I have turned the Macbook off and left it for 24 hours and turned it back on three (days) separate times. Using a USB mouse when the Macbook is turned on works well but as soon as a load is on the cpu the fluttering starts again and the computer is unusable.

Is my only resolve to leave the macbook for weeks and hope the remaining liquid evaporates?

  • How long ago was the liquid introduced to the Mac? If you need more than 2 hours for it to dry, perhaps get it to a technician to open the case and see how far the liquid spread.
    – bmike
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 14:41
  • The liquid was introduced three days ago. Getting a technician is the obvious answer but difficult to do during a pandemic and expensive. Have you any other suggestions? Commented May 23, 2020 at 14:59
  • Well at this point, all the corrosion damage and short damage is likely done and you're seeing a permanent problem, not that there's still liquid. Especially if you have run the machine warm for more than 8 hours. Would be very rare if there's still liquid inside you're not causing more damage but it's still doing shorting and you could cure it with more time or opening. Don't take it to the tech until you're ready to pay for a repair.
    – bmike
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 16:37
  • How do you mean running the machine warm, as it in simply leaving it on for eight hours? I have turned it on three separate times with around 24 hours between each time and had it on for around an hour each time. I've had a thought, is there a diagnostic tool for the health of components on the motherboard? Commented May 23, 2020 at 21:25

4 Answers 4


Drying out is “hopefully” a good solution if it’s not coming into contact with electrical connections. However, this is rarely the case.

The problem with whatever cleaner you used is not the water; it’s what’s in the water and gets left behind after it dries and what those chemicals do to electrical components (distilled water doesn’t conduct electricity). Below is an image of the residue from liquid spill on a PCB. Many of the ingredients are not only corrosive but also conductive (i.e. potassium hydroxide found in Lysol).

This means not only can the liquid short out circuits as it comes into contact with them, it can eat away at the metal solder connections as well.

You may be able to get away with it and not have much or any real damage to your Mac. However, if you’ve left it for quite some time and the problems still persist, you’ve got damage that can only be addressed by a pro.

  • All true, I've had a thought, could a diagnostic tool for the health of components on the motherboard exist and help? Commented May 23, 2020 at 21:29

Do not put it in any oven to dry, but in the sun for 15 minutes can help warm up the body can help to kickstart things drying. The trackpad has very thin gaps and capillary action will wick astounding amounts of liquid inside a Mac - so be sure to never spray on to the hardware, always dampen the cloth and then bring the cloth to the device once you’re sure it’s not soaking and only lightly damp.

If you get issues after 15 minutes, I would power off and never start again until you’re sure the inside isn’t still wet. You can short circuit and damage things in seconds. Power off immediately if you suspect a spill or a soaking cloth sat on a device for even a few moments.

Since you're three days in - it's almost certain you have so much water still in it, that failure is inevitable and you will need a repair much sooner than if it didn't get wet. Or the water is gone, the damage is done and you will have this instability until it overloads something else. Could run like this for years - could be the last moment you have it working. That depends on exactly which trace / part got wet.

  • How can I be sure the inside isn't still wet? Commented May 23, 2020 at 14:57
  • @user2084899 the only sure way is to take it in for service and have them open it and dry things out.
    – Allan
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 15:33
  • 1
    @user2084899 You might turn the computer over, remove its back, and set up a fan to circulate room air over the computer's interior. Leave for a day or two. You'll need a special driver or two to get the back off, and the screws are tiny. See ifixit.com for directions. Commented May 23, 2020 at 16:25

Did some Googling and tried a suggestion of cleaning the space in between the touch pad and hardware to get rid of the junk/dirt by putting a piece of paper in between them, also it would soak up any residue from the wipe. Tried it and it worked! 36 hours later and the cursor still hasn't started unstoppably fluttering like before and I've used the laptop all day today

Thank you all for the help


If you haven't already damaged circuit boards or connectors by leaving dried cleaner or hard water residue deposits inside your MacBook, you could try using the older (pre-IP67) wet iPhone technique: Put your MacBook in a giant zip lock bag of uncooked dry rice (or other desiccant) and leave the bag in warm sunlight for for a day or so.

BTW, Apple recommends a cloth with isopropyl for disinfecting hardware, as pure isopropyl (dilute with distilled water if needed) won't leave hard water or soap deposits after drying.

See: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207123

  • 1
    No on the rice or other desiccants. Does absolutely nothing. See my answer above. However, the second half of your answer re: isopropyl alcohol is spot on.
    – Allan
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 17:28

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