Tech Chick: Don’t cry over spilled milk

Many times at work or at home, we are hungry and so we eat and drink at our desk and surf the Internet. There is a horrible accident where we get distracted and spill our drink on the keyboard, or in some cases, our laptop keyboard.

Or in my husband’s case, he drops pieces of toast down into his keyboard. I’ve done this myself, I spilled my coke on the keyboard at work. (this is before I became a Computer Technician). I of course called the IT helpdesk. 

The technician that answered the phone burst out laughing.

I was really worried that I would be in huge trouble for breaking computer equipment so I asked him if I was in trouble.

He said yes and that I would now have to work without a keyboard. Needless to say, he came and took my keyboard turned it upside down and dumped the coke into the garbage can.

Fortunately for me I had unplugged it as soon as it happened. He was impressed by this and told me that there was a 50/50 chance I hadn’t broken the keyboard.

He let me follow him down to the IT Department where he took rubbing alcohol and poured it on the keyboard, not a lot mind you, but enough to wash out the Coke.

Then he took paper towels to soak up the rest, shook it over the trashcan upside down, to get the excess coke/alcohol out. Next he placed it upside down on the counter on top of paper towels and told me he’d give it a day to dry out.

He did replace my keyboard with a new one. The next day, of course I was curious to see if the keyboard worked or not and so I called down to the Helpdesk.

He said that indeed it was working again and was a bit of a miracle, since Coke is very sticky when it dries.

He said they were keeping it as a spare and I could keep my new keyboard.

Now I wouldn’t recommend doing this at home.

But I do recommend that if you do spill anything liquid on your keyboard or laptop to immediately unplug it (for keyboards) and power down if it’s your laptop and get a towel and turn it upside down to get the liquid out.

Open the laptop all the way to make sure nothing spills on the monitor. That would not be good!

Let it dry out for a few days, for the keyboard, I say a day or so, for laptops, it might take longer, like 2 to 3 days. I say it’s a 50/50 chance that it might work.

If it doesn’t, then call the manufacturer, and see what you can work out in getting it fixed. If that doesn’t work, then take it to someone you trust that fixes PC’s and see what they might be able to do for you.

My stepson recently spilled milk on his laptop keyboard. Instead of turning it off and getting the milk out, he left it on.

When I found out, of course I freaked out, giving him the big lecture on what to do if there is a spill. I took his laptop apart and cleaned the milk out with Q-tips and rubbing alcohol.

e told me that some of the keys weren’t working so I did my best to clean them out.

Unfortunately, it was too late. Now he can’t use his “T” or “Y” on the keyboard. I think that the milk shorted those keys out.

Just remember that our computers are electronics and they never mix with liquids or food.

I recommend cleaning our computers at least twice a year, getting the dust bunnies out and turning the keyboards over into the trash to get the “toast” and other dust out.

Be careful when you use the canned air dusters, when you clean out the fan in the back of the PC, don’t do it too hard on the fan, it could break it. (I’ve done this once unfortunately being over vigorous in my cleaning).

Do not use Windex on your monitor, use the appropriate cleaners for computers and monitors.

Always use something soft like a Q-tip, or paper towel or a soft towel, don’t use a screwdriver or anything sharp so you won’t cause any damage.

Always, be careful while eating and drinking around your computer. And of course, be extra careful if you are going to drink alcohol and surf the Internet. (hee hee).

Any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at or leave your question/comment in a post.

Happy Computing!!!!

Ressa Kinnear

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