So you dropped your phone in a toilet, got hit by a rogue wave while running on the beach, or you got pushed into a swimming pool.
Don’t freak out. Getting your phone wet happens more often than you realize and sometimes your device can be saved if you stay calm.
A common myth is that you can surround your device with uncooked rice to absorb all the moisture from your phone. Think about it for a second. Rice is usually packaged in paper bags which means, if it were to absorb water, it would naturally be wet from the moisture in the air. Uncooked rice doesn’t absorb water which is why it needs to be boiled in hot water to cook. Rice doesn’t work and neither does saltine crackers, cat litter, or rolled oats.
Let’s go through a list of steps you can go through to possibly save your phone.
1. Remove your phone from the water source as soon as humanly possible
Water is the mortal enemy of electronic devices. The two simply don’t mix, so the sooner you can remove your device, the better. Sure, all of your water indicators built into the phone will change colors so your manufacturer knows they aren’t responsible for damage, but there’s still a slight chance your phone can be brought back to life.
2. Turn it off
Once you pull it from the water source, do not freak out and try to check buttons to see if they work. Turn it off with the power button, or better yet, if you have a removable battery, pull it out as soon as you can.
The longer your device is powered on while in water reduces your chances at revival. Water conducts electricity and will fry your internal components if you try to use it while it is wet. Phones are built incredibly well these days and there is a good chance water didn’t seep into every crevice of your phone if it was immersed for only a few seconds.
3. Wipe it down and absorb all of the water you can
Once your phone is powered down, absorb any water you can with paper towels or soft cloths. Open any panel or slot you can, which means if you can remove the back panel, do it and dry out any visible water. This also includes microSD card slots as well as SIM card slots. Memory cards and SIM cards usually survive water immersions and can be just as valuable as the phone itself.
4. Vacuum excess water out of crevices
Get a vacuum and suck any excess water you can from the device. Do it for a long time, up to 30 minutes. Sure it is painstaking and noisy, but it will increase your chances of restarting your device.
5. Get Drierite or Silica and seal it in a bag with your phone
I am a chemist and frequently use Drierite to absorb any excess moisture from new chemicals I synthesize. If you have a friend who works in a lab, they most likely will know what it is and can get you a small stash to use. Drierite is a material designed to absorb water and moisture.
Drop your phone in a bag with the water absorbing material and let it sit for a minimum of eight hours. If it works properly, which it should, it will absorb any excess water your vacuum missed.
6. Blow air through it
Get one of those cans of pressurized air which is used to clean computers and other electronic devices. This step is arguably unnecessary, but you want to make sure ALL of the water is gone. Blow air into every crevice you can and if you see any water come out, repeat steps 4 and 5.
You can use a blow drier to heat your phone slightly, but don’t go crazy. Don’t let your phone get hot, just let it get warm. Heat can damage your device as well, so do not overdo this step.
7. Turn your device on
After you have done steps 1-6, your phone should be bone-dry. If you’re confident no water remains, go ahead and try to power on your device. If you’re lucky, there is a good chance your phone will power back on.
8. If your phone is still dead, give it a few days
Sometimes water can sit in tiny areas where only time can dry it out. After a few days, you can give it one more shot at powering back on. You might get lucky.
If everything fails, you will need to get a new device, but you can still sell your water damaged device to certain places like gazelle.com. It won’t be worth a ton of money, but it will still be worth a few bucks.
If you’re reading this article because you have gotten your phone wet, I wish you good luck in getting your device to turn back on and work properly.