We’ve all taken our phone to the bathroom with us only to experience the horror of dropping it in the toilet and having to make the panic-induced plunge for it. Maybe it was the pool instead. You made the perfect dive into the water and remembered only seconds before submersion that it was still in your pocket. A spilled drink, a falter sprinkler system, a clumsy hand and a puddle in just the right place, the list goes on. The point is your phone is soaked, and you have no idea how to save it. Don’t worry, we do. Maybe.
Problem: A wet phone is a tale as old as time, but fortunately most of the smartphones nowadays are water resistant to some degree, some more so than others, and there are several methods you can try to prevent further damage. The main questions to ask yourself in this case are how long has the phone been submerged, how water resistant is it, and how much damage has already been done? For example, most smartphones today are water resistant, but some aren’t quite as effective as others and if the phone is submerged for too long the damage could be irreparable. You can see how high a phone’s resistance level is by its IP number. The higher the number, the higher the resistance level.
Solution: First, retrieve the phone as soon as possible to prevent too much water damage. Our first instinct always seems to be pressing every button we can to try to turn the phone on, however, the best thing to do is power it off immediately and to remove the battery if possible. Most smartphone batteries can no longer be taken out, but if it’s an older model, pop the battery out as quickly as you can to prevent a short circuit. Heat is a common method often used to dry wet phones, but it will do more harm to the electronics inside the phone than anything else. Take all cases and coverings off of the phone and towel dry it gently to make sure no water gets stuck in the charging port. Gently blowing with your mouth or compressed air at water drops left in cracks can be effective as long as the drop isn’t blown further into the phone.
Another common go-to is the rice bag method. It may be a tempting, quick fix, but placing your phone in a bag of rice–while possibly effective– is not the greatest idea. If there is a lot of water, the rice can get mushy after absorbing a lot and become stuck in the crevices of the phone. Instead, round up all of the tiny packages of little beads labeled “DO NOT EAT” and put those in a bowl instead. These little packages are drying agents typically found in shoeboxes, new purses and beef jerky packages, and soak up moisture more efficiently without getting soft like rice.
In addition, there are also low cost solutions you can purchase like the Nine Lives Wet Phone Fix, or NanoflowX. Both are sealable pouches that soak up moisture. However, if you choose to use a drying agent, make sure to place the phone in a completely sealed container so that no outside moisture is absorbed. If none of the above solutions work, it’s probably a safe bet that there was too much water damage, and it may be time for a new phone.