5 Steps for Drying Out a Wet Cell Phone

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The majority of people on this earth will go through the frantic ordeal of handling a wet cell phone at some point in their life - it's inevitable. After all, 70 percent of Earth's surface is covered by water, right? The funny thing is, it's not an ocean or other major body of water where most of these people are getting their cell phones wet. Nope, it's in the most common areas they come across in their day-to-day activities:

  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Fish bowls
  • Cups of coffee
  • Pools or spas
  • Bowls of cereal or soup
  • Bathtubs
  • Puddles
  • Urinals

If you've become a victim of this common, short circuit dilemma, then read on to discover the necessary steps for drying out a wet cell phone.

Step 1: Cut the Power

Chances are your cell phone has automatically turned off after its quick dip in the toilet. The first thing you need to do when drying out a wet cell phone is cut the power. Do this by removing the battery. If your cell phone does not have a removable battery, then good luck to you. Just continue with this step-by-step process and hope for the best. And one last thing: Do not attempt to turn on the cell phone once it's wet!

Step 2: Remove the SIM Card

If it turns out your cell phone cannot be saved, you'll want to at least salvage any information it contained. Do this by removing the cell phone's SIM card and setting it aside while you attempt this repair.

Step 2.5 (Optional): Dip the Cell Phone in Fresh Water

This step is mainly for anyone who has dropped their cell phone in salt water; salt is corrosive and can further damage your phone. Run it through fresh water to rinse out the salt.

Step 3: Quick Dry

Stop! Put down the hair dryer and back away from the wet cell phone! Don't toss it in the oven or set it out in the sun either. And please, please, please do not pop it in the microwave. The heat from an oven, hair dryer or extended time under direct sunlight can completely destroy a cell phone's internals and microwaving something that emits radiation...is just bad news. If you want to quickly dry out that wet piece of technology, you only have three options:

  1. Compressed air: A can of compressed air, which is commonly used to clean keyboards or other electronic components, can be used for a quick dry.
  2. Vacuum cleaner: Suck out that moisture from your cell phone with a vacuum cleaner.
  3. Heating vents: The heating vents on a TV or computer can emit just the right amount of heat to dry out the moisture on a wet cell phone. You'll want to carefully monitor the drying process and make sure the cell phone is not getting too hot. This is probably the riskiest method of giving your wet cell phone a quick dry.

Step 4: Absorb the Moisture

This is the finishing touch to ensure your cell phone is completely dry and probably the most important step to this drying process:

  • Fill a sealable container with dry, uncooked rice.
  • Bury the cell phone in the rice, making sure it is completely covered.
  • Seal the container and let the rice absorb any moisture from the phone for several days. Allowing the cell phone to sit in the rice for several days will ensure the moisture has completely been removed. To be safe, you can let the cell phone sit in its rice bed for up to a week.

Step 5: Turning the Cell Phone Back On

Once you feel the cell phone is completely dry, remove it from its rice bed and insert the battery and SIM card. Charge the phone for several hours, turn it back on and hope for the best.

Extra Tips for Drying Out a Wet Cell Phone

  • Avoid the temptation of using excessive heat to dry out your cell phone. Overheating a wet cell phone can warp its components and melt its adhesives.
  • You can use silica gel instead of rice to remove moisture from the cell phone. Silica gels are the little pouches you commonly find with clothing or electronics to keep moisture out.
  • Just about any type of rice can be used for drying out a wet cell phone, as long as it is dry and uncooked. Go with the common brown or white rice since they are easily obtainable from the local grocery.
  • If you are going to leave the cell phone buried in rice for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to switch out the rice every few days to get the best results.

Before you consider tossing that wet cell phone in the trash, try out these steps to see if it can be salvaged. Hopefully, you'll be able to resurrect your cell phone from its watery grave and you can avoid having to purchase a new cell phone since water damage isn't covered by most cell phone companies.

Last Updated: June 6, 2014
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About Matthew Cenzon Matthew Cenzon has been writing for numerous publications since 2003, covering topics ranging from health and nutrition to the real estate industry. He is one of the contributing writers for IdealHomeGarden.com, and is a college graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with degrees in English and Asian literature. Matthew’s interest in interior design and home improvement stem from his background working in the residential real estate appraisal business for over five years, where he witnessed many of the Do's and Don'ts of home decor.

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