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How to Save Your Water Soaked Cell Phone

Updated on December 14, 2016
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It Happens.

The kids threw your cell phone in the toilet. Maybe you dropped it. No matter, it's in there. But just because the phone was soaked in water does not mean that it's over and done. There are things you can do to ensure your phone will live again.

Avoid the Temptation

First and foremost, DO NOT power on the phone until it is completely dry. The worst thing you can do to a wet phone is to power it up before it dries completely. Avoid that temptation, cut the power, and remove the battery as soon as possible. Your warranty most likely does not cover water damage so do not be afraid to open it and remove the battery. iPhones are at a disadvantage here and may have to make due with powering off the device only. If you have an extra memory card then remove it as well. Even if your phone doesn't make it, the SIM card should still be fine.

Let it Dry

The priority now is to dry the phone. The faster the better, but be smart about it. Microwave ovens, conventional ovens, and hair dryers are all bad. You do not want to cook, warp, melt or otherwise over heat your phone. The inside is fragile, if nothing else the adhesives that hold the parts together will not react kindly to heat.

Instead, use canned air if you have it. Or a shop vac to vacuum out the excess moisture. You can even use a q-tip to dab out any stubborn water drops. Do not rub the water into the phone, dab it out. Do not use rubbing alcohol on the inside of your phone as the afore mentioned adhesives can disolve from it.

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Instant Rice?

Finally, use a desiccant (thats a fancy word for something that absorbs stuff) to dry up any left over moisture. One of the most common items you can use is instant rice. Instant oatmeal, couscous, those little silica gel packets, and in a pinch even cat litter has been used and seems to work.

Put at least half a cup of instant rice, or your drying substance of choice in to a ziplock bag along with the phone, the battery, and the SIM card. Cover the phone with the rice, seal the bag, and let it sit. Overnight would be good, but the longer the better.

After the phone is sufficiently dried out put the pieces back together, cross your fingers, and power the phone back on. In many cases the phone will start up.

In the event your phone ends up in salt water then you will need to take out the battery and rinse the phone out with fresh water. You do not want the salt water to dry and leave a residue inside the phone. It's already been wet so don't be hesitant. That salty residue can be a corrosive.

If none of these options are available to you, simply put the open phone on a shelf and let it sit. Maybe have a fan blow across it. Over time, nature will take its course and evaporation will work its magic. The longer the better.

Many of these methods have worked for others and there is no reason they should not for you. They can save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs or even the price of a new phone. Keep in mind that most phones have a sensor inside that will let any service technician know that the phone has gotten wet and the warranty has been voided. Since the warranty has been voided then you really have nothing to lose.

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