How to fix laptop keyboard water damage

We all know that water and electronics don’t mix and in most cases, water can completely short circuit your electronics and prevent it from working ever again. However, with your keyboard, it’s possible to salvage it and remove the moisture.

It’s possible but it can be difficult to repair your water damaged keyboard. You just need to use a dry cloth and wipe the excess water from the surface of your laptop, especially near the ports, keys, and vents, and open the top as far as it can go. Turn your laptop upside-down and put a towel or anything absorbent over it and let the water drain out. If you can remove the backplate and wipe it off with a lint cloth before letting it sit to drain.

Different liquids that can damage your laptop

Type of liquid
Effect
Coffee
Makes up 40% of all spills. It has a mixture of many chemicals with additives like cream and sugar that will cause corrosion
Water
Makes up 20% of all spills. Water isn’t the problem but what’s in it. bottled or tap water contains minerals that can conduct electricity and also cause corrosion which can kill your laptop
Soda
Makes 12% of spills. Soft drinks are very corrosive because of the acidity and sugar in the liquid. It also is perfect for cleaning rust from metals
Wine
Makes 10% of spills. Wine is a combination of sugar and acid which makes a very good corrosion solution for cleaning rust on metals
Beer
6% of spills. Beer is part water, part sugar, and part brown goo. Some lighter beers may do less damage to your laptop than the heavy ones
Seawater
5% of spills. Seawater is one of nature’s best conductors and one of the most corrosive liquids since it contains sodium chloride
Hot tea
3% of spills. Tea contains tannic acid that is a great conductor that will cut out the circuits, create shorts and burn out the components in your laptop

How to deal with water spill on your laptop keyboard

The first thing you do when you spill any liquid on the keyboard is to unplug it from your PC so that there’s no power getting to it. For most keyboards, especially the ones with cheaper membranes a little water spillage won’t harm your keyboard, but for more complicated gaming and mechanical keyboards that have extra circuitry, they’re at a higher risk of long-lasting damage which makes the repair process more complicated.

The main goal is to disassemble the keyboard piece-by-piece so that you can remove any moisture. Take a picture of your keyboard for reference later.

Here’s are the steps to follow

  • First, turn off your laptop and immediately disconnect it from the power source and remove the charger and the battery. If the water reaches the circuits on your laptop while they’re active, it will most likely short out your laptop, so time is of the essence.
  • You then need to disassemble your laptop and wipe it down, but this process will depend on your laptop model. You can get disassembly guides for any laptop on YouTube, but most laptops are built for easy disassembly. However, others are harder to disassemble than others. For some, you just need a screwdriver while others need specific tools that you’ll find in your laptop’s repair kit.
  • Remove your laptop from any excess water to minimize your laptop’s exposure to more water and reduce the risk of electric shock. Pull out all the keys since almost every keyboard has keys that you can pop in and out without causing any damage. You can use a screwdriver to pull them out and put them somewhere safe.
  • Flip your keyboard over and remove all the screws one by one so you can remove the top layer of your keyboard and get to the layer underneath. If you have a membrane keyboard, you’ll find either one or two layers of a thin membrane that covers your keyboard.
  • Remove all the membrane layers – they’re easy to remove, but sometimes there’s a metal frame that you’ll need to pull out or unscrew.
  • Once you’ve separated all the components, carefully wipe them with a dry towel, and make sure all the moisture has been soaked up. In case you’ve spilled soda or juice on your keyboard, it will be sticky so you may need to use some alcohol swabs to wipe off the residue.
  • Once you’ve removed all the moisture, leave the components in the open air to dry for about 12-24 hours to allow any hidden moisture to evaporate. Then you can reassemble your keyboard and place the keys back to their original position with the help of the photo you took.
  • In most cases, this will fix your keyboard, but the more complex keyboards with extra functionality and LEDs may require you to do more disassembly and there’s a risk that your keyboard may be damaged beyond repair. In such a case, you should contact the manufacturer to find out if they do repairs and replacements.
  • If your battery came into contact with water or any liquid, you should buy a new one. The liquid will not only damage your battery, but it can also cause your laptop unsafe to use. If you’re not sure about what to do, consult a professional.
  • After reassembling your laptop, turn it on and if it doesn’t reboot or there’s distortion in the display or sound, take it to a professional repair shop.

Waterproofing options

To protect your laptop from water damage in the future, invest in a clear plastic or silicone keyboard cover. You can also get a fully waterproof shell for the top and bottom halves, but make sure not to cover the ventilation holes and a waterproof laptop screen protector.

Conclusion

Liquid can quickly destroy your electronics, but if you act fast you can salvage your laptop or computer. Ensure that you unplug it from the power source and hold down the power button for at least 5-7 seconds until it totally shuts off.

FAQ

Can I use a hair drier to dry my laptop?

You can use the coolest setting on your blow drier or a can of compressed air to carefully dry your laptop while it’s upside down to allow the liquid to drain from the hard to reach places.

How long should you let a laptop dry?

Let it air dry for at least 24 hours or more to allow it to dry completely before turning it on to avoid any moisture left doesn’t cause a short circuit which will cause more damage.

Allen Pope

Allen Pope is a computer analyst by profession and for the longest time, he has been working with businesses to ensure that they use computer technology efficiently. In his line of work, he has worked for different organizations configuring hardware and software and initiating the systems upgrade. According to Allen, many people are not aware of the current technological advancements equipped on laptops and how they can use it to their advantage. It is, therefore, for the above reason that he came up with detailed excerpts that contain comprehensive information on laptops; having a laptop is one thing but knowing how it can help simplify your job is another and that is why you have the laptop grader.

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