MacBook Scuba: What To Do When Your MacBook Gets Wet

MacBook Scuba-1.jpg

A few days ago I received a panicked call from my sister about her MacBook. She left her white MacBook on a table overnight, lid closed with no AC power, next to a vase of flowers. While sleeping, the cat knocked over the vase right on top of the MacBook which then slowly drained water on it over the course of the night.

Before she called me she had opened it, plugged it in, and tried to boot it up to no avail. Arrg. That, by the way, is the very last thing you should do with anything that is electronic and wet.

Anyway, this is my big sister and I am indebted to her for life.* So I did a bit of online research and called out to my Twitter friends and put together the following MacBook Scuba plan:

What to do When Your MacBook Gets Wet:

 

1. Get the Mac Out of the Water.

Obvious.

 

2. Don’t Turn it On.

When your Mac is freshly bathed, the very last thing you want to do is add electricity.

 

3. Get the Water off, Carefully.

Use gravity, or absorbent towels. Do not, in the process of brushing water off your Mac, push it into areas where it can get inside the machine, like the keyboard, joints, vents, or other ports.

 

4. Remove Whatever Parts You Can.

Remove the battery. If you are so technically inclined, pull out the hard drive and any other peripherals you may have.

 

5. Tilt Up.

Turn your Mac Book on its edge slightly open and stand it up, like a teepee, on some thick towels. Let gravity help you out. Leave it this way a very long time. Hours.

 

6. Evaporate.

Put the Mac in a sealable container with something that will suck all the moisture out of the air. Cat litter and uncooked rice are two popular choices. Make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t introduce Cat litter inside the machine. Do this at least overnight.

 

7. Wait.

No matter how tempting, wait two days.

 

8. The Moment of Truth.

Plug it in and see what happens.

So, following the above steps, my sister’s MacBook has survived the big spill of 2009 and seems to be working fine except for the battery, that is a complete loss.

As a an aside, I would like to thank all of my Twitter friends for suggestions as to exactly what should be done with the cat. As a dog person, they all made me smile.

Also, don’t forget, there is insurance for these kinds of problems. You may also want to check with your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to see if they cover it. Sadly, mine doesn’t.

* Why indebted for life you may ask? In addition to many other acts of kindness, in 1980 I was 12 years old and my big sister bought me a pair of Nike tennis shoes. Before that, K-Mart was my cobbler of choice. I thought I was so cool in those shoes. I actually think I increased my jumping height by about 12 feet when wearing them. In fact, I wore the hell out of those shoes. I wore them until there was no sole left on the bottom, Fred Flintstone style. Then I still wore them a bit longer.

23 Comments MacBook Scuba: What To Do When Your MacBook Gets Wet

  1. mzlin2u@yahoo.com

    Sounds a lot like my story. My 85-year-old mother, unbeknownst to me, accidentally spilled a glass of wine near where my MacBook was sitting on the kitchen island. Not thinking she had done any harm she wiped the case off and failed to mention the accident. Next time I tried to operate the computer off of the battery, nothing. Wouldn’t take a charge, wouldn’t come on with just the battery, etc. Operated fine plugged in, just not on the battery. The folks at the Apple Store and the online CSRs are THE nicest people in the world. Since I have Apple Care I was sent a replacement battery free of charge (I didn’t even have to pay the postage) two times. Nada. Took the ‘puter to The Apple Store and the guy there at the Genius Bar told me after keeping the computer for a few days that he’d have to send it away because the problem was out of his league. Okie dokie. Lady called me a few days later telling me there was something inside that looked like grape juice. My first thought (and comment) was that we don’t even buy grape juice. She said that this had all the appearances of an accident and that Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents, which I already knew. I asked if she could just return the computer in the state it was in when she got it and she did so. Soon it dawned on me – I had found little tiny glass shards on the kitchen floor a couple of weeks back. Hmmmm. Asked Mom about the glass shards and she said oh, yeah, she’d turned over a glass of red wine on the granite countertop and the glass had broken into smithereens. I didn’t say a word but learned not to leave the computer on the countertop. Got the computer back and reconciled myself to having to use the duckhead all the time. No REAL problem except when I take it to the beach, where I use the free WiFi. So . . . about 3 weeks later for some reason I decided to put the old battery back in. You have to return the old one in order to keep the new battery free, and since it didn’t work either I just kept the old one and returned the new ones. Battery power worked like a charm. This was in about April 2009 I think. Now it’s late July. Computer has run fine both on the battery or plugged in ever since I tried it again. I still have no idea what made me decide to try it, but maybe the same thing will be true with your sister’s ‘puter. As small a problem as it seemed to just use the plug, it’s amazing to me now how often I do use the battery only.

    Reply
  2. mzlin2u@yahoo.com

    Sounds a lot like my story. My 85-year-old mother, unbeknownst to me, accidentally spilled a glass of wine near where my MacBook was sitting on the kitchen island. Not thinking she had done any harm she wiped the case off and failed to mention the accident. Next time I tried to operate the computer off of the battery, nothing. Wouldn’t take a charge, wouldn’t come on with just the battery, etc. Operated fine plugged in, just not on the battery. The folks at the Apple Store and the online CSRs are THE nicest people in the world. Since I have Apple Care I was sent a replacement battery free of charge (I didn’t even have to pay the postage) two times. Nada. Took the ‘puter to The Apple Store and the guy there at the Genius Bar told me after keeping the computer for a few days that he’d have to send it away because the problem was out of his league. Okie dokie. Lady called me a few days later telling me there was something inside that looked like grape juice. My first thought (and comment) was that we don’t even buy grape juice. She said that this had all the appearances of an accident and that Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents, which I already knew. I asked if she could just return the computer in the state it was in when she got it and she did so. Soon it dawned on me – I had found little tiny glass shards on the kitchen floor a couple of weeks back. Hmmmm. Asked Mom about the glass shards and she said oh, yeah, she’d turned over a glass of red wine on the granite countertop and the glass had broken into smithereens. I didn’t say a word but learned not to leave the computer on the countertop. Got the computer back and reconciled myself to having to use the duckhead all the time. No REAL problem except when I take it to the beach, where I use the free WiFi. So . . . about 3 weeks later for some reason I decided to put the old battery back in. You have to return the old one in order to keep the new battery free, and since it didn’t work either I just kept the old one and returned the new ones. Battery power worked like a charm. This was in about April 2009 I think. Now it’s late July. Computer has run fine both on the battery or plugged in ever since I tried it again. I still have no idea what made me decide to try it, but maybe the same thing will be true with your sister’s ‘puter. As small a problem as it seemed to just use the plug, it’s amazing to me now how often I do use the battery only.

    Reply
  3. mzlin2u@yahoo.com

    Sounds a lot like my story. My 85-year-old mother, unbeknownst to me, accidentally spilled a glass of wine near where my MacBook was sitting on the kitchen island. Not thinking she had done any harm she wiped the case off and failed to mention the accident. Next time I tried to operate the computer off of the battery, nothing. Wouldn’t take a charge, wouldn’t come on with just the battery, etc. Operated fine plugged in, just not on the battery. The folks at the Apple Store and the online CSRs are THE nicest people in the world. Since I have Apple Care I was sent a replacement battery free of charge (I didn’t even have to pay the postage) two times. Nada. Took the ‘puter to The Apple Store and the guy there at the Genius Bar told me after keeping the computer for a few days that he’d have to send it away because the problem was out of his league. Okie dokie. Lady called me a few days later telling me there was something inside that looked like grape juice. My first thought (and comment) was that we don’t even buy grape juice. She said that this had all the appearances of an accident and that Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents, which I already knew. I asked if she could just return the computer in the state it was in when she got it and she did so. Soon it dawned on me – I had found little tiny glass shards on the kitchen floor a couple of weeks back. Hmmmm. Asked Mom about the glass shards and she said oh, yeah, she’d turned over a glass of red wine on the granite countertop and the glass had broken into smithereens. I didn’t say a word but learned not to leave the computer on the countertop. Got the computer back and reconciled myself to having to use the duckhead all the time. No REAL problem except when I take it to the beach, where I use the free WiFi. So . . . about 3 weeks later for some reason I decided to put the old battery back in. You have to return the old one in order to keep the new battery free, and since it didn’t work either I just kept the old one and returned the new ones. Battery power worked like a charm. This was in about April 2009 I think. Now it’s late July. Computer has run fine both on the battery or plugged in ever since I tried it again. I still have no idea what made me decide to try it, but maybe the same thing will be true with your sister’s ‘puter. As small a problem as it seemed to just use the plug, it’s amazing to me now how often I do use the battery only.

    Reply
  4. mzlin2u@yahoo.com

    Sounds a lot like my story. My 85-year-old mother, unbeknownst to me, accidentally spilled a glass of wine near where my MacBook was sitting on the kitchen island. Not thinking she had done any harm she wiped the case off and failed to mention the accident. Next time I tried to operate the computer off of the battery, nothing. Wouldn’t take a charge, wouldn’t come on with just the battery, etc. Operated fine plugged in, just not on the battery. The folks at the Apple Store and the online CSRs are THE nicest people in the world. Since I have Apple Care I was sent a replacement battery free of charge (I didn’t even have to pay the postage) two times. Nada. Took the ‘puter to The Apple Store and the guy there at the Genius Bar told me after keeping the computer for a few days that he’d have to send it away because the problem was out of his league. Okie dokie. Lady called me a few days later telling me there was something inside that looked like grape juice. My first thought (and comment) was that we don’t even buy grape juice. She said that this had all the appearances of an accident and that Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents, which I already knew. I asked if she could just return the computer in the state it was in when she got it and she did so. Soon it dawned on me – I had found little tiny glass shards on the kitchen floor a couple of weeks back. Hmmmm. Asked Mom about the glass shards and she said oh, yeah, she’d turned over a glass of red wine on the granite countertop and the glass had broken into smithereens. I didn’t say a word but learned not to leave the computer on the countertop. Got the computer back and reconciled myself to having to use the duckhead all the time. No REAL problem except when I take it to the beach, where I use the free WiFi. So . . . about 3 weeks later for some reason I decided to put the old battery back in. You have to return the old one in order to keep the new battery free, and since it didn’t work either I just kept the old one and returned the new ones. Battery power worked like a charm. This was in about April 2009 I think. Now it’s late July. Computer has run fine both on the battery or plugged in ever since I tried it again. I still have no idea what made me decide to try it, but maybe the same thing will be true with your sister’s ‘puter. As small a problem as it seemed to just use the plug, it’s amazing to me now how often I do use the battery only.

    Reply
  5. mzlin2u@yahoo.com

    Sounds a lot like my story. My 85-year-old mother, unbeknownst to me, accidentally spilled a glass of wine near where my MacBook was sitting on the kitchen island. Not thinking she had done any harm she wiped the case off and failed to mention the accident. Next time I tried to operate the computer off of the battery, nothing. Wouldn’t take a charge, wouldn’t come on with just the battery, etc. Operated fine plugged in, just not on the battery. The folks at the Apple Store and the online CSRs are THE nicest people in the world. Since I have Apple Care I was sent a replacement battery free of charge (I didn’t even have to pay the postage) two times. Nada. Took the ‘puter to The Apple Store and the guy there at the Genius Bar told me after keeping the computer for a few days that he’d have to send it away because the problem was out of his league. Okie dokie. Lady called me a few days later telling me there was something inside that looked like grape juice. My first thought (and comment) was that we don’t even buy grape juice. She said that this had all the appearances of an accident and that Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents, which I already knew. I asked if she could just return the computer in the state it was in when she got it and she did so. Soon it dawned on me – I had found little tiny glass shards on the kitchen floor a couple of weeks back. Hmmmm. Asked Mom about the glass shards and she said oh, yeah, she’d turned over a glass of red wine on the granite countertop and the glass had broken into smithereens. I didn’t say a word but learned not to leave the computer on the countertop. Got the computer back and reconciled myself to having to use the duckhead all the time. No REAL problem except when I take it to the beach, where I use the free WiFi. So . . . about 3 weeks later for some reason I decided to put the old battery back in. You have to return the old one in order to keep the new battery free, and since it didn’t work either I just kept the old one and returned the new ones. Battery power worked like a charm. This was in about April 2009 I think. Now it’s late July. Computer has run fine both on the battery or plugged in ever since I tried it again. I still have no idea what made me decide to try it, but maybe the same thing will be true with your sister’s ‘puter. As small a problem as it seemed to just use the plug, it’s amazing to me now how often I do use the battery only.

    Reply
  6. Katie

    I just wanted to say thank you so much! Your article totally worked! With the exception of a few of my keys (which seem to be slowly coming back as we speak!) everything is working great on my mac, despite the fact that it got a whole cup of water split on it. The only step i skipped was the step that required me to take out my battery and what not-since i have a macbook pro everything is screwed into the bottom and, alas, unreachable.
    Again, thank you!!!

    Reply
  7. Pema

    I just got m’y mac book pro wet from thΓ© backside. I tried to turner on but it failed after tying twice. I havΓ© read thΓ© above story. now wat shall i do? I CANn’y take out the battery… It all screwed ?????? Help me:(

    Reply
  8. boowilson922@gmail.com

    I just found out that my kids spilled some sort of juice into the keyboard. Everything seemed alright, but know my whole bottom row of keys (plus some of them up in the top) are not working. Any idea’s on what to do here? Idea’s would be greatly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
  9. boowilson922@gmail.com

    I just found out that my kids spilled some sort of juice into the keyboard. Everything seemed alright, but know my whole bottom row of keys (plus some of them up in the top) are not working. Any idea’s on what to do here? Idea’s would be greatly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
  10. boowilson922@gmail.com

    I just found out that my kids spilled some sort of juice into the keyboard. Everything seemed alright, but know my whole bottom row of keys (plus some of them up in the top) are not working. Any idea’s on what to do here? Idea’s would be greatly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
  11. boowilson922@gmail.com

    I just found out that my kids spilled some sort of juice into the keyboard. Everything seemed alright, but know my whole bottom row of keys (plus some of them up in the top) are not working. Any idea’s on what to do here? Idea’s would be greatly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
  12. boowilson922@gmail.com

    I just found out that my kids spilled some sort of juice into the keyboard. Everything seemed alright, but know my whole bottom row of keys (plus some of them up in the top) are not working. Any idea’s on what to do here? Idea’s would be greatly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
  13. shower power

    ok so i went into the bathroom because someone calling me. i had just been dowstairs with my macbook pro and when i went in i slipped and my mac fell; hit the tile floor dented and fell right into the running water shower. i got it cleaned it off and the only signs of dammage is a dent on the side. do i still have to follow this. im so scared to plug it into the battery. please help.

    Reply
  14. skipperox092395@gmail.com

    One of my friends spilled soda on my computer. It went into the keys, and it won't turn on. Any ideas?

    Reply
  15. skipperox092395@gmail.com

    One of my friends spilled soda on my computer. It went into the keys, and it won't turn on. Any ideas?

    Reply
  16. skipperox092395@gmail.com

    One of my friends spilled soda on my computer. It went into the keys, and it won't turn on. Any ideas?

    Reply
  17. skipperox092395@gmail.com

    One of my friends spilled soda on my computer. It went into the keys, and it won't turn on. Any ideas?

    Reply
  18. skipperox092395@gmail.com

    One of my friends spilled soda on my computer. It went into the keys, and it won't turn on. Any ideas?

    Reply

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