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.



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.