With many laptops costing in excess of £1,000/US$1,000, it's no surprise most people take care to maintain their condition.  

However, one of the things you can't always account for is liquid damage. It's highly likely that you'll have a drink near where you're working, and accidents can easily happen. 

If water, coffee or any other liquid has made its way onto your device, it's important not to panic. Following these steps will ensure you minimise any potential damage and give yourself the best chance of it remaining fully functional. 

Turn off the laptop

If you've sustained water damage, the worst thing you can do is persist with trying to use it. Even if it still seems to be functioning as normal, there's a very real risk that there could be long-term damage

For anything more than a few drops of water, it's important to turn your device off straight away. This can either be done by opening the Start Menu (Windows)/clicking the Apple icon (Mac) or simply holding down the power button until the screen turns off.

Remove power cable and accessories

If you were charging your device when disaster struck, make sure you disconnect it before proceeding. 

Got a mouse, USB adapter or any other accessories connected? You'll want to remove those too. It's bad enough that your laptop might be damaged, don't want to replace all your accessories too!

What to do if you spill liquid on your laptop

Give them a quick wipe down and set well out of harm's way.

Clean any excess liquid from the outside

Your next step should be to try and remove as much excess liquid from the laptop as possible. Wipe anything obvious from the surface of the device and then turn it upside down. 

It's best to use a lint-free fabric cloth or towel for this. Avoid the temptation to use a hairdryer or other appliance that blows hot air unless you've spilt water. While it may help excess moisture to try, it's far more likely to cause long-term damage as they're more conductive and corrosive. 

Get it professionally repaired

With the above steps taken care of, you've done the best you can to prevent further damage in the short term. 

It's worth seeing at this point whether the device will turn on, so reconnect the power supply and see if it boots up. Either way, it's probably best to get it checked by a professional to make sure the device will be safe to use long term. 

If you still have a valid warranty, this is the perfect time to take advantage of free repairs. Usually, accidental damage like this is covered under most policies, but it's worth checking from wherever you bought it from. 

If not, it's worth looking for a repair shop which specialises in the brand of laptop that you have.

There's one other thing to note here: if you suspect any liquid has come into contact with the battery, that will need to be replaced immediately. As well as damaging the battery, liquids can make the device unsafe to use. 

Prevent future damage

Perhaps this accident has made you realise that liquid near an exposed laptop is a risk you're no longer willing to take. 

Unless you want to walk to the other side of the room to have a drink, the good news is that there are some ways to make your existing laptop more waterproof. 

A keyboard cover film can help to protect the keys from liquid damage, without impacting the typing experience too much. At just £5.99, Tracsmart's silicone film is a good option. 

Of course, protecting your device when not in use should also be a priority. Check out our round-up of the best laptop bags for some great options. 

Fully waterproof laptops are relatively few and far between, although there are a few that come under the 'rugged' category. If this is a priority, we'd recommend checking out the Panasonic Toughbook

If you're happy to take the risk with a regular laptop, check out our round-up of the best laptops on the market.