David Papp Blog

How To Rescue A Soaking Wet Smartphone

This situation could happen at any moment. An unexpected thunderstorm, a “waterproof” case leaking, or you get clumsy in the bathroom. These situations happen all the time and it results in a smartphone getting soaking wet.

However just because your phone is wet, it doesn’t mean your phone is lost and you’ll need to get a new one. By being prepared for these situations and having some knowledge, you can rescue your wet smartphone in any situation.

Do keep in mind that these methods don’t 100% guarantee the safety of your phone. However these are still worth trying as you could be a fortunate person and save your phone with these methods. Here is what you need to do.

Get Your Phone Out Of The Water

Obvious I know but people can mess this step up still. For example, say your phone was dropped in the toilet. Most people would run to grab gloves first.

And for the people who do that, they’ve already skipped the first step without realizing.

Because every second of water exposure decreases the odds of your phone making it out.

So instead, regardless of whether it’s in the toilet or in a nasty puddle or whatever, the priority isn’t to get gloves or some cloth to protect your hand. Just pick up the phone and get the phone away from more water.

From there you want to find a dry place where you can get to work on the next step. Some clever ways of protecting your phone after retrieving it is putting it in a plastic bag or wrapping material around it to block more liquid from entering.

Turn It Off And Remove Everything

When someone is in an emergency room, their clothes get cut off immediately rather than carefully removed. The reason for this is simple: seconds matter. You need to be treating your phone in the same manner which means the case should be removed and any accessories that are on it.

If your phone was plugged in when water was spilled on it, be sure to pull it out at the wall socket. Water and electricity do not mix well so you want to be careful about where you remove it.

If your phone didn’t automatically shut down, power it off now. After that you want to be removing the insides where you can.

For iPhones, this means getting the SIM card out if you’re using one. For Android it’s the microSD card and with some other models it’s the battery too.

In the end, anything that can be removed from your phone should be. The more you can open up on the phone, the less water will be trapped inside.

Of course, the components mentioned above could also be damaged by water so drying them off is smart too.

Dry With A Lint-Free Towel

For those of you who wear glasses or own DSLR cameras, you have an upper hand over most people in this situation as you have access to lint-free towels to clean those lenses. Well, you’re going to need one of those to dry off your phone.

If you don’t have one, you’ll have to improvise with paper towel or a washcloth.

In the end, the goal is remove as much water as you can. The front and back of your phone should be completely dry by the time you’re done. You’ll also want to focus on getting the cloth into the holes of the phone too like the charging port, headphone jack, SIM slot, and the other pocket areas you spot.

Find Other Options To Dry It

The previous step only covers the surface water as cloths can’t go inside of the phone itself. As a result, you’ll need to find a way to remove liquid from inside of your phone. There are three options that will vary depending on how well you’ve planned for this.

Regardless of what option you pick, never try to use high heat to speed up this process. Putting your phone on top of a radiator for hours or blasting hot air with a hairdryer or fan heater will only damage the inside of your phone.

Option 1: Emergency Kit

There are a few premade kit options available to deal with soaked phones. One particular kit is called Nine Lives. These kits are very straightforward with what you need to be doing and this entire method is to be following their instructions.

In the case of Nine Lives, all you need to do is put your phone inside, seal the top, and let it sit for at least 24 hours.

The idea with that kit is that it’ll use desiccants to absorb the moisture and reduce humidity inside of your phone.

Keeping one of these kits at the back of your cupboard could end up saving you hundreds of dollars on a new phone so it’s smart to keep one handy. Furthermore bringing one with you while travelling or keeping one in the glove compartment of your car is good too.

The one thing to keep in mind with these kits is that these are one-shot deals. Once they’re done, you’ll need to get a new kit.

Option 2: Smartphone In Rice

Your second option is a tried and true method you’ve heard plenty of times and that’s put the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice.

It’s not the most ideal method, however if you lack these kits, this is a method that’s worth trying out if you’ve got rice nearby. All that being said, there are few small details that you can do with this method that can make this method better:

  • First, make sure your phone is powered off, taken apart as much as possible, and completely dry on the outside and in the charging port.
  • If you’ve got a container with a lid, use that over a soup bowl or regular bowl with no lid.
  • Put the other components that were removed from your phone in with the rice too.
  • Put the rice and phone under a source that provides mild heat like a desk lamp to start the evaporation process.
  • Give this process as long as you can. In an ideal world, giving it 48 hours or more would be nice but as a minimum you should try to keep everything submerged overnight. The longer the better though that doesn’t guarantee it’ll be fixed.
  • Before reassembling everything, be wary of grains of rice inside of your phone. Check the sockets and charging ports in particular. A wooden or plastic toothpick will be enough to remove any grains. Just avoid metal as it’ll damage electrical parts.

Option 3: Airing It Out

With no other option left, the last method you can try out is to find an area where there is air movement. Like the other methods above, the goal is to start the evaporation process. With that in mind, some solid options would be electric fans (not hot air dryers). If not, a laptop, cable box, or even a TV could work as these have exhaust vents.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you also don’t want dirty air to be blowing onto your phone so make sure the blades of the fan or the air vents are clean of obvious dust and dirt.

From there, rest the phone at an angle with the charging port or SIM card slot pointing down. Water should be flowing out of the device by doing this. Put a paper towel or cloth underneath it to absorb whatever gets drained.

Like the previous option, the longer you can air it out the better. At least give it overnight.