Water-Damaged Laptop: Can You Still Fix It?

You have a water-damaged laptop, and you’re freaking out. You’ve turned it off and unplugged it, but still, you’re nervous. What can you do now? Is there water inside? Should you throw the computer away? These are the most common questions that you might be asking in your head because you feel that there’s no hope for your laptop. But the great news is that you can still save your device by following the simple steps listed in this article. Keep reading!


The first thing that can happen after a liquid spill is corrosion. The next thing that can happen is short circuits. Then, if you’re lucky, nothing else happens until your laptop becomes completely useless and possibly catches fire.

If you are unlucky, the water damage from a liquid spill will cause permanent damage to your laptop and this is where things get really bad. If a computer gets wet and then stops working, it’s not just annoying; it’s expensive! For example, if you have to replace the motherboard in your computer because of water damage (as opposed to just replacing the keyboard), expect to pay about $300 for parts alone.

If liquid has gotten between keys on your keyboard or into any crevices in your case, or even if it’s just gotten on some parts of the inside surface of your screen, you should probably think twice before turning on or closing up again.

And to have an idea of which part of your laptop needs your entire focus, check the next section.


If you own a laptop, you know that it can take a beating. You might even drop it on the floor from time to time (or at least I do). But you don’t want to accidentally spill something on your computer or leave it in the rain. In fact, there are certain parts of your laptop that are more susceptible to water damage than others. This section will help you determine which parts of your device need protection, and how best to protect them!

? LCD Screen

The LCD screen is the most sensitive part of a laptop. It’s also the most expensive and difficult to replace. If you accidentally spill water on your laptop, it might be more cost-effective to buy a new one than pay to have the screen replaced.

There are two types of LCD screens: liquid crystal display (LCD) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED). OLED is newer technology but has some issues with ghosting and burn-in that make it less desirable for gamers or anyone who uses their computer for work where colors must be consistent from one day to another (and where brightness is important).

? The laptop’s integrated keyboard

If you’re worried about your laptop’s keyboard, rest assured that it is usually the least of your concerns.

The keys themselves are rarely water-sensitive and can be easily cleaned if they do get wet. If some moisture does seep behind the keys, it’s not too difficult to disassemble the laptop and clean out any residue with a cotton swab or compressed air (making sure not to touch any electrical components). If this still doesn’t work for you, replacing keyboards is cheap and easy. Many laptops have online tutorials available on how to swap out a keyboard if need be.

? The trackpad

The trackpad is the part of your laptop that you use to move the cursor or click on things. It’s not water-sensitive and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. If you spill something on it, don’t worry! Just wipe it off.

? The battery

The battery is also one of the most water-sensitive parts of your laptop. If you spill water on it, whether the laptop is on or off, it can be damaged. The liquid will eventually find its way into the circuitry and corrode components such as capacitors, which are responsible for regulating power flow in a battery.

This causes them to fail faster than normal wear and tear would cause them to fail. It also increases their chances of catching fire if exposed to too much heat or electricity. And this could happen if you leave your computer plugged in when charging (or even without charging).

? USB connectors and ports

Although USB connectors and ports are water-resistant, they’re not waterproof.

If you need to clean your keyboard, laptop, or other PC parts, a damp cloth is more than enough to get the job done. And don’t forget that some laptops have a removable panel under which all the components reside. If this option is available on your computer and if you can gain access to the inside of your machine, simply remove it and wipe down any visible dust or dirt with a soft cloth.

Now that you know which parts are sensitive to water spills, here’s how to fix your laptop that has been water-damaged. Check the list below.


You’re taking a break at the beach, and you decide to go for a swim. You get caught in a current and end up washing ashore. When you reach for your laptop, which is still in its bag on the sand, it’s soaked with seawater. If this has happened to you or someone else, don’t panic! With these steps and some time for drying out, we’ll show you how to fix the water damage:

fixing water-damaged laptop
Photo credits: Clint Patterson

? Shake off the water

Before turning on your laptop, you’ll want to remove as much water as possible. Don’t turn on or plug in the device at this point. It’s still too wet and could short-circuit or fry itself if you do. If there are any puddles of liquid outside the device (like around its feet), try not to tilt or move it too much while drying them up. You don’t want any liquid getting inside again!

? Blot with paper towels

After you’ve removed the water, it’s important to dry your laptop thoroughly. You can do this by blotting the exterior of your laptop with a soft, lint-free cloth or paper towel. Do not use a hairdryer or any other heat source to speed up the drying process as this will damage your laptop components.

? Disassemble your laptop

Now that you have gathered all the necessary tools, it’s time to start disassembling your laptop.


First, remove the battery by locating its release latch and pulling it away from the computer. You can then unscrew and remove the hard drive in a similar fashion by locating its retention screws and removing them with a screwdriver before sliding out the drive itself.


Next, remove any RAM modules from their sockets. There may be one or more of these chips depending on how much memory your laptop has. To do this, simply push down on each end until you feel it click into place and pull up gently (you don’t want to damage anything). If you’re unsure about how many modules are installed in your computer’s memory slots or whether they’re in two-channel or four-channel configurations (i3/i5/i7 CPUs), consult your owner’s manual for more information before attempting any upgrades yourself!


The keyboard comes next as we begin disassembly of your water-damaged laptop. But first, make sure not only that power is disconnected from its electrical outlet. Check also that nothing else, such as monitors, nearby could become damaged during this process. This is because nearby attachments rely, too, on electricity coming through wires connected directly behind them rather than wireless signals sent over Wi-Fi like wireless mice do so avoid touching anything else.

But if you are hesitant, work carefully under supervision if possible. Since mistakes happen often when working alone, especially during these kinds of projects where safety precautions need extra attention paid towards ensuring success every step along the way!

? Dry it out completely

The next step is to dry out your laptop as much as possible. The best way to do this is to leave it out in the sun. A sunny day will dry a water-damaged laptop faster than any other method, but you can also use a fan if the weather is too cold or rainy. 

If you don’t have a sunny day available, consider buying an electronic dehumidifier that plugs into any wall outlet and circulates air through its venting system (to prevent condensation). As mentioned, never use a hair dryer or heat gun to attempt to remove moisture from your device. These methods could cause permanent damage!

? Reassemble and turn it on

After the drying process, reassemble your device and try to turn it on. If your laptop has turned on successfully, check for defaults or other faulty hardware to know if the water damage has reached this phase. But if your laptop didn’t turn on, go to the nearest laptop repair shop and let the technician diagnose your laptop.

If your RAM fails, check here how to fix it.


? Should I be concerned about water damage to my laptop?

Yes! Water damage can cause your laptop to stop working, and in some cases, it can be unsafe to use. There is no way to tell whether a laptop has sustained water damage unless you have the ability to open and inspect the inside of your computer.

If you have any reason to suspect that your device has been exposed to moisture or liquid (for example, if it fell into a sink or toilet), then we recommend that you bring it in for inspection and service as soon as possible. If left without attention for an extended period of time, these types of internal components may become corroded beyond repair and render your entire machine unusable.

? How quickly should I shut down a laptop after water damage?

In general, the sooner you shut down your laptop after water damage, the better. This will minimize any further damage to your computer and give you the best chance of recovering it.

? How to protect laptop from a total damage?

If you have a laptop that has been damaged by water, there are several things to keep in mind when using it again.

First, be sure to wash your hands before using your laptop. This will minimize the chances of transferring dirt or oils from your hands onto the computer’s keyboard. Second, avoid using your laptop in the bathroom or near a sink. Even if you’re careful about not spilling anything on it directly, water can still get into it through its vents and other openings if you leave it near running water for too long (such as when rinsing off dishes). 

Thirdly, be very careful when using your laptop outdoors during rainy weather. If enough rain gets into the vents or cracks of an uncovered keyboard, this may cause additional damage beyond what was done originally by having gotten wet in the first place! Fourthly, if possible at all costs avoid taking out “backup” laptops.


The best way to fix a water-damaged laptop is to act quickly. The longer the time since the damage occurred, the more likely it is that you won’t be able to fix it. If your computer has been submerged for more than 24 hours, there’s probably nothing that can be done at this point except replacing parts or buying a new computer altogether (unless you have very deep pockets).