Spilled Liquid On My Mac or Keyboard

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OMG! I spilled {water, coffee, beer, coke, wine} on my {keyboard, Mac notebook}

What do I do ?!?

Perform these 5 steps, described below:

  • Unplug
  • Invert
  • Clean
  • Air dry
  • Wait

Unplug: The first thing to do is to turn off the machine - you need to stop electricity from flowing ASAP, even the trickle power that is still there when a machine is off.

If it is a keyboard , then unplug it from the machine.

If it is a notebook, then turn it off and remove the battery.

Invert: Next, turn the item upside down to stop the liquid from penetrating into the circuits any more than it has.

Clean: Now you have a decision, which depends on the liquid involved. If it was pure water, you probably do not have to clean the equipment.

If it was soda pop, beer, wine, coffee, tea, etc., the sugars, salts and acids in the liquid (and the residues they will leave behind) will play havoc with your circuits.

If it is a notebook:

Disassemble the keyboard from the machine, using lint free towels and cotton swabs to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Rinse the keyboard with pure water. Swab what you can reach of the inside of the computer with rubbing alcohol. Be extra careful with ribbon cables, they can tear or be pulled out of their connectors very easily.

If it is a keyboard:

If they will come off, carefully pry the keytops off the keyboard, and use pure water to rinse. If there is no pooling of water under the keys, don't introduce water there, go with an alcohol swab on the circuits rather than a rinse.

Some people advocate putting it in the dishwasher with no soap. If you try this, do NOT let it go through a drying cycle, the temperatures are too hot.

Air-dry: Once you have it as clean as possible, you need to air dry it. Place it in a warm, ventilated area (like the top of the fridge) and leave it there.

Wait: Now - WAIT.

The classic newbie mistake is to plug it in again after an hour or two of drying 'just to see if it works still'. Applying electricity to a circuit that still has pockets of moisture on it usually delivers the coup de grace to a machine that otherwise may have been OK. You need to wait at least 24 hours before before powering on the machine, 48 hours would be better.

Additionally another option worth considering is immediately submerging the device in rice if possible once you have completed the above steps. Rice absoards copious amounts of water and this is backed up by the numerous claims of smartphone users doing this.

Lastly - grieve for the loss of your warranty. Liquid spills leave telltale traces, and Apple will (rightly) void your warranty as soon as they see liquid marks in the machine.