So your phone is wet and you're not sure what to do...
Before you read any further:
1. Turn off your phone.
2. If it has a removable battery, take it out and set it aside as well.
With those critical steps out of the way, you'll want to focus on encouraging drying and waiting patiently.
But there are right ways and wrong ways to dry out your phone. Choosing the wrong ways could do more harm than good.
In this guide, we’ll cover the options you have for safely drying out your phone and (hopefully) avoiding an expensive deductible or replacement fee.
Let's try to save your phone shall we?
What NOT To Do
After your phone gets wet, what you do next can make a huge difference in whether your phone survives.
It's not actually the water that is a problem most times... it's what happens when water and electricity mingle.
If you want to improve the chances of your phone working once dry, DO NOT do the following:
Put your battery back in and try to turn on the phone or charge it
Press buttons on your phone
Shake or bang the phone on a flat surface to get the water out
Blow in your phone’s ports
Use a hairdryer on your phone
The last is especially important.
Even if you dodge the potential heat damage of a blow dryer or hairdryer, they are more likely to push water deeper into your phone than actually dry anything out.
What To Do If Your Phone Gets Wet
With what not to do out of the way, let's look at how to dry out a phone...
Below are the proven ways to help your phone dry out as quickly -- and safely -- as possible.
Step One: Get Out Most of the Water
First, we need to get the bulk of the water out...
If you have a microSD or SIM slot on the outside of the phone, open those up and remove the cards and the trays, doors, or flaps.
If your phone features a removable back, take that off as well.
Now place everything somewhere safe where you won’t lose them for a few days.
Yes… this process will likely take a few days.
But a few days without a phone is better than a replacement bill or no phone at all right?
Next, hold the phone upright over something absorbent like a towel or paper towels. You can use an empty sink as well. Anywhere you don’t mind getting a little damp.
If water is still coming out of your phone, hold it until there’s no visible drainage left.
Now take dry paper towels or another absorbent, soft material and wipe down the phone’s surfaces and any open ports.
Step Two: Dry Things Out Completely
With the bulk of the obvious water out of the phone, you have a few options for the final steps.
Some experts recommend taking a vacuum to the phone to try to draw any remaining moisture from the ports.
A wet/dry vac would work better just in case there’s more water left in the phone than you suspect.
If you decide to use a vacuum, be sure to use a hose attachment with an end smaller than your phone and be mindful of any of the smaller pieces you might have lying around your table, desk, or workbench.
Also, avoid any brush attachments if you value that shiny finish and a scratch-free screen.
What About the Phone in Rice Method?
You’ve probably heard to put your phone in a bag of rice. But whether this will work depends on where you live.
In drier, warmer environments, you might find better success just leaving the phone out in a safe place -- such as on a bookshelf or on an end table.
If you live in a cooler or humid climate, putting your phone in something absorbent will likely yield better results.
But as reported by Gazelle, rice isn’t your only option. In fact, while it’s probably better than nothing, it’s one of the worst.
Other items you can consider which outperformed rice in their testing include:
- Cat litter (just be sure to use a low-dust variety)
- Pearl Couscous
- Instant or rolled oatmeal
- Instant rice
- Silica gel
NOTE: Silica gel is affordable enough to keep around in case of an emergency. You can also get drying pouches designed for specifically for phones and other small electronics. Being prepared for the next time your phone takes a swim never hurts.
If you have none of these around, then uncooked white rice works as well.
The key is using plenty of whatever you choose. Most experts recommend at least 4 cups (roughly 1 liter) of drying material in a 2-quart (roughly 2-liter) container or larger.
If the container is too small or you use too little drying material, it could create a humid environment within the bag or container and won’t work to draw out moisture.
Step Three: Wait and See
From here, we’re down to the “sit and wait” part of the process…
Experts recommend somewhere between 3 and 5 days, but no less than 72 hours.
How Long Should You Leave A Phone in Rice to Dry?
While the answer depends on how wet the phone is, temperature, humidity, and even the type of rice you use, most experts recommend a minimum of 24 hours.
If you can resist the urge to touch your phone for 72 hours, that's even safer. The rice won't necessarily make your phone any drier. It just helps it dry out faster in some cases.
Whether you're just leaving your phone on a shelf or you've tucked it away in a bag of something to help things dry, resist the urge to pop your battery back in your phone or charge it.
If there’s any moisture in your phone, applying an electrical charge could fry things.
Step Four: Test Things Out
With the waiting out of the way, it’s time to see if your patience paid off or if it’s time to make an insurance claim or find a replacement.
Reassemble the phone and try to turn it on. With a bit of luck, everything will load up fine.
But you’re still not out of the clear. You’ll want to test all the features of your phone.
Turn the Wi-Fi off and test mobile data speeds
Load up a web page with a lot of bright areas and a website with a lot of dark areas to test for dead or stuck pixels
Place a call to test your mic and use your speakerphone to test it as well
Plug in headphones to test the audio port
Test your Bluetooth connection by pairing a device
Test your both cameras by taking a few pictures and recording a short video clip
Test the power port and battery by charging your phone
If any of these still don’t work after a 72-hour wait, your phone is likely damaged. Further waiting might resolve things, but chances are slim.
On the opposite side, keep an eye on work features for the next few days. Just because things are working now, doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear -- there’s still a slim chance things could go wrong.
When trying to save your phone from water damage the important part is to take power out of the picture as quickly as possible.
What you don’t do is just as important as what you do.
But with some patience -- and the help of some common household drying agents -- you can hopefully save your phone
from a watery grave.
P.S. If your phone doesn’t survive, don’t get hasty and throw it away. It’s not worthless. Depending on the features that still work, you might be able to repurpose your phone. Even if you can’t repurpose it, there’s a good chance a recycling service might pay you for your broken phone.
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 Tracfone: 5 Ways to Save a Waterlogged Phone
 Android Authority: How to Fix a Water Damaged Phone
 PSafe Dfndr Blog: Save Your Phone from Water Damage with These Steps
 Wired: Here’s the Right Way to Rescue a Soaking Wet Smartphone
 Tech Advisor UK: How to Dry Out a Phone
 WikiHow: How to Save a Wet Cell Phone
 Gigaom: How to Save a Water-Damaged Cell Phone
 Gazelle: Gazelle’s Guide to Water Damage: The Truth about Rice, the Galaxy and Everything
 Make Use Of: How to Save a Phone or Tablet Dropped in Water
 Staples: Mobile Water Damage? Save Your Smartphone in 3 Steps
 Android Pit: How to Save Your Phone from Water Damage