What would you do if your phone fell in a pool, toilet, washing machine, or some other body of water? Your first instinct will most likely be to grab your wet phone quickly and attempt to dry it off with a towel. Or maybe, you’ll be tempted to chuck it in a bowl of uncooked rice. But are these tips actually going to save your phone from having its circuits fried?
Water and electronics don’t mix, and time is of the essence if your smartphone has taken a swim. Even if your cell phone has water resistance, it can still suffer water damage after a deep dive. So, here are 7 things you can do to save your wet phone from a moist demise.
1. Turn off and dismantle your cell phone
If you’ve dropped your cell phone in water, the first thing you should do after taking it out is turn it off. There should be no electricity running through the phone unless the circuit boards are completely dry. Turning the phone off prevents an electrical short circuit from frying the sensitive components and leaving you with a permanently damaged phone. The risk is there even if your phone is water-resistant.
The next thing to do with a wet device is to take it apart as much as you can. That means removing all the components you can remove easily. Take your phone out of its case; remove the sim card, memory card, and battery (if it’s removable); shake it well to get the most water out; and leave it to dry.
2. Wipe it with a paper towel
After your phone is off, you should wipe its body and remove as much water as you can using a paper towel, tissue paper, lint-free towel, or microfiber cloth. Doing this will absorb the moisture outside the device and prevent more water from getting in the phone.
You’ll also want to wipe inside the headphone and charging ports and all the nooks and crannies you can reach with a paper towel or cloth. We recommend using lint-free or microfiber wipes as they don’t leave fabric residue behind, which may otherwise cause blockage or a short circuit.
3. Air out your wet phone
Instead of waiting around for your phone to dry on its own, try accelerating the process. After taking apart all its removable components, place the device somewhere airy. Put it near a fan or air conditioner to speed up evaporation.
Avoid using a hair dryer to dry your wet device. The heat can damage the internal circuitry, and the strong blast can push water droplets further inside. Using a vacuum cleaner instead is a much better option. While you can also use your mouth to try sucking the moisture out, we wouldn’t recommend it as you might inhale something dangerous.
4. Put it somewhere hot
To speed up the evaporation process, you should put your phone somewhere hot. By that, we don’t mean putting it in a toaster or microwave oven. A bedside or table lamp would do just fine. The heat will help the phone dry faster, but it won’t work well if the phone has a lot of water inside it, which is why we suggest taking it apart and drying it as much as possible first.
Don’t recharge or turn the phone while it is drying near a heat source. The phone is already warm, and using it while it’s hot can damage the processor and battery.
5. Use silica gel to extract the liquid inside
Desiccants are materials that absorb moisture from the air, and a desiccant like silica gel would be perfect for sucking the humidity from inside your wet cell phone. Silica gel is easy to get your hands on, is non-toxic, and gets the job done. You can also find it in medicine bottles.
Put your wet phone inside an airtight container or Ziploc plastic bag, chuck 4-5 silica gel packets in there, seal the container or bag, and let it work its magic. Some silica gel packets turn pink when they can’t absorb any more moisture. Replace the bags when that happens. After 24-48 hours, check your phone to see if it turns on fine.
6. Avoid the uncooked rice hack
We can’t complete our list without mentioning the most famous hack for saving wet phones: the uncooked rice method. Tell someone you got your phone wet, and this is the first thing they suggest. We hate to burst that bubble, but the rice trick isn’t as effective as its blown-up popularity will have you believe.
Yes, a wet phone will dry if you bury it in dry rice long enough, but putting it in the open air would do that even quicker. Rice dry your phone over a few days, allowing plenty of time for the moisture to corrode the internal circuitry. Rice can also get jammed inside your phone’s charging port, speaker grill, and headphone jack.
7. Take it to a repair shop
If you dropped your functioning phone in water, and it stopped working after you took it out, maybe it’s time to see the experts. Yes, hacks and remedies can work on wet phones if you’re lucky, but many phones suffer irreversible water damage once they take a bath. If your phone fell in salt water or any other liquid, DIY tricks won’t save it.
A certified repair shop has the expertise and equipment needed to fix a water-damaged phone. It will put your mind at ease knowing the pros are repairing the damage caused by water. Just make sure it’s a certified and reputable shop and will not charge you more than what your phone is worth. Also, remember to remove the sim card before you give your phone for repairs to avoid any misuse.