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I live in fear of a spill happening near my precious computer. All it takes is a cup of hot coffee, sticky soda, or even water to render my keyboard useless.

But the truth is, if you act fast and you're lucky, your keyboard can be salvaged. Here's how to do it.

1. Shut off or unplug the computer. If the keyboard is a separate device, disconnect it from the computer immediately.

2. Turn the unit upside down so that it can drain. Do this before running off to find paper towels or some other absorbent cleanup aid.

3. Pat dry every accessible surface with paper towels, paper napkins ... heck, use your shirt if you have to. If only plain water was spilled, just leave the keyboard to dry. If you spilled something hot and sticky, however, you'll have more work to do.

4. If it's a laptop, remove the battery.

5. Do not rinse your laptop. Just let it dry out. As for computer keyboards that have been disconnected from a desktop computer, prepare to be shocked: not only can they be hand washed, some say you can even put computer keyboards through the dishwasher. Just be certain your device is 100% dry before reconnecting it.

6. Laptops need to be cleaned the slow way. Same goes for computer keyboards if you don't want to risk the water-rinsing method. Gently pop off the keys one-by-one using a flat-head screwdriver for gentle leverage. Using cotton swabs or a toothbrush, clean the exposed surface with isopropyl alcohol.

7. If anything sticky made it inside the laptop, an internal cleanup will be required.
If you're not a techie, play it safe and call an expert for help. In the meantime, keep your laptop upside down or tilted in a warm, sunny location or near a heat source.

Tip: Never use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process; static damage could result. Also, in the case of a bad spill, the incoming blast of hot air could actually drive the mess further into the machine.

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  • jbjg24m

    don't have this to worry about. if i need something to drink , i go to the kitchen and drink it there . never drink anything around a pc ! just being safe

  • wangfeinaerw

    Just let it dry out. As for computer keyboards that have been disconnected from a desktop computer, prepare to be shocked: not only can they be hand washed, some say you can even put computer keyboards through the dishwasher. Just be certain your device is 100% dry before reconnecting it.My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He is eight years older than me, lol. We met online at a nice and free place for younger women and older men, or older women and younger men, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

  • Julia

    Absolutely! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  • Nat

    Totally agree with you 100%! It's much easier just to not drink liquids by the computer then to deal with the mess it turns out to be in the end. Just try to avoid the hassle in anyway possible.

  • cdm

    An important fact that this article fails to mention is how difficult it is to reattach a laptop key. There are two very delicate plastic clips that hold the laptop key in place and they have to be aligned just right. I've been trying for the past two weeks to reattach my laptop key. Every time I think I've got it right, one of the pieces slips. Right now I'm using a small piece of duct tape to hold the key in place. Try gently holding up each side of the sticky laptop key with a small Flathead screwdriver or your fingernail and use a cotton swab and the alcohol to clean under the key-without popping off the key. Pulling most of the cotton off the end of the swab helps it go under the key easier.

  • cindy

    I just replaced a keyboard because I had used it without the "n", the dog chewed off last July. Eventually, the plastic tears off & you are rendered helpless; unless you "PASTE". Just got this back today -- what a relief! Worth every penny the keyboard cost!

  • petsaverannette

    nothing helped my keyboard when cat threw-up on it.....

  • Beverly

    I have spilled coffee on my key board. dang it!
    Well now I cover the key board with saran wrap! The cling type.Its easy to use. easy to change. and my key board is now safe.

  • robert robbins

    Better yet, run to store and buy new one for less than $20.00

  • Jackie

    hahaha. Seriously. If it came down to popping every key off, I think I might have to say: "forget it." Who would bother?

  • LC

    LOL!!! That was good!

  • steve

    Keyboards for a desktop are so cheap, I can't even imagine taking the time to try and dry and clean it!

  • Tom

    Why spend the time trying to clean up a spill on a keyboard? I just bought a new keyboard for all of $6. My time is worth more than that!

  • Linda

    Spilled ice tea on my keyboard once. Turned it upside down and let it drain...Left it upside down for a couple of days to dry out and then reattached it to the computer. All the keys worked except one....Since I couldn't use that one Key ( the L) desided to get a new one....It works great...So I don't have any drinkis near it now.

  • Tom

    Could someone please tell me how to clean my plasma screen?

  • sscyril

    Did anyone ever reply to you? All I was told was 'use a feather duster' but am sure there must be more than that. Thanks, sscyril

  • Bud Maxwell

    Hey, Tom,
    I bought a small portable DvD player to amuse myself while wife went shopping, (sometimes for many hours), and it came with a small bottle of screen cleaner which I also use to clean my PC screem It works great, leaves no streaks, and dries immediately. Just plain alcohol, I believe, and it might solve your problem. Best of luck to you.

  • allen musicant

    I found a product called clean screen at a computer electronics show and it works fine. Have not had to buy it again so not sure where to purchase it.

  • Helpful hint

    What an A_HOLE that guy is,use comet. I guess he thinks he is a comedian. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I, like the other reader purchased a bottle of screen cleaner at the big name electronics store when I bought my TV.

  • mik

    90 % Isopropyl alcohol and lintless cloth or towel.

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