Dropping cell phones into the toilet, into a pool, into mud puddles, into washing machines and even into a glass of fruit juice is not very uncommon. In case you have just got your expensive mobile phone or iPod wet, you have every reason to be worried. Electronic items and water are known to be bitter foes, especially the smart-phones and the PDA’s. So what to do next?

phone-water-damage-repair

Cell Phone Water Damage Repair Tips

Cell phone water damage requires fast attention. If you wait too long, the damage may be just too much to be repaired.


1. Get it out of the water as soon as possible. Most of the phones have the plastic cover lids pretty tight. It would take around 20 seconds for water to get through the covers and go inside. So, immediately remove the gadget from water. Worst case, if the phone is stuck or something, see if you can remove the battery at-least, that should prevent the short-circuit.

2. Switch the phone off. Once you take out the phone, switch it off. This is very important to prevent short circuits within the phone body. Remove the batteries carefully and let it dry.

3. Remove the SIM card. Your SIM might contain many of the important data like contact information and other stuff. It is very important to prevent damage to it. Remove it as soon as you can and let it dry. I have seen many people valuing their SIM more than the phone itself. In theory, SIM cards have better chances of surviving water damage, but that is only when you don’t let it heat but get it dry. All these are valid only if you are using GSM phones. CDMA phones do not contain SIM cards.

4. Dry your phone. Obviously, this is the most important step in the water damage control process. You need to remove as much water as possible from the cell phone. Shake it out (carefully) and use a cotton cloth or paper towel to gently remove the wetness.

There are few more ways to dry your cell phone.

Wet Mobile Phone Drying Tips

  • Hair Dryer: You think hairdryer can only help soaking your hairs? Well, not really, they can helpful drying your phone too. Switch on the hairdryer towards your phone with utmost attention to the battery. If you have speed control feature, make sure you keep it to low. if not, keep the hair dryer away from the cell phone. This is useful only to dry the outer parts. This is definitely not my preferred way to dry the wet phone, since the key is to make sure the phone doesn’t get heated up. so you would have to be very careful when using a hair dryer or a blower.
  • Alcohol: Place the device in the container and fill with denatured alcohol, or a 95% alcohol solution (regular rubbing alcohol is about 75%) completely submerging the device. The alcohol will displace any water left in your device. Jiggle the container around a bit to make sure the alcohol is able to drive out the water droplets in your device. You may need to weight your device to keep it under the water. Remove the device and put it somewhere to dry for an hour or two. The alcohol will evaporate very quickly but be sure it’s really dry. Make sure that the alcohol you use is denatured with only methanol as the chemicals found in other types can be damaging. This kind of alcohol can be purchased at your local hardware store. The alcohol soak may work best for phones that have been damaged by salt water or other liquids such as coffee.
  • Dry Rice: This is really interesting and proven method of drying your cell phone. Put the electronic device in a large Ziploc bag filled with dry rice. The rice acts as a desiccant to remove water from the air and aids in drying your device out quicker.

wet-cellphone-repair
Photo Credit: PopularMechanics

What NOT to do with a WET mobile phone?

This section is equally important.

  • Do NOT Panic: I repeat, Do NOT panic under any circumstance. You will be able to juge the situation and act better only if you control your emotions and not panic.
  • Do NOT switch on the phone: I understand the urge to see if the phone is still functioning properly. But never ever try to switch it on when it is still wet.
  • Do NOT heat the phone: In order to quickly dry the phone, you might think of using a hair dryer at high speed or a vaccum cleaner or direct sunlight. This is a strict No-No. Avoiding the phone getting heated up is the key to save your wet phone.
  • Do NOT take it apart: Unless you are skilled enough with mobile phone parts.
  • Do NOT break your cellphone: You might think of smash it with a hammer and buy a new device. Well, this one always works, but you can’t give it up so easily. I know this is not funny if you are here after wetting your cell phone.

After you have waited a day or so, make sure everything is clean and dry looking and re-attach the battery and reassemble your device to the phone and see if it works. If your phone does not work, try plugging it into its charger without the battery, if this works, you need a new battery. If not, try taking your cell phone to an authorized dealer. Sometimes they can fix it.

Save a Wet Cell phone – Video Tutorial

Here is a tutorial prepared by WikiHow on how to save a wet electronic gadget. This one covers much of what we discussed above.

Note that the above tips hold good for all mobile phones (iPhone, Blackberry etc), MP3 players (iPod, Zune etc), other similar electronic gadgets.

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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp

 
 
  • vinay dokania

    hey dis sounds cool
    but need more
    !!@@!!

  • http://techgenuine.com Ricky

    I once dropped it in milk can. Luckily i had a hair dryer with me. I used it for few mins and kept my mobile outside to let it dry naturally. After few hours it was working as usual. Thank you for the tip.

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      good to know that Ricky. You must have been really careful while using the hand dryer!

  • soon

    surprise, can’t imagine how the dry rice will work…special.

  • http://www.vijayforvictory.com Vijay

    Very informative article. I once pour hot soup over my iPhone. Immediately I used the hair dryer to dry the we. It worked for me.

    Using the dry rice is a new thing I learned here.

  • http://www.technobuzz.net/ Rajesh

    Nice Info, Thanks for the Info, Very informative

  • George Serradinho

    Wow, I learned something new with alcohol and dry rice. It was a surprise to me. Here is South Africa, they are very strict with water on phones although one has the option of insuring the phone or not. Some providers even have normal insurnace for the phone and additional insurance especially for water. The price is not that bad, but I guess it depends solely on the type of phone you get.

    Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • http://twitter.com/joshuatalley Josh

    My wife sacrificed her blackberry to our washing machine about a year ago, and I tried all these methods, unfortunately to no avail. However, when I described my efforts to my colleagues (I’m a Mechanical Engineer), all the Electrical Engineers had a fit when I told them about immersing it in alcohol. They said that doing so would leave traces of sodium in the phone, which would be conductive, thus furthering the problem. Might be worth looking into the truth of their comments.

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      Your friends were right. I missed out telling what kind of alcohol must be used. It has to be a denatured alcohol containing only methanol. I have edited the article with more details. Thanks for alerting me.

  • http://www.cravingtech.com Michael Aulia @CravingTech

    I remember putting my mobile phone onto the washing machine and then to the drier for a while lol (in my pants pocket)

    Took it out, opened up the chassings and stuffs. Tomorrow, it worked again like normal :D

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      LOL! Not many would be as lucky as you ;) Was that a Nokia phone?!

  • Dave Kaufman – Techlife

    I linked to your article in my syndicated column…you had a better variety info about drying water damaged items. I was just covering the rice option.

    http://www.dkworldwide.com/techlife/archives/2009/12/28/smartphone_toilet/

  • leanne

    i dropped my nokia touch screen in my coffee….dont ask!!! its bin drying for a day n half, its switched on but displays nothing on the screen do you rek its knakerd??

  • Garth

    Hey i fell in a swamp with my phone and i could not do any of the things that you said for three days is now my blackberry wont turn on is there any thing i can do

  • Nick

    WOW! It worked I saved my phone with these instructions! Thanks SO much!

  • matthew

    o dry rice yummy smart

  • Sha’Nika

    my daughter put my phone in the toilet. I quickly took the phone out and dried it off. A day later i put it in rice but only for a couple of hrs. It was workin properly but then it began to malfunction. It still works but not as good. What can I do to make it better.

  • Alicia

    I accidently dropped my phone in the toilet, as soon as I heard it drop, i immediatly took the phone and and took out everything (it was in a case) after drying it, i tried blowdrying it but it only made it worst. Then i grabbed the vacuum and vacuumed my phone and it worked fine after. To be sure, i soaked the phone in a bowl of rice overnight. it was working fine but after a few weeks it started freezing and working slow on me ;( i have to take out my battery and charge it in order for it to work. Im not sure if its because of the water damage or because i dropped it so many times. Is there any way of fixing this problem?

  • http://www.boundlesstechnical.com/ Christina

    Never thought to use dry rice. It makes sense to me, since rice is used in different ways to absorb moisture. Thanks for posting!

  • Doug Shackelford

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Il5hxboP6o

    Eliminates the need for water damage repair to any electronic device

  • John

    Great article! There’s also a cost effective preventive measure one could take. I found iLoc to be a great inexpensive solution for a waterproof case. Being a new company, they’re even giving away iLocs on their site at http://www.ilocstore.com.

  • Nadia

    Thanks for the tips! Unfortunately i think it may be too late for me *cries* my samsung b3310 was found submerged in a bucket of water n washing powder .. i did as much as i could to dry out the phone .. now 1-2 days i have tried charging the phone minus the battery .. it still won’t turn on :( is there any way to fix my phone? or save the media such as picz/videos that were saved onto the phones internal memory? :(

  • Hulsey

    My phone got run thru the washing machine. I put took sim card and battery out, dried it off as much as possible, then put all parts in a bowl of dry rice. I left it for 2-3 days, and attempted to use. Everything seems to work, except we can not hear any voices during a call in either direction..on the damaged phone or from the damaged phone. All contacts and other info are there, can send texts and receive them…ANY ideas ?

  • Sue Boorman

    Hi
    I dropped my iphone 4 straight down the loo. I took it out and dried it with no heat hairdryer took out sim card and put it in a sealed container of dry rice. I have just leaned about the denatured alchhol. Is it worth buying it now and submerging the phone or is it too late for that now? as the phone has been in the rice in the airing cupboard all evening? Thanks Sue

  • ERICA RODRIGUEZ

    My son spilled root beer on my phone and it was malfunctioning. {red dot on my battery and everything} I took out the battery and let it stand for a while after I whipped off the soda of course. I put the battery back in to see if it worked and it still wouldnt work. I just took the battery out and put it in rice. Be honest, what are the probabilities of it being fixed???? Im so upset!!!

  • yazan

    my phone dropped in a water bowl i removedit fast and i wiped al the water part. it didnt work tha was last week now im a week late. is there possiilities to fix it?? i wishthere is :)

  • gyanarjun

    Hey guys please help me my Samsung champ mobile phone has is not working so because Pepsi had leaked in the bag where i had kept the mobile it is not working i hope i will follow these steps to save my mobile

  • rachel

    i just dropped my droid electrify in the toliet and its been in a bag of rice for almost 7 hours and still wont turn on if anyone knows anyother way to get it to work again let me know rabelges@dmacc.edu

    • lala

      so has your phone worked yet?

  • Kay Kay ;D

    My phone was in my pocket, i took it out and it heated up so much… there was water in the screen. the screen doesnt work anymore. this is the T5000 phone. see if i get another phone from china…

  • Deni Krstevski

    can the phone after 1 year staying still not activated at all start working after cleaning it whit 95% alcohol

  • Santosh

    6 months ago my Nexus S fell in a puddle, and was there unnoticed for 3-4 mins, when I realised it fell down when I was getting off the car. I used car a/c heaters to dry it off & the most important step is DO NOT CHECK IF PHONE IS WORKING OR USE ANY BUTTONS (Even the off button), just pull the battery out imm.

    left it in a bowl of rice & silica for 2 days, and its working as if nothing happened. Speakers work fine, infact it went through the Samsung service centre recently for on/off switch change last month (common Nexus S issue, not to do with the above) & they did not notice any water clogging issue and replaced the part. Either Nexus S lids were tight or the rice did the magic. 3-4 minutes fully submerged in water & perfectly working condition is surprising.

  • aman sharma

    hiiii…frnds my nokia 5233 put in bucket and the water enter the phone …tell me wat we do …plzzz help me frnds

  • No body here

    Just going through the rice stage. salt water got my phone wet. did some damage was able to to get it turned on for a couple of days and charge it. stop working after leaving off charger. back to dealing with the “Lg start up and going off again” Hope this gets the extra out. Really don’t wanna use a really old sprint pink phone until contract changes. which is like next summer or Christmas.

  • Guest

    Gotcha! I’ve looking this guide for a days now I found you. I have a problem with my phone and now I have the solution. Thanks for posting

  • Speed Up My PC Free

    Gotcha! I’ve been looking for a solution for a days and now I found you. Actually I have a problem with my phone and now I have the solution. Thanks for posting.