Spilled Water On Keyboard – Here’s How To Fix It

We’ve all been there. Turn too quickly, and your glass is knocked over, liquid already seeping into your keys. It doesn’t have to be a complete loss. With a bit of care, your keyboard has a chance to be as good as new.

Is My Device Permanently Messed Up?

Your keyboard doesn’t have to be permanently damaged just because it got wet. Many people have dried their keyboards — cleaned them if necessary — and found that it works as well as it did before. Even if it’s soaked, don’t give up hope. Just start working as quickly as possible to dry out your keyboard.

You are more likely to end up with permanent damage if you don’t take action immediately. If the water seeps farther into the keyboard, it might damage the electronic components. Liquids other than water can also create issues because of what’s in them. For example, salt and sugar might interact negatively with your keyboard.

How to Dry Out My Keyboard If I Spilled Water on It?

The first thing you need to do is move your keyboard to a dry surface by unplugging it and flip it upside down so that the liquid starts seeping out of the keys. Shake the keyboard hard a few times to get the water out of the keyboard’s internals. 

Flip Keyboard Upside Down

Once you’ve removed all the water you can, set it on a device like a dish rack that allows air to get to every part of the keyboard. It should still be upside down. Point a fan at the keyboard to help the process and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours without touching it.

Fixing a Wet Keyboard

Spilled Coffee on the Keyboard

There are a few things to consider, depending on what kind of keyboard you have. Slightly different actions might be needed if you don’t have a standard keyboard. While the procedure above works for most keyboards, there are a few special cases where you might want to do a bit more.

Portable Keyboard

Turn off the portable keyboard and remove the batteries before you start to dry it. Once that’s done, you can work on drying and cleaning it like any other keyboard. 

Mechanical Keyboard

Removing Keycaps in a mechanical keyboard

Depending on what mechanical keyboard you have, it should be as easy to clean as a standard keyboard. Pull off the mechanical keycaps to help it dry more easily before leaving it for at least 24 to 48 hours. If any keyboard you have includes removable keycaps, taking them off can help you get the most moisture out of the keyboard’s internals. 

Spilled Water on Keyboard and Now the Keys Are Not Working

Sometimes liquid seeping into your keys can damage them and prevent them from working. This outcome is particularly likely if you didn’t address the problem immediately or didn’t let the entire keyboard dry out before using it again. Even water can have minerals in it that can dry on your keyboard components. 

If your keyboard is already not working, there’s no harm in doing more extensive troubleshooting. With the keyboard unplugged, unscrew the various screws that hold the keyboard together. Use a lint-free cloth to dry every spot you can reach on the keyboard and leave the parts exposed to air for another day.

Once you put it back together, the keys may work again.

Spilled Water on a Laptop Keyboard

Spilled Water on Laptop

Your laptop keyboard is a little more challenging to fix than a standalone keyboard. Since the keyboard is directly connected to the laptop’s components, you risk damaging your entire laptop if you don’t dry it right away. 

Make sure to turn your laptop off as soon as you get water on it. You also need to unplug it and remove any cables that are connected to the computer. 

Turn it upside down so water can drain, and use an absorbent cloth to start drying its surfaces right away. If liquid has flowed to the laptop’s ports, make sure to focus on those areas as well.

Clean with Cloth

If you’re comfortable removing the backplate from your laptop, you can also get more liquid out of its internals that way. Any liquid you can remove before leaving it to dry will help the process and mitigate damage. 

Once it’s as dry as you can make it, leave it turned off and upside down for at least a full day to dry.

Dealing with Other Liquids

Spilled Milk Coffee

Liquids other than water might lead to different issues you need to address. Because they are sticky, they might prevent your laptop from working. Juice, soda, alcohol, and dairy drinks can leave extra residue or a sticky film behind. The sugar and salt in liquids other than water can cause problems with your keyboard that plain water wouldn’t. 

If you have spilled something other than water on your keyboard, you should probably clean it before letting it dry completely to ensure that it will work unencumbered.

  1. Remove the keycaps, if possible. 
  2. Pour 99 percent isopropyl alcohol into a small bowl. Have lint-free cloths and lint-free swabs available.
  3. Dip the cloth into the alcohol. Make sure it isn’t wet enough to start dripping. Run it over all surfaces of the keyboard.
  4. Dip a swab in the alcohol. Use it to scrub the places where the keyboard is particularly messy or that have resistant residue. If you have specific keys that are sticking, try to focus on those areas.
  5. Use the swabs and cloth to clean the removed keycaps. Make sure to get the tops and bottoms.
  6. Dry the keyboard with a lint-free cloth. Let it sit for 24 to 48 hours before reassembling it. 

It’s vital to use isopropyl alcohol on any electronic connections or circuit boards inside your keyboard. While a slightly lower percentage of isopropyl alcohol might be acceptable, it’s better to err on the side of caution and stick with 99 percent.

Doing this should help your keyboard work again, even if you spilled something incredibly sticky like orange juice on it.

Should I Soak It In Rice?

It’s commonly said that you should put electronic devices exposed to water in rice to help draw out the moisture. However, it’s best not to take the rice out to fix your keyboard. Rice releases starch when it comes into contact with water. These starch particles will only put further foreign matter onto your already-compromised keyboard

When Should I Worry?

Spilled Coffee on Laptop

If you’ve done everything discussed to dry and fix your keyboard and it still isn’t working, it might be time to contact a technician. It’s also important to consider a specialist if you got water on your laptop keyboard since it’s so directly connected to other computer components. 

Sometimes contact with liquid damages the keyboard’s internals, so it won’t work again without replacement parts. It can be challenging to tell what exactly is damaged with just a glance. You’ll know that it’s time to consider professional help or a replacement when the keyboard isn’t working even after you’ve cleaned and dried it.

Spilling water — or any other liquid — on your keyboard isn’t necessarily the end of its life. Quick and thorough attention can fix the problem and let you get back to typing in just a day or two.  Just remember that while it may feel like the keyboard is dry enough right away, don’t rush things. Give it the proper time to dry for the best possible results.

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