5 Tricks to Save a Wet Cell Phone

When a cell phone gets wet, you may think there's no way to save it. However, there are some things you can do to recover the situation. Discover 5 tricks in this article!
5 Tricks to Save a Wet Cell Phone

Last update: 12 August, 2021

For a lot of people, a common fear is that their cell phone will come into contact with water and be left useless. There are many ways this can happen: your device could fall into a swimming pool, you could expose it to torrential rain or drop it in the toilet. However, there are a few things that can save a wet cell phone.

Acting quickly is essential if you want to have a chance of recovering it, since reacting immediately can prevent water from seeping into the most delicate areas. Below are the tricks that may just help save your wet cell phone.

1. Turn off the phone

If the phone is on when it gets wet, the first thing to do is to turn it off immediately. Rushing to see if it’s still working okay is the most lethal enemy in these cases, as the water can cause a short circuit and melt your phone.

In addition, you should remove the battery, SIM card and SD cards. By doing so you’ll prevent water from getting into these parts.

2. Dry the cell phone thoroughly

After you’ve turned off the phone, dry the entire device with a soft cloth. It’s important to remember to choose a towel or cloth that won’t scratch the materials or leave cotton residues.

You’ll need to dry both the outside and inside; the idea is to get all moisture out of all the tiny hollows. Likewise, all slots should be left open and free to dry.

Using a cold air vacuum cleaner can also be very useful because it helps draw out any water that wasn’t removed by the cloth. Finally, you should leave the phone, battery and SIM card on absorbent towels to help coax out any remaining liquid.

A microfiber cloth being used to clean glasses.
A microfiber cloth, such as those often used for cleaning glasses, is a good absorbent option that leaves no residue.

3. Put the wet cell phone in a bowl of rice

The rice technique is one of the best known, and it’s not a myth. This food is great at absorbing water.

Even so, you should know that this trick will save a wet cell phone in some cases and in others it won’t. It depends on how advanced the damage is.

To try this solution, place the phone in a container with a large amount of rice. It’s important to make sure to remove any cases and accessories that will prevent ventilation and drying.

The recommended time to leave the phone in the rice is between 24 and 48 hours. It’s also essential to change the position of the device so that the rice can absorb the humidity from all areas.

4. Use bags of silica gel

Silica gel is an absorbent packet that has long been used by clothing, footwear and luggage companies to keep their products free of all traces of moisture. Because of this, you can often find a little bag of it inside new garments.

These can be a great alternative to save damaged cell phones because they’re designed to dry the environment and they absorb considerable amounts of moisture, even more than rice. To use them, all you have to do is to put the phone in a container and cover it with several bags of silica. The recommended time is also 1 to 2 days maximum.

5. Use cat litter

Cat litter is another great liquid absorber. As such, it can be a lifesaver for repairing wet cell phones.

Even companies that specialize in cell phones use this technique now. Just leave the device in a bag with a good amount of litter and wait for it to act.

3 things to avoid when trying to save a wet cell phone

Just as there are various tricks to try to save a wet cell phone, there are also things that make the situation worse. Here are 3 things to avoid.

1. Don’t shake the phone

One of the most common mistakes is to start shaking the phone vigorously or in multiple directions. All this achieves is to move the water all through the device and get it into parts that weren’t wet before.

Similarly, blowing on the phone isn’t recommendable either, because rather than drying it, this just continues to spread the liquid through the device.

2. Don’t use heat

Hairdryers are not a friend of wet cell phones, as the temperature can overheat some connections and cause irreparable damage. In the same way, it’s not a good idea to leave the phone near other devices that give off constant or high heat.

A woman dries her hands with an air dryer.
Hairdryers and hand dryers, if you’re in a public restroom, don’t improve the situation. This type of heat is not recommended.

3. Don’t turn the phone on

You shouldn’t turn the phone on again until all the water has completely dried out. The only thing you’ll achieve if you try this out of desperation is to make the situation worse.

Controlling your panic is vital to save a wet cell phone

Uncertainty, desperation and lack of patience take over when cell phones suffer a water accident. However, despite the fact that immediate action is key, there are things you need to avoid; things that may seem like they’ll help with the process, but end up making the situation worse.

The heat from microwaves, dryers and stoves is the enemy when it comes to drying out a wet phone. In the midst of the chaos, you might think this will speed up the drying process, but the truth is that it overheats the electrical components and can cause short circuits.

In addition, being patient and respecting drying times is a key factor for the rice, silica gel and cat litter tricks to have more chance of working.

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  • Editorial de electrónica y servicio. Electrónica y servicio: servicio a teléfonos celulares en hardware y software [Internet]. México: México Digital Comunicación S.A; 2014. [citado 25 de mayo de 2021]