How to Save A Wet Cell Phone (or other electronic devices)
Ever dropped your cell phone in the sink, or even worse the toilet?
Did you ever leave it in your pocket and run it through the washer? It
usually means you have to replace your phone, but sometimes if you're
fast you can save the phone.
- Remove the Battery. This is one of the most important
steps. Don't take time to think about it, electricity and water do not
mix. Cutting power to your phone is a crucial first step in saving it,
then remove your SIM card,some or all of your valuable contacts could
be stored on your SIM (along with other data). To some people this
could be more worth saving than the phone itself. SIM cards survive
water damage well but some of the following steps are unnecessary i.e.
don't heat it. Just dry it off and leave it aside until you need to
connect your phone to your cellular network.
- Dry your Phone. Obviously you need to remove as much
of the water as soon as you can to prevent it from getting into the
phone. Use a towel or a paper towel to remove as much of the water as
- Soak in Alcohol. Alcohol is hygroscopic (attracts
water), it will dissolve all the water in the phone, which will then
pour out of the phone with the alcohol. Any remaining alcohol will
evaporate. Alcohol will not harm your phone but may mess up glue (from
stickers and the like). Use 95% alcohol, not the regular 70% rubbing
type. Do it outside!. If you use alcohol, do not follow the rest of the advice here, instead leave your phone outside for a day or two to dry.
- Allow the phone to dry. Since you do not want to ruin
your phone or lose all the numbers in your phone book, you need to
allow the phone to dry. Also, ringtones and graphics stay with the
phone - not the SIM. Don't try putting the battery back on to see if it
works as this would risk damaging the phone with a short circuit.
Leaving your phone in a bowl of dry rice will help to expedite moisture
- Heat your Phone. Apply enough heat to your phone to
cause the water to evaporate without waterlogging your digital screen.
One of the best things you can do to save a cell phone is to set it on
the back of your computer monitor or TV screen over the heat vents.
This is usually the perfect amount of heat to fix your phone. The
convection action of the heat vents will help carry away the moisture
in your phone. Leave the phone on the heat for at least 2-3 days.
Another option is to leave it overnight in the oven on warm (make sure
to take off the battery first).
- Test your Phone. After you have waited 3 days, make
sure everything is clean and dry looking and re-attach the battery to
the phone and see if it works. If your phone does not work repeat step
4. If it still won't work, try taking your cell phone to an authorized
dealer. Sometimes they can fix it.
- Don't put the battery on for at least 3 days or longer if your digital screen is foggy.
- Place a piece of satin finish scotch tape over your water
damage sticker before you drop your cell phone in the water to prevent
the water damage sticker from voiding your warranty. This sticker can
usually be found under your battery. It's a small round white sticker,
possibly with dots on it. If this sticker gets wet it changes color and
your phone is marked for water damage.
- Remove the tape if you ever have to return your phone for
repairs or warranty. (See the note in the 'Warnings' section about
- The best way to dry out your phone is to place it in front of
an air conditioner or air conditioning vent. Cold air won't damage your
phone (hot air can warp or in extreme cases even melt plastic), and air
from an air conditioner is dry, and so will evaporate water faster than
you might think (which is why a car air conditioner will de-mist the
windshield so effectively, even if the engine hasn't warmed up yet).
Warm air from a reverse-cycle air conditioner works even better, of
course. If you dry your phone in this way overnight it should be fine
by the morning.
- Use a hairdryer set on warm; it won't melt your head so your phone should be safe.
- Use a food dehydrator.
- Use the oven on the warm setting (make sure to take out the battery)
- Don't heat the battery or it could leak acid. If you use an oven or hairdryer, make sure to remove the battery first.
- If you use alcohol make sure to do so outside, and do not
apply heat in any form, not even the gentle heat of a monitor. Do not
hook up the bettery till the alcohol smell dissipates.
- Do not apply heat to your phone other than mentioned above. You don't want to melt or burn your phone.
- Warranty fraud is naughty! Warranties don't cover water
damage. Insurance does. If you dropped your phone in the can with your
other 'droppings'--are you really going to send it in for a warranty
tech to have to open? Yuck!
- FYI, Most modern phones have more than one liquid damage
indicator on them, only one visible to you (and sales/technician
agents), and chances are, if the sticker under the battery is triggered
(or would be, with the scotch tape trick), then the odds are that the
internal stickers you can't access are tripped as well. This will still
result in you paying a voided-warranty fee in the long run, and it may
be best to just learn from your mistake (and not make it more
- Even if all these steps are followed, minerals dissolved in
the water can precipitate on solder and component pins, causing
corrosion or shorting. Components pins are packed so closely together
in a modern cell phone that even a small encrustation can create a
short, rendering the phone inoperable.
Creation date: Nov 1, 2006 6:52pm Last modified date: Dec 12, 2006 3:52pm Last visit date: May 25, 2020 10:22am