Read me now so you’ll know what to do if your laptop accidentally gets wet!

Nearly empty glass of water with its contents spilled on to a laptop

Nooooooooooo! You just knocked your water bottle over and liquid is gushing all over your MacBook Air.  What should I do?!?!

First off, don’t panic. Stay calm—act fast and it’s definitely possible to salvage your device. 

Now shut off your laptop immediately. Do NOT try to continue to do any work. The quicker you can power down the machine, the better chance you have of saving it.

If it’s plugged in, unplug it, then press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds or longer until it shuts down completely. Also unplug everything – your mouse, USB drives, any cables, etc. – connected to your laptop. You don’t want anything to try and draw even a trickle of power from the system.

Next, open your laptop and turn it upside down to allow any liquid to escape, but don’t shake it. Use paper towels, an absorbent towel, or lint-free absorbent fabric to gently dry off any wet surfaces. 

Once you’ve removed as much water as possible, leave the laptop open to give it as much ventilation as possible. Do NOT use a hair dryer or any type of heating device as this could  permanently damage the internal components. Also do NOT try to submerge your laptop into dry, uncooked rice – rice getting stuck in and around the components of your laptop isn’t going to help!

Here’s the hard part … walk away from it, and let it air dry for AT LEAST 24 HOURS.  If you try to power your device on  before it’s ready, you’re asking for trouble. That can cause a massive short in your system and absolutely wreck your laptop. (If you really and truly can’t give it 24 hours, then let it dry for 4 hours. 4 hours, you can do that!)

Need help? Contact the ITS Information Desk at 540.458.4357, email, or stop by the Main Level of Leyburn Library!