How to Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop on Your Own in 2023

This article will teach you how to fix a water damaged Dell Laptop. Keep in mind that the solution mentioned below will in no way guarantee that your laptop will work 100%. 

If the steps mentioned below work, but there’s still significant water damage to the laptops internal components, then it’s best to take the device to an authorized service center.

Let’s Begin!

10 Steps to Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop

Step 1 — Power Off the Laptop and remove the power cable

Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop

The first step to fixing a water damaged Dell laptop is to turn off the power and unplug the power cable from the laptop.It is important that you power down your Dell laptop immediately after spilling water on it as this can save the internal circuit boards from shorting out.

  • Press on the power button for 10-15 seconds to turn off the Dell laptop and then carefully remove the power cable from the side of the laptop.

Step 2 — Wipe away residual liquid

Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop

The next step involves wiping the laptop with a soft microfiber cloth to minimize the chances of water droplets entering the laptop. 

Generally water droplets have easy access to the internal circuitry via the keyboard and vents on the laptop. 

Wiping droplets from there will reduce the chances of severe damage and you just might be able to save the Dell laptop.

Step 3 — Remove the jacks and USB drive

Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop

Since most of the new models of Dell laptops have concealed batteries, you will not be able to easily remove the battery. Instead, start unplugging any USB drives or audio jacks that are currently plugged into your Dell laptop.

With a microfiber cloth, gently wipe the jacks and ports of the laptop to try and remove as much water as possible.

Step 4 — Flip the Dell laptop over and unscrew the case

Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop

Now that you have managed to remove the excess water droplets from the exterior of the Dell laptop, it’s important that you check the inside of the device to see if there’s any significant internal water damage.

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Flip the laptop over and carefully remove all 10 screws from the under-side of the laptop using a Phillips star head screwdriver. 

Remember where each screw goes as the  three screws near the vent of the laptop are long and won’t fit in any other screw holes. So be careful when removing the screws and try not to lose any.

To lift up the case at the back of the laptop after removing the screws, use a plastic wedge and pry open the panel gently. You will hear clicks as you try lifting the panel, and this is ok because there are micro locks that help keep the panel in place.

Step 5 — Remove hardware and other components

Fix a Water Damaged Dell Laptop

Now that you are inside the laptop, gently wipe down the panel and get rid of the remaining water droplets. 

Next, with a microfiber cloth gently remove any droplets of water on the hardware and circuitry. If you’re able to, extract the removable components from inside the Dell laptop such as the hard disc and RAM.

Step 6 — Dry them using a microfiber cloth

Now that you have been able to take out your Dell laptop hard disc and RAM, wipe them down with a microfiber cloth and make sure that the sockets and terminals are free from water.

You can also use compressed air to blow dry the laptop and get rid of any dust particles and other non-water related residues left behind on the inside of the Dell laptop.

Step 7 — Leave the laptop to dry for 24 hours

If you’re sure that you have been able to get rid of all the residual water from both the inside and outside of the Dell laptop, leave the unit out to dry for up to 24 hours without reconnecting any of the hardware you took out.

  • You can use a dehumidifier in the room to shorten the drying time or you can also consider storing your laptop in a dark and warm place during this time frame.
  • Whatever you do, do not use a hair dryer as the heat that comes off the hair dryer is more than enough to loosen or damage the internal components of the Dell laptop. While using a hair dryer might sound sensible, it can actually lead to much more complicated issues that may require professional attention.

Step 8 — Reattach the internal components and close the laptop

Once you have left the laptop to dry for over 24-36 hours, proceed to re-attach all the internal components such as the hard disc and the RAM.

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When everything is in place, attach the rear panel of the Dell laptop and begin screwing in the ten screws you took out in step 4. Make sure to use the right size screws when fixing the Dell laptop and do not try to force a screw into the hole.

Step 9 — Dry the remaining droplets (if necessary)

Now this step may not be necessary for everyone, but there are chances that you would have missed out on a couple of water droplets and you have only just noticed them. 

Take the microfiber cloth and make sure to dab any droplets of water that are left on the exterior of your Dell laptop such as the keys or around the ports and power socket.

Step 10 — Turn on the Laptop

If you’re completely happy, proceed to turn on the laptop and wait for a couple of seconds. If there’s no significant damage to the Dell laptop, it  will power up with ease. 

However, there are some times where you may face some additional issues or problems with the device such as distortions in the display or the sound. 

In this case, it’s advisable to take the Dell laptop to the nearest service center or to a laptop professional you’re familiar with to fix the display and/or the speakers.

Things You’ll Need

Do’s & Dont’s

  • Do not power on the Dell laptop when wet – Turning on your Dell laptop when it’s wet can result in the laptop short circuiting or damaging the internal components.
  • Do not shake the laptop when wet – Shaking the Dell laptop after water falls on it is a seriously bad idea as the water droplets will easily move into harder to reach areas of the Dell , making it difficult to clean. It can also lead to more damage which means you’d have to spend more to get the device fixed.
  • Do use a soft microfiber cloth – Always use a soft microfiber cloth while cleaning your Dell laptop. This is important because microfiber material does not leave behind fibers and won’t add to the static build-up within the Dell . 
  • Do ensure that the laptop is not plugged into the power source – Plugging your Dell laptop into a power source when it’s still wet is a bad idea and can cause the Dell  to short circuit and result in either a fire or will render the Dell  entirely useless and unfixable.

Helpful Tips

  • Check YouTube for advanced tutorials – If this is the first time you’re experiencing something like this and you’re skeptical about opening the Dell laptop, refer to some YouTube tutorials for an in-depth understanding of the topic.
  • Take a video of the disassembly – An easy way for you to remember where what goes is to record a video of you disassembling the Dell. This video will help you remember where which screw goes and will also help you keep note of what components have been removed from the Dell .
  • Try facing a fan at the keyboard – Facing a fan at the keys on the laptop  for a couple of hours will help evaporate any residual water droplets that are left underneath the keys.
  • Backup your data – If you fear that your data will get corrupted, create a backup of your Dell laptop before resetting or formatting it. This way, once your device has been fixed and if it has been restored to factory settings, you can copy your data back onto the Dell without losing any important files.
  • Buy a waterproof cover for the keyboard – There are many waterproof keyboard covers available in the market which can protect your Dell laptop keyboard from liquid spills.
  • Purchase accidental spill insurance/warranty – Some manufacturers provide accidental spill insurance and warranty on their laptops. Purchasing this warranty will protect your laptop in case you accidentally spill water or other liquid on the device. Only those with this warranty will be eligible to receive service on their water damaged device without paying a premium.
  • Work under a bright light and not in the dark – It is recommended that you work under a bright light and not in a dimly lit setting. The brighter the room, the easier it will be to see what you’re doing and you won’t accidentally touch or damage components within the laptop.
  • Wear rubber footwear to keep you grounded – Since laptops run on electricity, there will be significant static build up within the laptop. Wear rubber footwear and if possible a pair of rubber gloves to prevent you from getting a shock or facing static discharge from the laptop.

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