Yesterday my cat spilled a full cup of hot coffee on my 2k$+ laptop. Today, there is no trace of the incident and the laptop is working perfectly again. This is partially thanks to luck, partially to Dell laptop engineering and partially to my instinctive actions within first 10 seconds of the incident. I will recap it here so that if you happen to have a mishap of such kind you would know what to do to save your laptop.
The first thing I did is pick up the laptop (so that extra coffee from the table would not go into the vents at the bottom of the laptop) keeping the corner that was soaked with coffee downwards. With one hand I held the notebook and pressed and held the Power button to turn the laptop off as soon as possible. With the other hand I removed the power cord and tried to remove the battery as well. It took a couple seconds, but when that was done and the laptop was placed on a towel on the floor the time sensitive part was over.
After that was the clean-up. Coffee from the table and floor (so that other things don’t get soaked), coffee form the outside of the laptop (with a damp cloth), … After that I disassembled my laptop down to removing the motherboard and checking it for damage. Where ever I found traces of coffee, I cleaned them up with cotton swabs and spirit (clean water would also work, but would require more drying time). After I cleaned and dried every part off with a fan, I put the laptop back together. It took around 2 hours (more like 4 because I had to ask my girlfriend to pick up a new screwdriver on her way home as I lost mine). Everything was working, except the keyboard.
Bits of coffee got inside the keyboard and were shortening the wires so some lines of buttons were not working and some were activating other keys when pressed. On an advice from a fried, I took out the keyboard and … washed it. I simply put the keyboard under a stream on running water and made sure that the water got into every possible and impossible opening. After 5 minutes of washing I got the hairdryer and proceeded to dry the keyboard. After an hour I put it in, but it still did not work, so I left it on a heating radiator overnight. After around 18 hours of drying the keyboard started working again. Oh and it was cleaner than it ever was
Summary: Do not panic! Get water out of you laptop, get it turned off, disconnect power and remove the battery. If you manage to do all that in 10 seconds or less, you might have a chance of seeing your laptop boot up again.