 05, 2023
6 min read
“I spilled water on the laptop keyboard – and some buttons stopped working. What to do?”
by Vitalii Yovko
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

The laptop has become an indispensable attribute of everyday life for people of all ages and statuses. Many of them at least once allowed themselves to drink a glass of sweet water or a mug of tea while working near the device. This does not always go smoothly. Those who are unlucky face the problem of spilling liquid on the keyboard. After that, some buttons may refuse to work. And this is not the only scenario.

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The complexity of the situation

The first thing you can do is pull yourself together and calm down. It is important not to panic. It is necessary to consider the peculiarities of the design of the laptop. If the keyboard connected to the computer can be freely disconnected, the case here is quite different.

The keyboard is a complete laptop component

The keyboard is a complete component. Therefore, liquid spillage can have a devastating effect on the device's overall performance. In severe cases, one can face complete failure with the impossibility or impracticality of repair.

That's why it's important to act quickly and carefully if you spill any liquid on your keyboard. You can quite realistically save the life of your gadget. Let's discuss exactly what you need to do.

Sequence of actions

  1. Turn off the laptop, and unplug the cord from the outlet if it is plugged in. It is unnecessary to think about the correct completion of the work. It is important only to act as soon as possible.
  2. Remove the battery from the device. Perform any manipulation with dry hands. This prevents harming yourself.
  3. Disconnect all devices that are connected to the laptop. This includes wired mice, USB sticks, and other things.
  4. Arm yourself with a dry cloth. Wipe the keyboard thoroughly with it as if soaking the liquid. Be sure to put a towel on the surface where you work. This will help get rid of the spillage in the best possible way.
  5. Take a new dry cloth and place it where you plan to dry it. The laptop should be turned upside down. The keyboard should be at the bottom. In this position, you should leave the gadget for about 2-3 days, no less.

Is there anything you shouldn't do? Of course, there is.

What is forbidden

What not to do with a laptop after flooding
  1. Under no circumstances use any home methods of accelerated drying, for example, with a normal hair dryer. The fact is that this inevitably leads to condensation inside the laptop. In case the liquid gets into the keyboard and other critical components, you will only do serious harm.
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There is a high probability that the moisture will go even further. You may not notice it, even if you completely disassemble the device. This leads to insufficient drying and a certain "death" of the laptop.

  1. Another point that cannot be ignored is to turn on the device quickly and operate it without thoroughly drying it. If you turn on the gadget too quickly or decide not to dry it properly because there is very little liquid in it, you risk losing it.

The fact that the laptop works does not mean that it will not shut down permanently after a couple of days. In this case, the lack of reaction of individual buttons will seem like a trifle because the course of the problem will only worsen.

Removing a keyboard

You will need to remove the keyboard to ensure the proper functioning of the laptop. Secure attachment is carried out with the help of special latches made of plastic.

Removing a keyboard

The first step is gently opening the top latch on the far side. This is easily done using a standard flathead screwdriver. After that, you can proceed further by lifting the remaining latches similarly.

If you spill ordinary drinking water, a thorough drying should solve the problem of non-working buttons and eliminate the risk of complications. But if you flooded your laptop with aggressive liquid, the above actions are definitely not enough.

Any sugary or salty drinks can cause more serious problems. Therefore, after the gadget has been completely de-energized, it is necessary to pay close attention to the proper treatment of the keyboard. To embody the goal, you must free it from the pads and key swings.

Proper keyboard cleaning

All elements that have been removed should be thoroughly wiped down with a damp cloth. This is necessary to get rid of residues of aggressive liquid. A polyethylene board also needs proper cleaning. It can easily leave sticky spots.

Work on the board by using a cotton swab soaked in distilled water. This protects the current-conducting tracks from possible damage.

It may be necessary to clean the contacts if individual buttons still do not respond to touch. The necessary caps are removed from the board's surface in this case. The latter is definitely cleaned. Then the contacts are gently wiped. The operation should be restored.

What happens if you make a mistake?

If you have violated the algorithm of actions described in the article, the moisture will likely continue its detrimental effect. It is especially dangerous not to dry the gadget to the end. The residual liquid will slowly "kill" not only the keyboard but possibly reach the motherboard. This element is the central one. Its failure means the failure of many leading electronic components.

What happens when the action taken on a flooded device is wrong?

  1. The development of corrosive processes is triggered.
  2. The conductive tracks begin to deteriorate gradually.
  3. The attachment is completely out of order.

It's a mistake to think that a couple of buttons that don't work are minor things, not a problem. The situation's complexity lies in the fact that the technique may work quite normally in the first days after the occurrence of trouble. However, after a short time, the situation changes radically.

Act independently or contact a specialist?

Of course, you can try to eliminate the unfortunate consequences of flooding your gadget on your own. The sequence of actions is described in detail in the article. But the fact is that an inexperienced user is still not able to deal with the situation the way a professional will.

Sometimes amateurism only worsens the situation and adds new problems. Therefore, in any case, even the simplest at first glance, it is better to trust an experienced professional who can guide you through these steps. Do not hesitate to contact a trusted service. It is better not to experiment and spare the equipment.

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