JanSt

Save your wet phone

Ideally you only drop your phone in a bucket of water when you're right outside a phone repair shop. But how boring and impractical is that?

So, what to do?
- take out the battery as fast as you can (if you have an iPhone or Nokia N8, you have little choice: take it straight to the hospital ASAP)

- DON'T SHAKE IT!!!!!! I know I know: instinct says, shake off that water, but for every drop that you manage to shake off, your wild gesturing will also push water deeper into the phone's nether regions. DON'T TRY TO SHAKE IT TRY!

- Battery cover and battery removed, take off any and all other easily removable parts: sd-card covers, usb-covers, clip-on covers...anything removable, remove it.

- Some guides suggest flushing the water out with ALCOHOL. Good in theory, but a) again, you risk flushing water deeper into the phone, and b) alcohol can dissolve certain adhesives used in the manufacturing process.

- if you dropped the phone into salt water or a really murky ditch, by all means, flush it - ideally with purified water or clean tap water (the salt and dirt particles are worse than the additional water).

- then dry it. DON'T use a blow drier, though. a) again, you risk blowing water into the phone, and b) the heat can cause damage. INSTEAD place the phone (minus battery/-cover etc) in a dry, warm place. And leave it there for at least 2 days! Ideally a week.

- to give the drying process a push, you can place the phone carefully into a thin sock or wrap it into another piece of thin natural fabric, and place the package on top of a layer of dry rice in a tupperware container - the rice will absorb the moisture faster than air. BUT DON'T COVER the tupperware container airtight. Place the lid loosely on top, and store the thing in a dry, warm place overnight.

- after 2 days minimum, you can reassemble your phone and see if it works. But don't gloat: It can take weeks for damage to show. The clips on youtube that show iPhones etc work just fine after a dive, they never ask the owner 4 weeks later.

THAT IS WHY you should still take the phone to a reputable repair place ASAP!

Anyone have additional tips?

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13 comments

Bradder  Feb. 7, 2011 at 17:10

Been told to put a phone in a container of dry rice as it soaks up water very well.

Bradder  Feb. 7, 2011 at 17:11

Sorry forgot to add, yes it did save it amazingly.

Infinite Element  Feb. 7, 2011 at 17:17

I work in a phone shop and we don't bother repairing liquid damaged phones. Liquid damage can cause so many different nagging intermittent problems that it doesn't help our company's reputation if we attempt to repair one and fail. My personal advice is to get your insurance company to replace it. Check with your bank: sometimes they cover your mobile phone for physical damage. Check your buildings and contents policy. Liquid damage is classed as physical damage.

Of course, sometimes you need information from the phone, in which case - by all means - go through all the methods mentioned above. Equally, some phones may not be worth the excess of the insurance company, in which case trying the above methods doesn't cost you anything, so it's worth a try.

I think you've summed it up, though. The only thing I'd say is, if you have wet your phone and it appears to be working okay, for the love of god, back up your data while it is still working. Store your numbers on your SIM card, ensure your pictures are on your memory card. Because, as you say, 4 weeks down the line, the phone may stop working entirely, in which case nothing's retrievable.

Infinite Element  Feb. 7, 2011 at 17:21

One more thing: if you do claim under buildings and contents insurance, ensure the damage happened inside your home, otherwise it won't be covered.

[Note to mobot: please let me edit my comments... I'm renowned for remembering something after posting!]

LordCarnarvon  Feb. 7, 2011 at 18:54

I had this happen to me once too. Let it sit as long as possible. I've also had luck with other electronics. Revived a command start remote that went through the wash.

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 7, 2011 at 19:34

Infinite Element,
you're right, I should have made the point that the phone repair guy probably cannot fix a water damaged phone, but if your phoje kissed the bucket, it helps to have the tools and kbow how to take it completely apart and thus give a chance to dry out as fast as possible, causing less corrosion etc ...
As I said, the seemingly saved device may well develop faults weeks and weeks after the swim, but at least you can still save all your data.
Thanks for the comments :)

And PS, I used the method above on my E71 when it had spend a good half hour in a ditch. A year later it still works perfectly, although there are some 'smudges' under the screen cover.

doctorcharles  Feb. 8, 2011 at 13:57

I know someone who had their phone laundered at a hotel whilst on business,he left it in his trousers. Phone arrived back dry and still working. Nokia 6310i - classic phone, rugged and apparently washing machine proof. Not sure an iPhone would survive that!

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 8, 2011 at 16:27

Lucky, eh... lol
Don't try that at home.

LordCarnarvon  Apr. 14, 2011 at 16:03

Let it dry very thoroughly and you have a hope.

Proctologist  Jul. 11, 2012 at 16:08

Better than rice, use some silica gel; that's the stuff you get in a little bag inside electronic equipment packing with 'Do Not Eat' written on it (LOL). Reacivate it by placing it in a warm oven for half an hour (NOT a microwave!!) Then put the package, phone and its associated bits into a small plastic food container with a tight-fitting lid and leave it for a few days.

When I was in the army I laid hold of a big cotton bag of silica gel; I don't know what it was meant to protect but it weighs almost a kilo! I've used it like this to save cameras, lenses and other important stuff more than a few times.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 12, 2012 at 09:53

Better than rice, use some silica gel; that's the stuff you get in a little bag inside electronic equipment packing with 'Do Not Eat' written on it (LOL). Reacivate it by placing it in a warm oven for half an hour (NOT a microwave!!) Then put the package, phone and its associated bits into a small plastic food container with a tight-fitting lid and leave it for a few days.

When I was in the army I laid hold of a big cotton bag of silica gel; I don't know what it was meant to protect but it weighs almost a kilo! I've used it like this to save cameras, lenses and other important stuff more than a few times.

True. You can also buy wet-phone rescue kits in some phone shops. Basically a silicate-lined bag you place the phone into!
But rice is something a lot of people have in the house anyways. And it's not semi-toxic waste after use.

CTPAHHIK  Jul. 12, 2012 at 10:47

Alcohol does not help for flushing - it mixes with water and after some time alcohol will evaporate, but water still stays. If you need to clean your phone alcohol (preferably 100% one) does the job, but it's useless at sucking out water.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 12, 2012 at 11:47

Alcohol does not help for flushing - it mixes with water and after some time alcohol will evaporate, but water still stays. If you need to clean your phone alcohol (preferably 100% one) does the job, but it's useless at sucking out water.
True... in fact alcohol can destroy adhesives inside the phone.
If you think you need to flush the phone because it fell into a dirty, sticky liquid, use purified/distilled water. Then disassemble, let try & pray... again: if it still work once dried, back it up, because the damage can show weeks later!

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