Liquid damage to any laptop is not an easy repair, and even minor spills can result in issues that require a lot of tools and experience. However, repairing liquid damage to a laptop is doable, with the correct experience and resources. Be sure to read this Wiki in its entirety to prevent any further damage. Avoid any advice recommending you to allow your laptop to dry or to simply clean it with just any ol' rubbing alcohol, as newer laptops have many components that can be damaged as a result of a spill. If you have other devices that are liquid-damaged, then consider taking a look at The Definitive Guide on MacBook Water Damage, The Electronics Water Damage Wiki, and the iPhone Liquid Damage Repair Guide.
- Safety is always first. Use caution when disconnecting any device from household current or any other source. If you are standing in a conductive liquid like water or your clothes are wet, please remove yourself from any potential shock hazard before retrieving a submerged or soaked electronic device.
- If the device is still on, turn it off. Turning off a liquid-damaged device is crucial to prevent electrical shorts and subsequent damage. Liquids like water can conduct electricity and lead to short circuits, potentially harming internal components and causing irreversible harm to the device.
- Disconnect your device from every power source ASAP. Because liquids like water conduct electricity, you must disconnect your laptop from any power sources to prevent the components from becoming shorted. This includes disconnecting your laptop from its charger and disconnecting and removing the battery if possible.
- Disconnect any external accessories. If your laptop has any external accessories (USB Mice, Storage Devices, or other Peripherals), disconnect them.
- Drain the device. Turn the laptop upside down to let the liquid drain out. Use a dry cloth to wipe away any visible liquids on the surface. Be sure to shake the device to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Avoid using rice or other similar desiccant. Often, using this kind of drying method will create more damage in the long term since desiccants will not remove the contamination caused by the liquid spill, as shown in Rice is for Dinner, Not Repair.
- Open the device and remove the affected components. As soon as possible, open your laptop and remove the battery, logic board, Storage Drive (assuming it's not integrated into the logic board), and any other components that have become liquid-damaged.
What liquid has Damaged your Laptop
pH value is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, with values ranging from 0 to 14. A lower pH indicates a more acidic substance, while a higher pH value indicates a more alkaline or basic substance.
Liquids with lower pH values, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages, can cause more rapid and severe corrosion and damage to electronic components when they come into contact with devices. It is crucial to be aware of the pH level of the liquid that has affected your device to assess the potential extent of the damage.
- Pure water neutral pH = 7.0
- Sea water, i.e., saltwater = about 8.2
- Regulated pool water = 7.2 - 7.8 (Source)
- Lemon juice = 2.3
- Cola = 2.5-3.5
- Fruit juice = 3.5
- Beer = 4.5
- Coffee = 5.0
- Tea = 5.5
- Hand soap = 9.0 -10.0
- Bleach = 12.5
- Other beverages
Other liquids with high sugar concentrations can also cause a new set of challenges due to the solids that may be present in the liquid.
Cleaning the Damaged Components
You will need to clean the components that have been liquid-damaged.
- Be sure to remove anything that is attached to your motherboard. Remove all cables, open all connectors, and remove shields to access the underneath components.
- In a suitably sized container, submerge the components in high-concentration isopropyl alcohol. Ideally, you want to use a 90% or higher concentration from a pharmacist or drug store. You can also use distilled or deionized water as an alternative cleaning fluid, although this will take longer to dry. Avoid all solvents such as ketone, acetone, or naphtha.
- Using a soft-bristle toothbrush or other soft brush, clean the logic board of any debris or corrosion deposits left on the board. Please pay attention to the connectors and the ends of any ribbon cables to prevent any corrosion of their contact surfaces. You can also use a Precision Cleaning Kit to clean more delicate components. Be cautious when cleaning the board to avoid damaging or accidentally removing components from the board. If available, use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean any exposed areas of the board and corrosion from areas a brush cannot reach.
- Once you finish cleaning the components and there is no corrosion, use a hairdryer on its cold setting and dry the components. Alternatively, the components can be placed under a desk lamp to warm them and dry out the cleaning fluid gently.
- Check the cable ends and all the connectors before reassembling your device for any signs of corrosion or debris. Once you are confident that your device is free of liquid damage and corrosion, reassemble your device.
Evaluating the Damage
Once your device is reassembled, you will need to evaluate the extent of the damage. Test your laptop for what is and what isn't working, and replace parts in an organized fashion, not all at once. Like all electronics, laptop components do have an order of failure when liquid-damaged.
- Battery: If your device has been submerged, you will likely need a new battery. Lithium and other types of rechargeable batteries don't usually tolerate submersion well. Any sign of bubbling, bulging, melting, or discoloration on the battery indicates that the battery needs to be replaced. Dispose of it only at a battery recycling facility.
- Storage/Hard Drive: Liquid damage can negatively affect your laptop's storage drive and leads to data loss and your system's operating system being corrupted. You will want to try to transfer the data on the liquid-damaged storage drive to a dry storage drive.
- Display: Water damage can affect your laptop's screen. Unfortunately, there isn't much that you can do to repair liquid damage to the display. If the damage is significant enough, then you will need to replace the display.