Spill Water on a MacBook Pro / Air? Here’s How You Might Be Able to Prevent Liquid Damage

Apr 13, 2014 - 92 Comments

Save a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air from Water Contact

Spilling water or another liquid onto a one to two thousand dollar plus MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is a horrible feeling, but before you completely panic, you can take a few proactive steps which may help to preserve the Mac or your data. There is never a guarantee that the Mac will be saved from permanent water damage, but sometimes you can recover a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro from spills and liquid encounters by taking some very quick actions, or perhaps just mitigate the water damage to the keyboard rather than the entire computer.

Before getting into specifics, it should probably go without saying that if you happen to drop a MacBook Air into a swimming pool, lake, ocean, or river, it’s basically guaranteed to be toast. Sure you can still try to save it, but the odds of recovery are extraordinarily low. This is really a guide aimed at helping to recover from smaller water encounters, like a splash from a spilled glass of water, or cup of coffee knocked over onto a desk with a MacBook Pro also sitting nearby. Unfortunately, the reality is that water contact with computers is much trickier to deal with and recover from than water getting into or onto an iPhone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least try to recover the Mac.

Of course there are no guarantees any of this will work for you, I’m just sharing what I did to save my own MacBook Air from permanent damage due to a water contact situation. And yes, that funny looking trick pictured in the the #6 step below actually worked.

1: Safety First!

This should go without saying, but personal safety needs to be your number one priority. Electricity and water obviously don’t mix and can pose a dangerous situation, if you’re not sure what to do, contact your local electricity / utility provider and they’ll let you know how to handle it. Generally if there’s a lot of water involved, you should take precautions for your own safety (like using the circuit breaker to cut all power) and forget about the computer though. Don’t risk it if you’re not sure what to do, contact a electrical professional.

For many MacBook spills and water encounters though, the device is running off battery power when the liquid contact happens, which makes disconnecting it a nonissue – that is what we’re focusing on here.

2: Turn the MacBook Pro / Air Off Immediately

The Mac needs to immediately turn off, assuming it’s still on. Hold down the Power button until the Mac shuts off, or shut it down from the Apple menu. You’ll have to worry about your documents later (OS X Auto Save should do it’s job), right now you’re trying to save the Mac itself.

3: Unplug All Other Cables / Cords

All external devices need to be disconnected immediately, whether its a display, monitor, external hard drive, even a mouse and keyboard. This is particularly true with powered devices since they could cause a short. Disconnect everything.

IF POSSIBLE, Disconnect the Battery

Most new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models have internal batteries making this impossible, but if the Mac has a removable battery, take it out immediately.

4: Dry Off All Visible Water

Now that all power sources are disconnected, dry off all visible water completely. Use a cotton towel if possible because it’s highly absorbent, but paper towels can work ok too. Q-Tips and corners are helpful to get into the little cracks of the keyboard, trackpad, and ports. Get any and all visible water off of the Mac. Pay special attention to the keyboard because water can easily seep under the keys.

Those with technical aptitude, patience, and the proper screw drivers can also attempt to disassemble their machine to dry out components too. That’s probably the most effective method, but it’s far beyond the scope of this article.

5: Keyboard Spill? Flip it Over

If the water or liquid primarily went onto the keyboard of the MacBook Air / MacBook Pro, quickly flip it over so that it’s keys are face down against a towel. This can help to prevent the liquid from seeping further into the inner components, or at least minimize their contact.

6: Use This Funny Looking Towel & Fan Trick

This shoddy setup shown below uses a crate, a towel, and a room fan. The basic idea is to allow maximum airflow into and around the MacBook, while providing absorbency for any residual water. Do this in a low humidity environment if possible.

Possibly Save a MacBook Air from Water Damage

Crates work very well for this because they have large gaps where air can freely pass through, but use what is available to you. Moderately warm air is fine, but remember that heat is bad for electronics so you don’t want to be blasting the MacBook with a space heater or hairdryer.

Configure that oddball fan setup and let it sit turned off and unplugged, now it’s time to wait.

7: Wait

Wait at least 96 hours in that funny configuration, if not longer, before even thinking about turning the MacBook back on again to see if it works. It can take a long time for water or liquids to dry out from internal components, don’t rush it.

8: Take it to an Apple Store to Check for Damage

After waiting a long time and you know for certain that the MacBook Pro / Air has zero remaining liquid within it, you’re certainly welcome to turn the Mac on yourself and see what happens. For most users though, the best bet is to wait until it’s dry, then take it directly to an Apple Store so they can determine if there’s any damage, and if so, what damage is done to what components.

If you’re very fortunate and act quickly, you may get away with no damage to the MacBook at all. Or maybe you’ll only end up with just a damaged keyboard, while the remainder of the components are fine. If liquid got the logic board or power system, the Mac is probably beyond a simple repair, in which case you’ll be out some serious cash unless you had a good insurance or an accidental damage policy on the Mac.

What About Stuffing the Mac Into Silica Gel or Rice?

If you have tons of silica gel packets handy, you can certainly try to pack the MacBook Air / Pro into a large ziplock bag with them. Silica or rice works well for recovering cell phones from water contact damage, but larger pieces of hardware would presumably require larger amounts of silica packets to have any efficacy. From personal experience, rice is less effective with a computer, but if you’re going to have it sitting around waiting to dry out anyway you can give it a try, iFixIt reports some success with it. If you’ve had a positive experience with sticking a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro into a bag of rice for a few days to revive it after water contact, let us know in the comments.

Do you have any experience saving your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook from damage due to water contact or a spill? Let us know what you did in the comments!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Jan Beckman says:

    The best results I have had with several macs is to open them up immediately and liberally dosing it with rubbing alcohol. It will absorb all water and then evaporate without a trace. It costs very little and works fantastic.

    • Rodrigo says:

      I agree this is a great method perhaps the best to save liquid damage on any electronic, Mac included, BUT, it is extremely complex for to open a MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro and not for even a semi-technical user. But, if you’re very proficient with dissasembly and have the tools to take a Mac apart and put it back together, this is a great method.

      Otherwise I think the above article advice is great, perhaps the towel part being unnecessary though because it may block some airflow once the initial water has been absorbed. I have recovered from small splashes before by doing a similar trick, but the bottom line is that for Macs, you have to let them dry out for 3-4 days minimum.

      BTW, AppleCare+ will cover liquid damage and accidents. Otherwise consider putting your Macs on a renters or home owners insurance policy to get them covered. For businesses, maybe put them under the business insurance for accidental situations too.

      • bana says:

        Hey – why do you say that apple care will cover water damage ? I have just damaged my brand new 2 day old macbook air with very little water damage ( I placed on a bedcover which was wet) And its gone off and not turing back on. I have the 3 year apple care plus but everywhere else i have read that it is not covered .

        • Christina says:

          Worked at the Genius Bar — Apple definitely DOES NOT cover any type of physical or liquid damage even with Apple Care on any Mac.

      • Jeanne says:

        Hello, thank you. Hit the site after my Macpro got a shower and the upside down on a towel pdq worked a treat.

    • Caroline says:

      Spilled about half a glass of water on the keyboard and trackpad area of my Macbook air. It did not shot down on its own, so I closed it as soon as I could, and flipped it over. My friend tried do opened it up a few minutes after the incident (DO NOT DO THAT), and nothing opened up, only the fan did. Shut it down again, came here in complete distress, and than i decided to tried the Funny Looking Towel & Fan Trick, AND IT WORKED PERFECTLY
      thank you a thousand times

      • Alex says:

        How long did it take for it to come back please?

      • Jude says:

        Hi i spilled water on my Mac air too but I didn’t dare to switch it on again is it possible that it will be damage .coz my friend told me not to switch it on again . So I didn’t know what to do now . Any advice ?

    • Leslie says:

      I’m trying your method- would like to attach picture – let you know if it works!

    • Edmond says:

      Besides the tips written there, I think bringing it in to the Apple store is not the best idea, as they will almost always declare the logicboard as dead even when it is not. At least in my country, the Apple Authorised Service Providers in Singapore always just replace the logicboard.

      The best is to bring it to a third party that does chemical washes on the board. In my experience, a lot of the boards can be revived by cleaning it with an ultrasonic cleaner.

  2. Ben says:

    I too have used the rubbing alcohol trick on electronics with good results.

  3. OldRogue says:

    I’m not even sure why ‘absorbancy’ is mentioned here. Just turn it over and shake gently. Let the liquid go where it may. Clean that up later. The main thing is to get the water out, and dry air in. A towel is just going to get in the way of the drying process.

  4. chris b says:

    The two posters above who recommended rubbing alcohol are leaving out that RA contains about 30% water as a diluting agent. So, don’t listen to their “tip” – RA isn’t hydrophilic and doesn’t adsorb water.

    Isopropyl alcohol 99%, which is hard to find and buy for legal reasons, works much better in this regard, but it tends to displace and doesn’t at all adsorb water (or adsorb coffee, juice, etc.).

  5. Kwei Quartey says:

    Mine was the worst of scenarios. During a plane flight, I tipped a full cup of hot tea over my MacBook keyboard. The logic board was fried, and the keyboard was also kaput. Fortunately all data intact. I had to buy a new one and have the data transferred. I now use a keyboard protector!

    • phan says:

      Dumped water on your Macbook during a flight? Oh that really sucks, I would be so bummed.

      I’ve had splash encounters but never a full cup of tea or anything like that

    • Roberta says:

      Gosh, mine just got an entire cup of tea too at work. I drove it immediately to te assistance but I’m expecting the worst :-(

  6. mj says:

    The new crystal kitty litter works well for smaller items. Dump the item into a ziplock with litter to cover and then wait and wait and wait..

  7. JP Atlanta says:

    Anyone thought of a Shop-Vac? Getting all power removed is first line of defense. I almost wish Apple would make a special physical switch you could flip that would disconnect the internal battery. However, they could also easily build the keyboard and case that would not allow liquids into the internals as well but would cost them MILLIONS in spill replacement sales yearly.

  8. Tom says:

    I have lost 5 Mac laptops over last 5 years to liquid spills.
    Mostly due to spills of wine or other liquids in airplanes or on our kitchen counter.

    Wine on an unprotected keyboard, even small amounts, is deadly, the Mac cries a squeal and is lost.

    I now use keyboard protecter and it works, IF you are careful to get the liquid off the keyboard and Mac quickly, before it gets into the Mac. I had a clumsy airline attendant. But the protector worked.

    With the technologies available today, one would think Apple could make all iPhones and Macs waterproof, or at least water resistant.

    • Rodrigo says:

      Keyboard protector is smart! This lets you quickly turn a Mac over to dump the liquids off. The water / fluid seeping into the keyboard and behind the keys is the killer, that’s how it gets to the logic board. Great idea!

  9. Computech says:

    Nothing you read on the internet about putting laptops in rice, using fans, hair driers or whatever other tricks are any substitute for actually taking your computer to an apple authorized service provider (not an apple store) to have them take it apart fully and inspect every component for liquid damage. Many times the computer can be cleaned and repaired without permanent damage if caught soon enough. If liquid is left in a laptop, even if it is still working the even tiny amount of liquid can slowly corrode away components that can fail weeks or even a year after the accident. Please spend the money to have it inspected properly if liquid damage occurs.

  10. Hookoa says:

    Rice, by itself has little effect even for cell phones.

    That said, burying a cell phone in a container of rice and warming the rice DOES have good effect.

    Easiest way to do this is to place the container on top of a countertop Microwave oven that has a light bulb to light the interior. Place the container of rice/cell phone right over the location of the light bulb and leave the door of the MW open for 24 hours or more.

    Alternatively, rig a 40-60 watt bulb lamp. Use your ingenuity.

  11. Alberto says:

    My solution works perfectly: I never drink or bring any kind of liquid close to a computer…

    • Grey says:

      This is the correct answer, and obviates the entire discussion here. If you bring liquid near a laptop, it’s going to find its way in, eventually — and regardless of how careful you are. If you’re drinking from an open cup on an airplane with your Air in your lap, you absolutely deserve what’s going to happen, because you’re stupid or in denial or both.

      My policy is different with my desktop (Mac Pro) setup: I can afford to lose a $49 Apple keyboard (or even a $79 BT keyboard), especially because I keep a backup of each on the shelf — new-in-box castoffs from Craigslist, at half price. Still, if you’re careful and lucky, a keyboard might wear itself out before getting coffee-fucked. I’m going on 3 years now.

  12. Alex says:

    I’ve had both beer and water over my MacBook 17 inch on 4 sepperate occasions. Turned it off and flipped it upside down instantly each time and the thing is still preforming like a dream. I think that speed is the main factor here.

    There’s a great video of a MacBook Air being put underwater by CNET and the only thing that stopped working was the battery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_0CN-12npY

  13. Anthony ACMT says:

    I often read theses forums and never comment but the advice given on this subject is terrible. I am not trying to scare anyone but I am an ACMT and have been successfully repairing liquid damaged 6 years, 2000 units later I have learned a few things and no amount of wishing or praying will save your Macbook Air or Pro from the damage done by liquid of any kind. Macs as you know are precisely engineered and are not designed to be exposed to liquid in any amount. The bottom line is that any amount of liquid that makes its way to a logic board that has power or is even powered off will cause corrosion. No amount of rice, silica gel or blow drying changes this. Corrosion is the enemy here and electricity is the catalyst driving the corrosion process so the key is to disconnect all power to the unit asap, this includes disconnecting the battery. Unfortunately Apple has begun to use proprietary screws on all new Macs so this poses a real challenge for most people. In most cases corrosion left un treated or un-repaired will cause the main logic board to fail or otherwise malfunction causing your Mac to behave strangely.

    Ok….now the question is what do I do to fix this issue? Well as I see it you have 3 options.

    1. Listen to the guy who says put it in a bag of rice and pray. The result will likely be a broken Macbook Pro full of rice, if the unit does come back to life it’s likely only a matter of time until you see issues start to pop up and you will likely need to budget for a new MacBook.

    2. Take it to the Apple Store. I worked for Apple for many years and the answer is almost always the same “Dude you spilled water on it…buy a new MacBook” or the We can send it out but it will cost you $740.00 for a 13″ or below and $1240 for a 15″ or above, does not matter if it is a drop or a gallon and it will void your warranty.

    3. Google it!!!! There are several reputable independent service providers out there that offer MacBook Pro liquid damage repair services nationwide at about a 1/3 of what the Apple store charges and some of them even offer free shipping.

    Bottom line is if you spilled something on your MacBook and you want it fixed correctly it’s likely going to cost you only question is how much? Thats for you to decide but do your research and good luck!!

    • Safar Huseynov says:

      Hi. I dropped one cap of tea into my mac, after cleaned Apple Cares master (they told me my mac’s mother board and keyboard is not working) the later two hours my mac is working perfectly. What can I do now? Can u tell me some idea? thanks

  14. Sim says:

    A few years ago, half a cup of water was accidentally spilled onto the keyboard of my white Macbook. The screen went blank in under a minute and cannot power up again.

    I opted to upgrade to the Macbook Pro because the repair cost turned out to be more than half the price of the Macbook! The repair centre said that the main board need to be replaced. The white Macbook was left in the closet and forgotten.

    A year ago I toke it out while clearing the closet. Out of curiosity I connect the power cable and pressed the power button, to my surprise it was able to power up again but unable to boot!

    Quickly inserted an OSX CD and reinstall the OS successfully. It’s still working fine to this day.

    The water must have short circuited the electronics but did not damage it. It’s working again after all the water had dried up.

  15. VLF says:

    Last year I stayed in a hotel and one day, during my absence in the room, a hot water pipe broke in the bathroom.
    When I came back the room was full of steam, it was so hot I could not enter for a few minutes and water was dripping from walls and the ceiling. The bed was saturated so were all my clothes.
    On the desk there was a brand new (2013) MBP, A Sony camera, a MIDI controller, a DJ mixer, two power boards, an assortment of power supplies and an Airport Express box, as well as two WD backup disks.
    Once I opened the window (yes, in some countries you CAN open hotel windows!) I picked up the MBP, turned it off while water was pouring out of the bottom enclosure cooling slots. I wiped it with a towel, which was wet as well. The camera battery compartment had water in it, the mixer, once tipped, also turned out to be flooded.
    Quietly hoping the hotel would replace anything broken I did not do any dance footwork. Moved the gear to a new room, and the next day started and used all the electrical equipment with the hotel manager present.
    And guess what? Everything worked, 100%! No problems, no shorting, nothing. The camera required a sensor clean, that’s all.
    Maybe the steam settled on the bodies of the equipment rather than flood the components, I don’t know, however seeing water gushing out of the vents of the MBP gave me a bit of rush I must say.

    • Dmitry says:

      I might not be completely correct here, but distilled water (and this is what you get as a steam condensate) is not conductive, so in perfect conditions it won’t cause any short circuits.

      There is, however, a good chance it dissolves anything that might stick on the surface, and there might be some salts that will make it a conductor.

      So you’re quite lucky anyway.

  16. Karen says:

    I spilt a full glass of water over my MBP. Immediately powered it off and turned it over. Water poured out. Then I placed it in a storage container filled with rice. I left it for 4 days- computer open and setting on top of rice. When I opened the box and powered up my computer, it worked! And has been working for 3 yrs since that time with no problems.

    • Dominic says:

      Hi have the exact same thing. But I left it for 3 days as it said on this site but I added rice to the pan on which it was sitting And 3 days laters it works, but I get a warning that the battery is damaged and won’t charge. I booked an appointment to Apple store tomorrow…

  17. Sidrit says:

    Hello guys,

    A year ago i spilled a cafe late with SUGAR on my Mac book pro Retina (2013). After turning it off and drying it upside down i turned it successfully on. The only traces of the spill were to be found on the sticky keys on my keybord which i managed to clean by removing all of them one by one. Today, a year from the damage i would like to ask you guys whether you think i am of the hook or there might be some corrosion inside my MAC?

    FYI The mac is working perfectly in all aspects: Sound, Battery, speed, ports and so on. Not a single irregularity so far.

    Thank you in advance

    MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mavericks (10.9.4)

  18. Rocky says:

    My two year old kid pissed on my MacBook Pro. It was in off state, trying to dry it off with mild hot air.

  19. Mandy says:

    Hi, how to know if water gets into Mac charger instead? How to prevent any damage? Water gets into my house the other day due to broken pipe. I left my laptop charger on the floor so i think water gets into it. The charger outer body feels a bit cold.

  20. mansour says:

    i have spill coffee on my macbook air when i did the following steps I didn’t work. when i boot my macbook the display is so dark my keyboard works when i brought my macbook to apple store they sais i need to replace my motherboard but there was no water i have check everything but i cqn’t find the issue

  21. Adam says:

    Liquid damage is NOT covered by Apple Care+ !!! just found out the hard way!

  22. shiba says:

    Just spilled water on my 2 years old macbook pro.my brother shook it well before opening the bottom cover to shake off the liquid. have put it upside down under a fan.will not dare switch it on for at least two days. I just wish (beg the almighty, kneeling on thr floor) it works.

  23. Tom Hall says:

    I have recently fixed a water damaged mac for my sister, she spilt a glass of prosecco on it, following on from this she said it wouldn’t turn on. However after dismantling, and washing all components with surgical spirit, the little system is working a treat- though it’s worth noting the keyboard needed replacing, and the dismantling process was somewhat laborious.

  24. jane nower says:

    Spilled coffee near my month old Macbook pro, I didn’t even realize that the coffee must have splashed onto the machine and got into the back. The computer would only run lately while plugged in. I took it to the apple repair and they told me that there was coffee inside and it would cost $700 to fix it. Sorry after spending almost $2000 I can’t spend another $700 to repair it. It still works fine except it has to be plugged in to use. Someone mentioned places the will repair if for a third of what apple charges, how can I find a reliable place to send it.

  25. Safar Huseynov says:

    one week ago not carefully I touched my full of tea cup and it filled into my new mac book pro 15 and i dried my self from outside use napkins and i opened my mac and it was working normally. next morning i tried to open my mac but it was unsuccessful after that i fell very bad and directly went to the Apple Care, after they checked my mac they told me mac’s mother board and keyboard has problem and they told me “if u want to repair your mac, it cast will be around 1300$ , I was upset ((… of course I did not repaired and left them there went to the garage shop to left my mac there for repair with cheap cost , when i arrived there fortunately the master was not there , and his friend told me the master will be here about 5 mins and started to wait him I was sooo bad about my mac after that i decided to open my mac again, I did it the same and fortunately my mac was working perfectly except keyboard so I decided don’t give to the master for repair! I went back home opened my mac it was working normally and until now i do not have any problems. I afraid after the one or two months it will be problem and I was ((((…. Who can give me any advise ??? What can I do now??? by the way I am from Azerbaijan and now living in Shanghai…

  26. Shoo says:

    I’ve spilled coffee on my apple laptops twice. Once in 2003 and once just now. Stupid I know! I’m about to order a keyboard protector. But I’ve turned my laptop upside down immediately, dried it off quickly with napkins and then proceeded to suck the remaining liquid out with my mouth. Basically act like your mouth is the end of a shop vac/vacuum cleaner and suck it all out. It sounds weird, but has worked for me both times!

  27. Erf Chowdhury says:

    i just spill half of glass of water yesterday and i was freaking out.. the water didn’t spill on top of my macbook but rather under it.. on the right side where the USB port and other ports are located(i think the wireless card as well) the macbook shut off immediately.. then like a dummy kept trying to open it but i at least knew to remove the power cable.. it would start and then turn off again every time.. i came to this site and i basically did all your advices except opening it up (yes i even started sucking the remaining liquid with my mouth.. it did kind of get some water out lol)i let it stay open on its side for the rest of the day… then during the afternoon yday.. i opened it and it was workiN!!… BUT the wireless was not working and the USB port on side where the water spilled wasn’t working either.. i was thinking to myself at least it is turning on maybe i jus have to replace the wi-fi or get a external wi-fi card. But i still wasn’t happy so i turned it off.. set it up to dry again in a room with the fan blasting(not directly at it but above it). In conclusion, i just woke up and i can happily say I’m typing this message from my macbook!!! 😀 :-D.. everything is working fine but i will keep u guys posted.. Moral of the story? IF u spilled water on your macbook.. JUS WAIT.. LET IT DRY.. ATLEAST A DAY.. then move on from there.. You never know it might just work for you

  28. Espresso says:

    First disconnect power/force shut down (hold power button 4+ seconds)

    – Put is upside down…shake out the liquid.

    – If you have iso-propyl alcohol at hand (and only this alcohol….Turn it up again…pour generous amount in and shake it baby…It displaces the water and doesn’t damage electronics.

    Then upsidedown again…. any place you can set is is fine… then use a vacuumcleaner and suck it dry.

    P.S. if you have a torx at hand you can remove the bottom and from there suck it out.

    Sucking is more effective to take out the left over moisture.

    the point of it all is to get the liquid out as fast as possible to prevent corrosion or further short circuits.

  29. Taylor says:

    hey all,

    today i spilt water (300ml cup) on my macbook pro 13” and straight away my laptop shut down and showed a fuzzy screen and then turned off,straight away i put it upside down for like 5 mins, then i put rice all over my keyboard (because thats where i spilt it on) and left it there for about 1 and a half hours to, 2 hours and then i turned it on and it worked!!! i was a very happy dude :)

    i reckon if it wasn’t for the rice then i think that i wouldn’t be making this comment now :)

  30. Caroline says:

    I spilled around a quarter of cup of water on my macbook air last night, i shut it off right away, then dried out the water with a towel…this morning i tried to turn it on(i know it’s bad) and the screen was totally black with a question mark folder flashing on and on, is my computer fried? What should i do? i shut it off again and got the funny position fan thing

  31. Janet says:

    the screen on my mac book air is totally black. Its still under guarantee but Im told that they found evidence of a small liquid spill, therefore won’t honour the guarantee and quoted me an amount more than the cost of a replacement for repair.

    The backlight of the keyboard is fine, and can be adjusted for brightness. The green light on the shift key works. There is the normal sound when I press the power button. Ideas please of what is wrong and what if anything can be done?

    • ITGUY says:

      My son just pour half glass of hot water on the table that flooded my 20 day old MacBook Air 4 hours ago, the screen went black in 2 seconds and I turned off the laptop and flip it upside down as suggested in above comments, and shaked the water out, I can see lots water came out from the air vent on the edge of the keyword, then I left the laptop closed at 3/4 to enable me to see the air vents, I then use a hand held vacuum cleaner to suck water out from the gap between edge of the mac book and the bottom of the screen, water drops can be seen sucked out, keep sucking about 5 minutes then left the mac book in a bag of rice for 4 hours.

      I said to myself I did what I have to do and didn’t think much just turn it back on, the screen flash once then black, then I heard the start up chime :-), but no display :-(!!!!.

      Quickly google it and found if start up chime can be heard it actually indicated hardware passed hardware test!!!! but still no display???, turned the half dead Mac off again then did a control+option+command+power once and hold till I heard start up chime twice then release keys, WOW, this time i can see a folder with ? on the screen after 10 seconds …..Google again, it means HDD failed :-( , cost at least 460 to replace !!, during my Google search, I found newer Mac has AHT( built in Apple Hardware Test program), I gave it a try as I thought I have got nothing else to lose, turn off Mac the Turn it on again, soon as I heard the start up chime, hold down the D key until a globe shown on screen, Yay!! I can see the globe that means my display is OK, quickly select Wifi and language then hited enter, the Mac actually download something from the net and started running some test, test result found power adaptor has an issue(of course I have not plug that in), anything else OK !!!!!!!!!, then I click on the reboot option on the screen then guess what ? It booted up to the screen I left off when my son spill water, even the document I was working on retained!!!!.

      I quickly check all keys on keyboard all functional, just incase there are more water left behind I decided to put it back to the rice bag overnight, I saved all my documents then turn it of, I used some tissue to plug into all ports as I found rice stucked in those ports and it will cause damage to the port if any of them left behind. thanks for all the comments posted in this forum. I think I have saved my Mac!!!!!.

  32. Rand says:

    A few days ago, I spilled tea on my macbook pro. It is the first time i ever cry over a material thing. not because my work entirely depends on my computer, not because of my deadlines, not because i absolutely cannot afford a new machine these days but specially because i have photos of my recently deceased mother that I haven’t backed up yet.

    this feedback is in gratitude to your recommendation here and as reference to anybody who might go through similar trouble.

    i spilled tea on the MBP and it automatically shut down within about a second.
    i freaked out, cried and panicked. knowing that the computer was out of battery, i connected it to the charger and turned it on only to hear funny sounds that i never heard before.
    only then did i find this page using my smart phone and turned the MBP upside down. I started organising the drying setup in the photo above and turned on the fan. at some point, i removed the towel and the keyboard was directly exposed to the spinning air while the computer was held somehow on a wooden frame.

    I managed to leave the whole experiment for three days. that’s all i could negotiate with a deadline i had to meet simultaneously.

    Then, I charged the computer for a long while. i pressed the turn on button and it did turn on. i was relieved beyond compare!

    This said, i would like to have some decent professional check it now and be more careful with my working partner from now on.

    Thank you so much.

  33. Lenore says:

    I just tried this trick with my 2012 Macbook Pro. My son spilled water on it 96 hours ago, and I did this right away (but without the towel). So far, my computer is working like a dream! Thank you for the suggestion!

  34. Marissa says:

    Hello everyone:) Okay so here is the issue, yestaerday about thus time I had an ashma attack while holding a cup of grape juice. I was just standing there and then suddenly dropped my cup and aboht 1/3 of it completely covered my keyboard. So as you all did I disconnected it from all of its cords and about 5 seconds later the screen went black. I turned it upside down and wiped off Any visible liquids. I then kept it upside down and ita been drying out for about 25 hours now. The light on the side of the computer by all the ports is flashing a bright green, but only one of them is doing this. I would go to the apple store or geek squad, or something like that, but I have no one to drive me… What do you guys think I should do…

    • Jane says:

      if you have a connectable keyboard or mouse, you could try that… but first u need to make sure it at least works. I had sorta the same thing, spilled water and the screen went black. I found out that it you plug your mac in and hold down the power button, it may come on. it takes some time though. Hope this helped a bit.

  35. Jane says:

    I spilled water on my mac’s keyboard. I kept it in a bag of rice for about 2 days. When i took it out, it wouldn’t turn on unless I held down the power button and it was plugged in. I had to plug in a keyboard and mouse. Also, my mac gets hot really fast, makes that noise when you over heat it all the time unless you unplug it, and it very, very, very slow. It takes 5 minutes just to get into Safari.

  36. Rahul says:

    Can I remove my dead mac hdd and insert it to another mac with same configuration to recover my data?

  37. Jeanne says:

    Thanks, put Macbook Pro on towel, as described, PDQ, and it worked a treat. Good forum.

  38. Jon says:

    I spilled about 6 to 8 ozs of water right into the keyboard yesterday.
    •I immediately put it corner down while powering off.
    • Then placed it on a towel keyboard-down and headed to Apple.
    • It showed no damage and was told to let it dry for 24 hours.
    • To help the process, I used a pretty large blue plastic bag filled the bottom with 5 lbs of rice, placed paper down for the mac to “A-frame” on, and sealed it up.

    24hours and 30 minutes later (and after a back-up), it seems to be working.

  39. Jana says:

    My 3yr old spilt water on my MacBook Pro keyboard. I flipped it, blotted it dry and right now it is upside down and open resting on 4 tall glasses suspended over DampRid (a consumer grade desiccant bought at a hardware store for $2.99) and sealed in a plastic bag. It’s up on a high shelf out of reach (in theory). Crossing fingers. Will let you know what happens.

  40. Angie says:

    My son spilled some liquid (beer) on his MacBook Air. We did everything we could to save it – turned it over onto a towel for several days but no luck. After a few days, I tried charging it but there was no life – I gave up. That was 5 months ago and so I decided to try to get it back to life again. Plugged it in- it charged but it was stuck in the white screen. Searched online and found something to do with disk utility (press control P – or something. Well to make a long story short – I went through some steps and bingo – the MacBook Air works!

  41. Bana says:

    I had a can of Pomatello San Pellegrino Juice can tip over on my keyboard and was able to get away with no damage.

    I have to think it’s all about the reflexes. I saw the beverage cover my space bar, letters M and N but I turned it upside down in a split second before the liquid could seep in. The can went flying in the other direction and spilled the drink all over my table. I never even had a chance to turn off the machine but I did place it on the towel immediately to have the towel ‘soak in’ as much as possible and lightly pressed the keyboard against it to try and ‘squeeze out’ remaining liquid.

    I let it sit there on the towel for 30 minutes. The day after, I de-sticked the space bar, M, N keys and I was back in business.

  42. Jana says:

    It worked! Yeah!

    My 3yr old spilt water on my MacBook Pro keyboard. I flipped it, blotted it dry and right now it is upside down and open resting on 4 tall glasses suspended over DampRid (a consumer grade desiccant bought at a hardware store for $2.99) and sealed in a plastic bag. It’s up on a high shelf out of reach (in theory). Crossing fingers. Will let you know what happens.

  43. Andre says:

    Ok so 6 days ago i was at work on my computer and the man infront of me spilled a glass of water on my computer. The water spilled infront of me so its towarda the back of my computer and i have the last macbook pro that has the fan under the screen. I dont think too much water got into it. I IMMEDIATLY picked it up and turned it off and its been sitting in rice ever since. I dont know if i should turn it on? Or wait longer? Or take it to the shop? I dont think it got any water on it but im scared to turn it on.
    Any suggestions?
    Please help if you know anything!!

  44. Maria says:

    I spilled a little water on my MacBook Air, lower right hand section of mouse pad. Initially I wiped it, but the left click no longer worked. I found this website and immediately put the laptop upside down with the keyboard and mouse pad on some paper towels. After about 30 minutes left click started working again. THANKS!!

  45. abby says:

    I spilled a good dollop of water on my macbook pro 5 days ago and it immediately cut off. I initially put it in rice and was gonna leave it up to prayer and time but thankfully I found your site within the first hour and did everything you instructed to do. After the 96 hours i let it charge fully and took the fact that the charger was responding to the Mac as a good sign. This morning I woke up and after some heavy duty prayer I went to check on it and it is working beautifully.I am so grateful to god for this little miracle and so thankful to you for all your helpful tips.

  46. Michelle says:

    Oh dear, just spilt a little tea, very weak on right side of my 5 month old Mac book! Wish me luck!

  47. Max says:

    Everyone is talking about water on the keyboard. My keyboard and options are working fine, but my screen thin has rainbow stripes down the middle, and kind of psychedelic swirls on the rest of the screen. Can I get just the screen replaced?

  48. Smile says:


  49. Dgirl Spice says:

    Stupidly, twice in the past, I spilled a hefty amount of water on the keyboard of my mac air (fortunately did have rubber keyboard cover on). Both times there was enough water to drip down the sides and the computer went black within seconds. Both times I embedded the thing entirely in rice (towel-dried & closed, in a shallow pan) and covered it with plastic wrap. Waited a couple of days and both times all seemed to work well (whew). This time (sadly, today), I knocked over my water and about a cups-worth flooded right up to the side, getting all in there good. Tipped the water out, and wiped off all the surface moisture. Again my computer is taking a breather in a rice bath for a while. Here’s hoping I can get lucky a third time with the rice trick which has worked for me in the past. NO MORE DRINKING NEAR COMPUTER FOR ME!

  50. Jana says:

    Edit: No it didn’t. Boo.
    It came back to life and looked wonderful for a few hours but it does not accept power. So it is toast? Genius Bar says it is 1200 to fix.

    May 20, 2015Jana

    It worked! Yeah!

    My 3yr old spilt water on my MacBook Pro keyboard. I flipped it, blotted it dry and right now it is upside down and open resting on 4 tall glasses suspended over DampRid (a consumer grade desiccant bought at a hardware store for $2.99) and sealed in a plastic bag. It’s up on a high shelf out of reach (in theory). Crossing fingers. Will let you know what happens.

    – See more at: http://osxdaily.com/2014/04/13/water-contact-macbook-prevent-liquid-damage/#comment-1221843

  51. Rotimi says:

    So my daughter did a little baptism for my MacBook Air. I freaked out but managed to force a shut-down, the Mac had a mind of its own moments before the shut-down..It was making all kinds of funny noices. I wiped it with a towel and stupidly tried to power it on. Of course it failed to power on. Then I stumbled on this forum using my phone, read the bit about flipping the Mac facedown on a towel…and I did just that but without the fan or rice. I kept on reading the comments on the thread while I waited and my heart broke at the suggestion of a 3 day wait. As I was pondering the fate of my Mac…and pending assignments, I heard the start-up chime and saw the apple insigna lite up…after about 30mins! Yay!!! I did not even have to power it on, it booted on its own!!!! I couldn’t resist the temptation, I checked it and it appeared to be working perfectly fine. Out of an abaundance of caution, I’ve returned it to drying-mode at least for another 6hrs. But I can sleep-easy. Phew!

    • Pablo says:

      You want to dry it out, even if it is working now, let the internal components dry out. Put a fan on it, elevate it upside down like this, so that the air can dry out the liquid or water inside. Any residual water can damage the MacBook even if it is currently working.

  52. Vanessa says:

    Just did the upside down thing after spilling a water bottle on my air. It’s now working!!!!

  53. Anton says:

    I just spilled a glass of water directly on my MacBook Air last Friday night. The water seeped in through the keyboards, and the device automatically shut down. At this point, I realized the power cord was still attached; that was ripped off in my state of panic.

    So I frantically searched articles to revive my poor darling Delores (my MacBook Air) and came across this method. I recreated it and waited. However, I also made an appointment with Apple through the advice of a chat representative.

    The following day, I ventured across the city to the Apple Store. I summarize by saying that they opened it, found oxidization within the internal components, and for my MacBook to ever work again, I would have to send it in to get the logic board replaced ($533).

    I opted to give this method a chance. I mean, what was to lose? It is now Tuesday, and I decided to power my MacBook on.

    It worked. At this time, I can see nothing wrong either.

    Thanks to Paul Horowitz, who shared this article with masses. My life was made infinitely better today.

  54. gs says:

    spilled a tall glass of ice tea directly on my 3 months old macbook pro 2014 keyboard. I was so nervous, I kept turning the laptop upside down without turning it off. I let it dry about 1 or 2 hours until i read this article, than i dried it upside down like you did! (in front of the fan instead on top of it) and of course i realise i have to switch it off. lol. few hours later, i try to switch it on, it works perfectly. guess I was lucky! and i don’t even wait that long to switch it on again cuz I can’t wait to see if its working hee. this is like 3 months after the incident and my macbook still working just fine :) if its sticky it will get off by itself.

    p/s keyboard protector is the best solution to prevent incident like this. it happened to me twice but the 2nd time i had the keyboard protector and never take it off till now! phew!

  55. usa26mileman says:

    My scenario seems different than anything I read. my 4 year old, as near as I can surmise-apparently in a fit upset with me about something, and maybe 5-10 minutes before I discovered, sprayed a fair amount of windex onto the keyboard of my MacBook Pro 17″. I (stupidly unlike the vast majority of smarter users here)-tried to power it up after wiping it down. I wanted to cry-I just got it back from recall (2nd repair in 4 months)-but it was working like factory. In any case, when I wentto power it up (or opened) it was white screen and the fans were very loud. Then it powered off and has been off since. Best Buy suggested the same in terms of rice for keyboard to accelerate drying and waiting at least a week. They suggested the initial white screen may just be because of the short circuit in the early stage. I was hoping because windex has ammonia it would dry quicker? I was told “at least $800” for a repair if it doesn’t work. I didn’t read this in time to use the “flip over” or fan protocol. Mine is open right now with the rice on the Keyboard. I am not sure what good flipping it does>? But putting the entire computer in 5 pounds of rice isn’t necessary -just don’t see what it helps.

  56. moudji says:

    My 2 yrs old knocked 1/4 glass of water on my mac book air keyboard, i quickly dried all external surfaces but the machine died out soon after. So i flipped it upside down to dry out and shelved it away for a good 10 days. Next time i turned it on, it worked perfect

  57. kate mayes says:

    I have a repaired macbook air A1466 after liquid damage but i need to have the liquid indicators white again. I tried bleach, no luck. How can i change the 2 indicators on the SSD back to white or how do i replace the indicators?
    Im desperate guys!

  58. Greg says:

    IT WORKED! Used blow dryer instead of fan as we did not have and it worked. Blow dried with inverted keyboard as per instructions. Kept blow drier at good distance so not to damage components with heat. Tapped while blow drying to displace any residual water from spill. After about four hours of drying to trying to plug in, finally got a charging light. When light went green, it turned on. KEEPING IT ON FLAT SURFACE (TABLE) THAT IT TURNED BACK ON-ON FOR 48 HOURS to ensure any residual water if any evaporates before moving computer. THANKS FOR THE CONFIDENCE in patience to get through this.

  59. Jen says:

    Thank you! Thank you! The fan worked!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. Michele says:

    Spilled milk on my macbook pro, I turned it off, upside down and tried to suck the liquid with a vacuum cleaner, waited something about 32 hours to turn it on again. It is working but some keys are really hard to press. (G, F, V, fn, and B) also, my trackpad is really hard to press and it doesn’t “click” when I try to, although it is working. .. should I take it to an apple store? do you know if they charge a lot just to take a look at it?

  61. Mi Segundo says:

    So I’ve spilled green tea and water a few times before on my macbook air 13′. I acted very quickly and turned it upside down imedietly and turned off the laptop. I left it to dry for a few hours then checked the keyboard and worked perfectly fine.

    The problem is this time it was a coffe with milk and some sugar and I took the same procedure and it seems to work perfectly fine and left it to dry for a while. But I’m very scared it will stop working because of the sugar or that this will corrode my computer. What should I do?

    • Patrick says:

      I have the same problem, coffee, it turned on after 24 hrs, but then shut down after a few hours and now won’t turn back on…any suggestions.

      How is yours.

  62. Fan of Paul H says:

    Wow, this is AMAZING! My MacBook appears to be back in commission after the screen blanked out yesterday, and i decided to try the Step 6 technique to resurrect. THANK YOU for sharing the technique so clearly!

  63. Patrick says:

    I have the same problem, coffee, it turned on after 24 hrs, but then shut down after a few hours and now won’t turn back on…any suggestions.

  64. Jas says:

    I’ve been a very happy Mac user since 2003, and had no idea the trackpad is so sensitive. I watched a 2 hr 48 min movie on my MacBook Pro yesterday evening, and realised at the end of it that a tear (or two) had probably spilt onto the trackpad. The cursor was erratic and the trackpad rather unresponsive. I wiped the trackpad dry though it wasn’t wet, and later used a hair dryer for a couple of minutes. I didn’t switch off the Mac until about an hour or two later, as the drying initially seemed to have helped. I figured a nights sleep would do wonders but the problems persisted and working with an old mouse and external keyboard didn’t help either. Fanning didn’t seem to help either. That is when I came across this post. I have followed all instructions, beginning with the advice to switch off and disconnect from power, then flip.

    While fanning I started wondering if my laptop might have contracted a virus (it was an online movie)… But since it was really a trackpad issue and I did cry several times over the course of atleast 1,5 hrs of the movie, I’m inclined to believe that was the reason.

    If there’s anything you can think of that might be helpful, do please let me know. I literally bought the Mac with my only savings. I also need to travel to a dangerous city in Asia for my work for 1 month in just 6 weeks time, and am really wondering if its a good idea to travel with my MacBook Pro given it seems so sensitive. I had no issues whatsoever with my iBook that I used for 7 yrs and took into the field with me.

  65. deniz says:

    I have spilled one glass of water on my macbook pro retina about a week ago. It works fine now and there isn’t any difference at all. I just put 3 large bags of silica gel on and above the keyboard area and put it in a bag for 48 hours. Of course, I cleaned all of the water before doing that by holding it upside down for one day. I observed that silica gels are able to absorb all of the moisture if you put the computer in a closed system.

    I read so many stories and advices, but from by experience putting silica gels on the keyboard area is the best way to get rid of all of the water. The only problem was some of them stuck in the gap where the screen and keyboard connects, but it was easy to remove them with the help of a stick.

  66. Traci Rand says:

    My daughter spilled about an 8 ounce cup of water on my MacBook Pro… pretty much the keyboard and trackpad was doused. Acting on instinct at the time, I flipped it over, dried it down with a shamwow while holding upside down, rested it upside down on lots of paper towels, then found this site! Set it up on a metal woven fruit basket with a fan underneath (no towel) about 4 inches away, for 3 days. Turned it on this morning, worked perfectly! BUT…. because I have a couple of iMac’s as well, I decided to shut it down and put it back on the fan for a couple more days….. just in case!

  67. Molly says:

    Rice. My savior. My new bae. My everything. About a year ago now I spilled a whole freshly poured glass of rosé directly onto my keyboard and some on my screen. Life was over as I knew it. I didn’t know what to do except the old rice trick. I dried up all the wine I could see with a towel and decided to put it in some rice. I grabbed a garbage bag and put a whole bag of rice in it. I set my computer up like a teepee inside the bag. I sealed it and prayed. Four days later I opened it and tried to start it. IT WORKED!!!!! It was the most magical moment. The same thing just happened to my room mate tonight but I’m not sure she can stand four days to try to turn it on… We will see. I will let you kneow!

  68. Taylor says:

    THANKING THE MAC GODS. (they were obviously looking out for me) Let me tell ya, this has been the most nerve wracking 48 hours I have ever experienced. Read on if you are in a crisis & hopefully this can help you!
    Saturday night, I was casually drinking with one of my friends at his house while we were hanging out, & I had decided to bring over some homework (including my MacBook Air) to finish up a couple things for school while he was watching the game on tv. By this point, I had a little head buzz, and was also drinking a water bottle profusely. I had my MacBook in my lap & somehow it just kind of fell out of my hands (probably due to alcohol intake) and about half of it poured out all over my keyboard point blank. I PANICKED. i immediately got a towel & started to sop up the water that was at a stand still on the keys & whenever it occurred to me that I needed to shut the computer down it had already flickered off! I FREAKED. I continued to try to get off any water that was in sight, after that I tried to plug it in (DON’T DO THIS BTW) (you could electrocute yourself/and or cause a power shortage) anyways, the battery light didn’t come on. So, I’m still panicking. I thought there was no hope. I immediately got on google and started tires search what I could possibly do. But, with that being said you need to ACT QUICKLY! I knew that I need to prop the computer up to where the keyboard was facing downward so any any remaining liquid could possibly drip out/and it wouldn’t come into contact with the logic board. I REALLY believe that this saved me in the end. You NEED to flip the computer over ASAP to make sure the liquid doesn’t get further into the system. Anyways, I left it propped up for about 2 hours until I left. I got home & then immediately propped it up again and user the hair dryer on the COOL SETTING to dry the keys. I did that for about 15 minutes and then propped it up on the side of my night stand over night. I made sure my room was stayed cool with cold air flowing through my room all night. (Fan on high & ac set to 72 degrees) You want to AVOID humidity at all costs when trying to air out the computer. I left it like this (upside down) for the entire day and would periodically blow dry it over and over. Left it in the propped up position for ANOTHER night and then VERY nervously decided to start it this morning. I plugged in the charging cable and the start up screen CAME ON!!!!!! IT WOKRED!!!!!! No damage and is working perfectly. The biggest thing about this & what I think truly saved it was giving it time, the blow dryer and leaving it propped up (keyboard facing down).
    I hope this can help someone, & remember to move QUICKLY!
    Xoxo – happy saving your Mac!

    • Paul says:

      Glad to hear you saved your Mac from liquid damage! Be sure it’s completely dry before booting it up or turning it on again, all liquid must dry out, which can take a few days if water or liquid got through the keyboard or into the enclosure of the MacBook.

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