As is logical, spilling liquid on the PC is a very dangerous situation and not at all desirable, because as you well know, electronics do not get along very well with liquids. However, the first thing you should do is try to stay calm and follow the steps that we are going to tell you below to try to prevent things from getting worse.
Precautionary measures when the PC has gotten wet
If you have spilled liquid on your PC, the first thing to do is unplug it from the mains to avoid greater evils. If when the liquid spilled and the PC got wet, it did not turn off automatically and continued to function with apparent normality, it is a good sign because it means that, in principle, nothing has been damaged and you can make it work again following our advice.
If, on the other hand, the PC turned off after spilling the liquid and / or you heard a small explosion, smoke or even sparks came out of the PC, then you do have a problem and in all probability, some component will have been damaged and you will have to change it. All in all, if the power supply and especially its short-circuit safety system has worked properly, it is likely that you can save almost all the components.
Of course, there is a third possibility and that is that the PC has gotten wet while it was turned off, and in this case the chances that something has broken are reduced. However, generally we always leave the computer plugged into the power and with the power supply turned on, so there is also the possibility that something has broken.
How to deal with a wet PC
After unplugging the PC from the power and if possible turn off the power supply of the switch that they all have from behind, the best thing to do next is to remove the side cover and place the PC case diagonally (while the tower is upright, lean it towards the open cover and support it, for example, on a table leg or on a wall, but always inclining it towards the lid that you have removed). In this way, we will make the liquid settle in the lower area of the box and thus it will be easier to clean it.
Once a reasonable time has passed for gravity to take effect and the water has drained downwards, clean the “puddle” that has formed with a dry cloth and then, depending on the situation, you should follow the following steps but that in any case includes the completely disassemble all hardware to be able to clean and dry it individually. Initially, what you should do is at least one visual inspection to check which component or components have gotten wet and thus be able to place special emphasis on them.
If the PC was off or was still running after getting wet
If the PC was off when you spilled the liquid, or even if it continued to function relatively normally (without crashing) after that, that’s a good sign. Despite this, it is imperative that you turn it off immediately and let it dry for a reasonable time before a mishap happens, and after that you will have to carry out the aforementioned visual inspection to see which components have gotten wet to disassemble them and dry them conscientiously.
In the event that the motherboard has gotten wet, it is best to disassemble it completely and disconnect everything else, dry it carefully with the help of a dry and clean fiber cloth and ear buds to reach the most difficult to reach areas, and once done prepare a container large enough to fit the base plate and cover it completely with rice.
Although many people think that putting a wet device in rice to dry it is little more than an urban legend, in reality rice has the peculiarity that it is capable of absorbing twice its size in water, so it is ideal for removing all liquid and even moisture that may have remained on your hardware. It is advisable to let the rice do its job for no less than 24 hours, with 48 hours being ideal.
In general, the procedure for drying wet components is of course to disassemble them from the PC, and disassemble the component itself as much as possible as well. Dry it with a cloth and swabs for inaccessible areas, and then leave it in rice for a good handful of hours to finish removing moisture. Only then can you be sure that nothing will happen when you reconnect them.
If the PC turned off when it got wet, smoke came out, etc.
When a PC gets wet while it is on, there is a chance that it will suddenly shut down due to a short circuit. This is good, because although the short circuit has happened it means that the protection measure of the power supply has done its job (turn off the PC to avoid greater evils). The bad thing is if the blackout is preceded by a small explosion, smoke or even sparks or fire. In this case, unplug the PC from the power but do not touch it, leave it for a few minutes until you are sure that there has not been a fire in your components (and if so, immediately call the firefighters).
When you are ready and you think it is safe to touch the PC again, follow the same procedure that we have explained above (PC tower diagonally, disassemble, dry, put in rice, etc.), but now the visual inspection phase will have to be much more exhaustive, looking especially capacitors that they are swollen, cracked, or burned, since they are the component that usually breaks down in these cases.
You will find capacitors in almost all components, including motherboard, graphics card and especially power supply (if this has also gotten wet, you will have no choice but to open it to examine its interior). The moment you see a capacitor in poor condition in any of the components, unfortunately it is best to discard it and buy a new one to replace the damaged one.
Once the whole process is over, reassemble everything and check that it continues to work without problems. If everything went well, it should be.