10 Replies Latest reply: May 1, 2012 5:04 PM by OGELTHORPE
mackatacka Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)


My brother accidentally spilt a bit of hot chocolate on my MacBook Pro (see below for details). It turned off the moment it happened. I dried all the hot chocolate, and cleaned out the ports with a cotton bud. When I plug the charger in, the battery indicator lights illuminate, but the light on the actual charger doesn't turn on. It is half charged. It's also pretty self explanatory that it doesn't turn on. I'm pretty scared, and I need some help. That would be appreciated!

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7), Mid 2010, 13-inch
  • 1. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,505 points)

    You really need to take your MBP to an Apple genius bar or authorized repair service and have them check it out and see about cleaning, etc.  There is nothing you can do that will not make things worse.

  • 2. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Take it in for repair, and expect a very large bill. The fact that it shut down instantly is a bad sign suggesting serious internal damage.

  • 3. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (25,790 points)

    Ralph Landry1, greetings:  I have a suggestion that I would appreciate your thoughts on (or any one else's).


    When a MBP is christened with any liquid, remove the battery and then proceed to inundate it with a high quality non-residue electrical cleaner in order to extract all vestiges of the contaminants that have seeped in.  Since these come in pressurized cans, one can use the thin plastic tube in the nozzle in order to get at the small cracks and crevices.  Then let it dry out and see what happens.


    What is the down side?  The warranty has already been voided.  If you let it dry, the contamination will dry and may adhere to the internal components and perhaps promote corrosion.  The sooner that you attack the problem, the better the chances for success (with no guarantees of course).


    I have thought about this for some time and though it may sound very radical it makes sense to me (I have done this before, but never with computers).  You have been on this forum a lot longer than I and I respect your opinions, so please go ahead and puncture my balloon.





  • 4. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,505 points)



    My basic feeling is the majority of users will do things wrong and make the situation worse.  There have been a number of ideas floated in the past, packing in rice, sealed zip-lock bag so it doesn't dry out, and so on.  With electronics there are so many things to mess up.


    First thought of your idea is that it just might work, but, the bappery is not the only potential problem...there are fan motors, the hard drive or solid state drive, ports, all kionds of places to need cleaning or get glogged.


    What you are suggesting is how the cleaning SHOULD be done, but with an added piece, complete disassembly of the unit.  Then clean each part individually and reassemble.  That way you would be sure to remove all the contaminants.


    And that is why I would not advocate the typical user follow that idea...disassembly and assembly is not an easy task.  I have disassembled computers and done a lot of detailed work, but I am an old time engineer and also have an Extra Class Amateur Radio license so am very comfortable getting my hands dirty.  That said, I probably would not want to disassemble my MBP because it is so tight.


    Your idea does have a lot of good points to it.  With something other than hot chocolate, and no valid warranty, might be worth a try by a user who could keep his wits about him and be very mehodical about the attempted cleaning.  Patience and a game plan would be essential elements of the operation, even without any disassembly involved.


    Electronics cleaner is not supposed to be bad for electronics, so a clever idea...we'll be waiting to hear how you do with it, should you feel the urge to volunteer your compuiter for testing


    Anyway, always good the hear creative ideas that may lead to success.



  • 5. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (30,445 points)

    Neither the regular warranty nor AppleCare cover accidental damage. However...


    Place your homeowners' or renters' insurance carrier on notice immediately. A number of people with "baptized" Mac notebooks have reported that their policy covered such accidental damage. You out-of-pocket cost is limited to the deductible, which is usually much less than the cost of repair.


    And have a long conversation with your brother about whether HE can afford to drink hot chocolate around your tech gear!

  • 6. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (25,790 points)

    Ralph Landry1, greetings:  Yes you have pointed out the 'fatal flaw', the human component.  As I indicated before, having utilized this technique with a modicum of success, I really did not take that factor into account.


    Putting the MBP in a rice bag or letting it dry for a week and so forth are strategies which in my mind just prolong and probably compound  the problem.  I suppose the standard response should be to take to a repair facility immediately if you think the unit can be salvaged or call Apple and send a replacement.


    I confess that I do have my coffee when I use my MBP, but the logistics are such that it is nearly impossible to share it with the MBP.  Should I be proven wrong, I will bathe it with said non-residue cleaner and with luck I hope that I will be able to report to you ...-.



  • 7. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Hi, Ogelthorpe. May I put my two cents in here?


    Just as water by itself is of little use in cleaning up greasy spills and stains, and hydrocarbon solvents like acetone and tricholoroethylene are of little use in cleaning up protein spills and stains (milk, cream, blood, etc.), it seems likely to me that whatever solvent is used in aerosol electronics cleaners has its limitations too. Most of the posters here who dump liquids into their computers stick to water-based liquids that we humans can drink, and as long as they're still wet, water itself can be expected to dissolve and wash away most of the resulting contaminants — though I don't by any means recommend rinsing one's computer out in the kitchen sink. But once the water in what's been spilled evaporates and whatever residue it leaves behind has settled in for the long haul, I'm not sure any one kind of solvent or cleaner can be depended upon to a) soften up, b) lift off, and c) float away all the kinds of residues we are inventive and careless enough to deposit in our computers. Consider orange pulp, milk solids, sugars of all kinds, and the various fruit and vegetable oils that are present as traces in some of the drinks we consume. I'm not aware of any solvent that will dissolve orange pulp, though water will soften it. Milk solids, present in hot chocolate mixes of all kinds, used to be used as an extremely durable paint base, highly resistant to solvents including water. I don't think any hydrocarbon-based solvent will touch crystallized sugars. And even if electronics cleaner does loosen up and float off all these and more of the varied residues of our spills, how can we be certain those residues are actually being carried all the way off the parts we're trying to clean, not just being moved around and then left behind again, perhaps less localized and in lower concentrations, but still present? I strongly suspect that the impossibility of being sure about this is precisely why Apple never tries to clean liquid spills, but instead just replaces all the affected parts. For those who can't afford to pay Apple or an authorized service provider but who can afford a degree of uncertainty about the effectiveness of cleaning, and who aren't afraid to take their machines completely apart, electronics cleaner is probably worth a try. But there may be spills against which it's powerless. And if a spill has caused a running machine to shut down, the chances are good that electrical damage has already been done and cleaning alone, no matter how thorough, won't bring it back to life.

  • 8. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (25,790 points)

    eww, greetings:  You are more than welcome to put your two cents in now and any other time.  It appears that you actually put in a dime and a quarter.


    With Ralph Landry1's response I am resigned to not advocating this strategy to other users.  I may be more adventurous and willing to pursue this approach, but I suspect that is not the case with most MBP users.


    You make very good points and actually that is some of the reasoning behind my suggestion.  For any chance of success, the action has to be taken before the offending liquid has had a chance to settle and dry.  Note my use of the word 'inundate'.  By using multiple cans of non-residue cleaner akin to a pressure washer, one might be able to remove those items that may not be soluble.  Naturally you would need additional weaponry such as artists brushes, Q tips, compressed air and the like.


    I do concur that in many situations death may have occurred and any attempts at resuscitation would be futile.  Nevertheless there may those circumstances where this approach may succeed.  How often is certainly open to conjecture, but to do nothing or letting it to simply dry out lessens the odds for the continued life of the MBP even more (my opinion, not fact).


    Again I appreciate you thought on this matter.





  • 9. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,505 points)

    The difficulty is the amount of work involved...the technical skill level is at the advanced level when it comes to disassembly of a laptop, and one needs to understand the contaminant introduced, cleaning procedures, and on and on.  It is possible to save the computer provided, as eww points out, irreperable damage has not already been done.


    The level effort is probably why the techs seldom will tackle a project like this and instead just say replace the unit.


    It is feasible, OGELTHORPE, to do what you suggest if all of the caveates are understood and observed.  You may have the electronics experience to pull this off, but how many others do?  And how many want to invest the amount of time required?


    Great discussion topic today...was fun thinking about it and discussing it.  Glad it stayed at the great give and take level without raising emotions and tempers...keep throwing those out so we can have some good discussions.



  • 10. Re: Spilt hot chocolate on MacBook pro
    OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (25,790 points)

    Ralph Landry1, greetings again;  As they say in academia, one takes several thesis' and combine them into a synthesis which then becomes a new thesis.  Perhaps that is what you, eww and I accomplished today


    Simply put, this thread allowed me to bring up an issue that I had contemplated for a while now.  As far as I am concerned this issue has been put to rest thanks to your pointing out a flaw that I did not anticipate or take into account.


    Yes I have seen many petty ego clashes on this forum.  I love a good argument (not to confused with a quarrel) because it so often aids in the learning process and I agree that today this was good.


    Did you understand that "...-" was not a typo?