I remember Joel mentioning it on a the stackoverflow podcast that you could wash a laptop under a tap.

Has anyone done this? Is there not parts that would just rust up when drying the laptop?

  • 2
    I put my laptop in the dishwasher once a week! :rolleyes:
    – Zaagmans
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 11:44

6 Answers 6


I've seen demonstrations of similar things. Nobody washing their laptop, but somebody actually rescuing it from rain or submersion. Instead of just sitting it out, they immediately removed the battery, and turned the laptop on its side to allow all fluids to drain out. After a couple days, re-insert the battery and they were up and running.

I cannot vouch that this will be the case for everybody else on just any laptop. Each case would be unique.

  • 11
    I've spilled tea on a laptop before and removing the battery quickly is most likely the critical step. I would recommend not even bothering to power down correctly, just pop the battery out.
    – user916
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 12:35
  • 3
    If you get something other than water in it, rinse it with water, after taking out the battery. Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 5:02
  • Same with one of our laptops and a glass of red wine poured over it - removed battery, dried it out and left it for a couple of days. Good as new, although the screen was still a little blurry from all the alcohol.
    – Kez
    Commented Sep 11, 2009 at 7:30
  • I poured orange juice over my old one: removing the battery for 2 days did the trick, but I had to change the keyboard later on, because it was too sticky and I didn't manage to clean it.
    – o0'.
    Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 9:22

No. Oy vey. Not for washing.

If your laptop falls in the toilet, or you spill coke all over it, or you leave it out on the rain, here's the best advice for trying to salvage it.

  1. Immediately remove battery and AC power.
  2. Rinse anything that got dirty with clean water, or, if available, distilled or purified water
  3. Soak up as much of the water as possible with paper towels
  4. Let it dry for a REALLY LONG TIME. Like, a week or even two weeks.

This is NOT a recommended procedure, just something to do in an emergency if you've dumped your milkshake inside your laptop, right on the motherboard, to improve the chances that it survives.

Some modern laptops are somewhat spill-proof in the sense that they are actually designed to drain spilled coffee through channels beneath the keyboard.

I have heard from Leo Laporte that he regularly puts keyboards through the dishwasher. Keyboards are ten bucks so there's not much to risk here. Two key points: do not put anything else in the dishwasher, do not, for the love of god, use soap, and let them dry for TWO WEEKS.

  • Speaking from personal experience, never ever let any electronics devices near sea water... I managed to destroy my cell phone when I dropped it by the seashore.
    – alex
    Commented Sep 11, 2009 at 5:57

Was Joel's a Thinkpad?

More related to spillage, rather than deliberate washing, but Thinkpads have a drip tray under the keyboard which drains through to a couple of dedicated holes on the underside of the machine. They are labelled with a little waterdrop+keyboard icon, too.

I'm not about to test whether this will disperse liquids rapidly enough to wash under a tap, though!


I have a $1400 laptop so, common sense would say not to risk it. BUT . . . once a month, I remove the battery and the memory and toss it in the dishwasher without soap. After the wash, I set it on it's cooling fan base, set up a hair dryer to blow into it, and let it sit for 2 hours. Pop the memory and the battery back in and PRESTO! I have a clean, perfectly working gaming laptop. If you're wondering how, it's simple: The hair dryer induces quick drying. But to keep from causing heat damage inside, you put the cooling fan underneath to draw out the heated air. Hair dryer + cooling fan = hot air flowing through the laptop (a lot like the fan in your car) and drying it before anything that can rust, does rust. Maybe not worth the risk to some of you, but it can be done.

  • 6
    if this is true, you are crazy Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 9:01

You would need to dry it for several days and in a way where the water has a way out. It would probably be best to take the case off first though. It's a last-ditch solution, imho.


Not that I have washed my laptop, I would think that as long as it dried completely it would work. It would have to dry fast and thoroughly though for it to be usable. However, I wouldn't ever do this nor would I suggest it to anybody else. Also the battery would have to be removed before anything takes place.

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