What To Do If Your Drawing Tablet Gets Wet

Drawing tablets are essential tools for digital artists, but you must keep them from coming into contact with water. Like any electronic device, exposure to moisture can cause serious issues.

I remember accidentally knocking a glass of water onto my Wacom Intuos tablet.

I was terribly panicked and didn’t know what to do.

I finally found the correct solution after carefully researching this topic on YouTube and the Wacom forum. If you have the same problem, don’t panic! 

It’s important to act quickly and correctly to minimize the potential damage, but what exactly should you do if your drawing tablet gets wet? 

This guide is suitable for all kinds of drawing tablets, from screenless to graphic tablets.

What to Do When Your Tablet Gets Wet

Drawing Tablet

Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet

Firstly, immediately unplug it if it’s connected to your laptop/computer.  Continuing to use your soaked tablet can lead to electrical shorts damage. 

If your drawing tablet is connected wirelessly, immediately turn it off.

Next, grab a soft, lint-free or microfiber cloth (like those used for eyeglasses or camera lenses) and gently dry the surface.

Don’t rub or scrub too hard on your drawing tablet. Clean the surface gently from water or liquid.

Stylus

Remove the nib from the stylus if it’s designed to be removable. Carefully clean the stylus and nib with a microfiber cloth. 

After cleaning, position the stylus horizontally on a dry cloth in a well-ventilated area. This will help ensure moisture evaporates and doesn’t seep further into the device.

I don’t recommend disassembling the stylus unless you have good knowledge and experience assembling it.

Accessory

Detach any attached cables or peripherals like keyboards,  mouse or shortcut controllers.

Drying Your Wet Drawing Tablet and Stylus

Once you’ve followed the above steps, it’s time to focus on drying your drawing tablet and stylus thoroughly:

  • Place your drawing tablet in a well-ventilated area, not too humid,  but avoid direct sunlight, which might overheat components.
  • If there’s too much water inside, use a vacuum cleaner (on its lowest setting) around ports and buttons to pull out moisture.
  • Place the stylus upright in a glass or jar so any leftover moisture can drain out from the tip.

Wait until you completely dry your drawing tablet and stylus before turning it on.

How Long Should You Dry Your Wet Drawing Tablet?

You should dry your wet drawing tablet for at least 48 hours. Using silica gel packets can help absorb moisture more effectively. Ensure you let it dry for a minimum of 48 hours, regardless of the method used.

Do not turn on your drawing tablet until at least 48 hours have passed.

Turning on your drawing tablet while it’s still wet can break it due to electrical damage.

Avoid using a hairdryer or a radiator to dry your drawing tablet. Direct heat can warp parts and components of your tablet.

Avoid using raw rice to dry your wet drawing tablet. The use of raw rice for drying electronics is a common myth. It’s less effective than silica gel packets and can introduce dust or debris to your electrical devices.

Assessing Functionality Post-Dry

After waiting for 48 hours, it’s time to assess the functionality of your drawing tablet.

First, do a quick inspection. Check for any sign of moisture or liquid that hasn’t dried yet.

If everything is dry externally, turn on the drawing tablet first. Does the light flash on? 

If you’re using a graphic tablet, is the display turned on? Is there any change in color quality on the screen?

If everything is okay,  plug the drawing tablet into your computer or laptop. Now, we need to do a comprehensive test by doing a real drawing test.

Open a drawing app like Photoshop, Krita or Clip Studio Paint.

Try to do the following tests:

Button test

Press all the buttons on your drawing tablet and stylus to make sure all the buttons work properly. 

A liquid is trapped underneath the button if you hear a muffled sound after pressing the button.

Vertical and Horizontal Strokes

Draw a straight vertical line on the canvas followed by straight horizontal lines. Check for jitter or abnormal lines.

Don’t forget to draw near the edges and corners of the tablet to check if the cursor remains accurate or not.

Tilt Functionality

If your tablet supports the tilt feature, tilt the stylus while drawing a straight line. Check if the shape or opacity of the stroke is different midway.

Pressure Sensitivity

Draw multiple lines. For some of them, you need to press your stylus lightly. Others should have a medium pressure. For the remaining lines, press down hard. 

The lines should be different depending on how much pressure you have applied.

Draw a Shape

Draw a common shape like a square or circle and check for distortions.

Touch Functionality 

For tablets with touch capabilities, do a test that involves touch functionality like rotate, pinch to zoom in and zoom out, multiple finger gestures etc.

Full drawing Test

Draw any kind of art using your drawing tablet that takes at least 1-2 hours. 

If no issue arises after drawing for an extended period of time, at least we are sure that the tablet is functioning well under prolonged use

Long-Term Effects of Water Damage on Drawing Tablets

Even if your drawing tablet seems fine right after getting wet, water damage may have long-term effects on your tablet, especially on graphic tablets.

  • Display Issues: The colors on your screen might start looking odd, or the display could become unresponsive.
  • Drawing Problems: You might notice something doesn’t feel right with your lines and strokes when you’re drawing using your stylus. 
  • Complete Failure: In worst-case scenarios, your drawing tablet could stop working entirely.

These issues can appear days or even weeks after the initial incident.

Preventative Measures for Protecting Your Tablet from Water

So, how do you keep this from happening again? Here are some tips:

  1. Keep drinks away: This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget just how close the cup is to your drawing tablet
  2. Be mindful about where you use your tablet: Places like kitchens and bathrooms pose more risk due to their proximity to water sources.
  3. Careful when you’re drawing in a public place like Starbucks

Protecting your drawing tablet from water isn’t difficult, but humans always make mistakes.

The most important thing is don’t repeat the same mistake. Repeated exposure to water can damage your drawing tablet permanently. 

Can You Claim a Warranty on Your Wet Drawing Tablet?

You can’t claim a warranty on your drawing tablet after liquid exposure. This rule applies to most drawing tablet brands, including Wacom, Huion and Xp-Pen.

Wacom’s Warranty Rule: https://www.wacom.com/en-id/warranty

  • Region-specific limited warranty durations:
    • 1 year: USA, Canada, Latin America, Japan, China, Asia Pacific.
    • 2 years: Europe, Africa, Middle East.
  • Warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship under everyday use.
  • Liquid damage isn’t covered under the Wacom warranty, but you may be entitled to a warranty under consumer law in some regions.

Huion’s Warranty Rule: https://www.huion.com/warranty

  • Huion offers a one-year warranty from the purchase date.
  • The warranty encompasses graphic tablets, graphic displays, tracing pads, and AC accessories.
  • The warranty explicitly states that it does not cover faults or damages resulting from exposure to moisture and the entry of foreign substances such as water, oil, and sand.

XP-Pen’s Warranty Rule: https://www.xp-pen.com/page/warranty-repairs.html

  • The warranty does not cover damages from misuse or exposure to liquids.

Wrapping Up

We hope our guide can help you protect your drawing tablet after water exposure. As an artist, I know that our drawing tablets are important tools for creating art.

They are costly, and no artist wants their drawing tablet to break. 

By following our guide, from unplugging the device to drying it and doing comprehensive tests, we hope everything goes smoothly with your drawing tablet.

If you still have any questions, feel free to reach us by leaving a comment.

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Author
Kenny Houle
Hi, I’m Kenny. I’m a digital artist who began learning art at the age of 21. I enjoy drawing cartoons and fan art.

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