Cheap ways to restore electronics from home hazards

We’ve all been there—that heart-sinking moment when you knock a newly-filled glass of water onto your laptop, or when you realize in disgust that there’s mold growing in the inner corners of your cell phone case. Think the situation is hopeless? Think again! At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine we know accidents happen, so we want to help you restore your damaged electronics successfully—and safely. Take a look at these cheap ways to restore your electronics from common home hazards. And remember: In the event that these remedies don’t succeed, don’t just discard your damaged electronics! Paul Davis is also a tech geek! We’ve safely restored electronic items from homes, schools and businesses after events like flooding and fires.

Did your electronic device go surfing?
• Smartphones. Ack! You’ve dropped your iPhone or Android into the sink while you were doing the dishes. Don’t fret—if your phone was only partially submerged, you may be able to resuscitate it (at least to partially functioning capacity so you can bring it to a professional). Timing is critical for restoring water-damaged electronics; as soon as possible, turn off your phone and remove the battery. If you can’t make it to get fixed right away, submerge your entire phone in a bowl of uncooked white rice overnight. The rice acts as a sponge, sucking all the moisture out of your phone and hopefully restoring it to working order!

• Personal music devices. Trust us—you’re not the first person to drop your iPod into the toilet! The first thing to do when your personal music device gets wet is to turn it off immediately. If you have a device without a removable battery, such as an iPod Touch, or it’s not turning on after 24 hours, you may want to say a few prayers and call a professional. To clean the device, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol or use an alcohol swab.

• Laptop. Uh-oh! Did your ceiling start leaking—right onto your desk and laptop? As soon as you discover water on your computer, immediately turn off your laptop, remove the battery and unplug the A/C adapter and any external devices. The most immediate danger is the laptop shorting out. Once it’s powered down, turn it upside down to prevent water from traveling any deeper into the machine. You’ll want to clean up any liquid you can see with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. If the amount of liquid that came into contact with your computer was small, you should be ready to boot it back up. If it was a more substantial spill and you’re tech savvy enough, you can try disassembling your computer to let it fully dry. Most importantly, do not plug in your computer until you’re sure it’s dry and don’t use a blow-dryer on a laptop! Since laptops are such a huge investment and oftentimes you can’t afford to lose your files, we recommend that you seek professional assistance as soon as possible to revive your laptop and minimize potential damage.

Smoke signs
• Smartphones. Is the smell of cigarettes lingering on your cell? One cheap way to restore it is to moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe the entire surface of your phone with it. Be careful not to over-saturate the cotton ball—you don’t want it getting into your phone! The alcohol should neutralize the odors lingering on the outer surface of your phone.

• Laptop. You, the kids and Fido made it out of the house fire just fine; unfortunately, your laptop did not. If your laptop shows external fire damage, restoration is a job for the professionals. Even if you can’t see any fire or smoke damage, it’s not safe for you to turn on or plug in your laptop before having it checked out—the heat and smoke could have destroyed the inner workings of your computer without any outward signs of damage. Have the professionals take a look before you get back to work. And a friendly reminder: Cigarette smoke can damage the fan and inner workings of your laptop. If you’re in the habit of smoking Camels luxuriously over the keyboard while composing the next great American novel, we recommend you get a desk fan to blow the smoke away or better yet, go old-timey and get yourself a typewriter.

Moldy not-so-oldies
• Laptops and smart phones. Although electronic devices aren’t particularly conducive to growing mold, it certainly can happen if an electronic device experiences water damage and isn’t dried out quickly enough. But even if mold already has developed, you still can try to restore your device! With laptops as well as smartphones, make sure the device is powered off and completely unplugged before beginning your restoration efforts.

In a well-ventilated area, take a clean, lint-free cloth and rub at the mold. If the device hasn’t been sitting wet for an extended period of time, a gentle rub should remove the mold. If it doesn’t, pour a bit of rubbing alcohol onto the cloth and dab at the mold spots. If the device is still wet after you remove the mold, you may need to further dry it out using the above methods in order for it to function properly.

For other household items such as clothes, curtains and upholstery, rubbing alcohol unfortunately won’t bring your goods back to safe conditions. You’ll want to bring your moldy treasures to a professional restorer to make sure the mold spores are properly eliminated.

Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine proudly serves the Central Maine area: Penobscot, Hancock, Piscataquis, Somerset, Kennebec, Knox, Aroostook, Waldo, & Washington Counties.

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