I Spilled Liquid On My Surface – What To Do

AHHHHH. I just spilled liquid on my Surface! What should I do?!

Don’t worry that wasn’t me but it does happen sometimes and I’ve been asked that question. I personally have gotten plenty of my electronics wet and it was never fun. In fact, in not-so-past history, I washed my Fitbit with the laundry and totally panicked.

So, if you spilled something on your Surface, don’t freak out, all is not yet lost. Fortunately, there is a thing or two that you can do about spilled liquid on your tablet. Even if you’ve not spilled anything, you may want to read this for future reference – spill accidents do happen to all of us.

OK, so the worst has happened, you spilled something on your Surface. What should you do?

Warning: your personal safety comes first! Use caution when disconnecting any device from power. If you are standing in water or your clothing is wet, please ensure you are safe from potential shock hazard before retrieving a submerged or soaked electronic device.

  1. Disconnect it from all power. If the Surface is submerged and is connected to external power source, cut the circuit breaker of the power source or pull the plug if you can do so safely.
  2. Turn off the device immediately or as soon as you realize the liquid is inside. Please use caution because the battery may cause a fire and/or chemical hazard. Do not handle your Surface if you see smoke, feel heat, bubbling, stream, melting, etc.
  3. Rotate and gently shake the Surface to allow all fluid to drain out.
  4. Dry off any external liquid from the device using paper towels.
  5. If the liquid you spilled had sugar or other sticky stuff in it, wipe it all off with a damp cloth – do not soak your Surface again to remove it.
  6. Bury your Surface in a bag or container of uncooked rice, making sure that it’s completely covered.
  7. Wait a few days but rotate the device every 8-12 hours (this is the hard part – the waiting) to give the liquid every chance to drain. The rice, in many cases, will draw out out the remaining liquid.
  8. Turn the device on to see if it still works.

Unfortunately, the Surface is very tough to take apart, so doing so and cleaning the inside components is not really an option, see Surface Pro 3 Teardown. I have, however, successfully dried out many electronics with the rice method, so there is hope.

Where you may run into problems is liquids that contain sugar or corrosive materials. Water is not really your enemy in this case but what is contained inside the water is. This is especially true for minerals left behind after the water evaporates – you really do not want rust to set in. In general both acid and alkaline solutions are bad for electronic components, knowing the pH of the liquid can help give you an idea of how bad the inside damage is. Check out this handy pH value table and hope your liquid is as close to 7 pH as possible.

Of course, if this method fails, your only hope is to contact Microsoft for service, see How To Get Hardware Support from Microsoft – I sure hope you bought that Microsoft Complete Coverage!


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