It happens to all of us eventually. Maybe it's a spilled drink, or a dip in the toilet, or a drop into a puddle, but the end result is a wet cellphone. In order to avoid expensive repair costs or being forced to buy an entirely new phone, wet cellphones need to be dried quickly to prevent damage. Here are some tips on how to dry a wet phone, as well as what to avoid to accidentally damage a phone even further.
Before You Dry Your Phone, Remember To:
Remove It From Water
Before any drying can commence, you must first remove your phone from whatever source of liquid it was soaked in to begin with. Fish it out of the toilet, take it out of a puddle, save it from the washing machine; wherever it ended up, get it to safety as quickly as possible. The faster it's taken away, the more likely it is that it can avoid serious damage.
Don't Press Buttons
Resist the urge to test your phone to see if it still works. Pressing buttons can allow liquids to leak further into the phone or cause a short circuit when the device is activated. Unless it's absolutely necessary, do not press any buttons until the phone is completely dry.
Turn Off The Phone
This would be the exception to pressing buttons. Before any drying can take place, it's necessary to turn off the phone. This prevents any further chance of a short and keeps any buttons from being used while the device is being dried.
Remove The Battery
Like turning off the power, removing the battery is a safety precaution. This step can be used in place of turning off the phone, as well, as taking advantage of a phone designed in a way that allows you to remove the battery immediately will lessen the risk of accidentally shorting it out while trying to turn it off. Remove the battery as soon as possible when a phone becomes wet, but if you can't, simply turn off the power as instructed previously.
Remove Any Cases Or Accessories
To help air out the phone, remove any kind of external accessories attached to it. This includes things like cases, which you've likely already taken off if you removed the battery previously. Additionally, memory cards, SIM cards, or battery covers should also be removed if your phone has these. To dry them, simply wipe them off with a clean cloth and allow them to sit out in the air off to the side while you work on your phone.
What NOT To Do When Drying Your Phone
In order to properly dry a wet cell phone, it's important to first cover what kind of things you shouldn't do when drying one, as well. To be frank, many of the "common sense" tricks to drying electronics are actually more harmful than helpful and can cause serious damage to a wet phone. While some of these may seem outlandish, all five of these items are common ways people use to break their phones while attempting to dry them off.
A blow dryer is a first option for many attempting to save a wet phone, but it's actually one of the easiest ways to ensure its demise. The air from a blow dryer may work to dry out wet hair, but it will likely have a much different result when used on a phone.
Because of the strength of the airflow produced by the dryer, water particles won't have the time needed to evaporate off the surface and will likely end up forced deeper inside of a phone, potentially damaging precious systems that were previously untouched. Additionally, the heat produced by a dryer can quickly melt or damage delicate internal components of the phone. While you might end up with a dry phone, it likely won't be turning on again any time soon.
Similar to a blow dryer, a compressed air duster or air compressor can damage your phone by forcing water deeper into the systems, rather than drying it off or blowing water off the surface.
Under no circumstances should you place a phone in an oven. No matter how low the oven is set or how little the length of time it will be inside, trying to dry a phone in an oven will only lead to a disaster. While it will likely be extremely effective in drying your phone, it will also result in melting the plastic and burning the internals. Unless your aim is an unusable hunk of plastic, do not try to bake a phone.
Freezing a wet phone will not help the drying process. Logically, water trapped inside a phone will not magically disappear when it becomes colder. Rather than evaporating, the water will just freeze, potentially expanding and causing even more damage. Additionally, the wet environment of a freezer gives the potential for even further water damage by the time it's taken out.
While it may be most people's first instinct to shake something wet, doing so could spell disastrous for a drenched cellphone. Shaking a phone could throw off the water on the outside, but for any water trapped within, it will likely be much less effective. Even if you do succeed in eliminating any water from the inside, that water will have splashed around inside the phone and moisten many other areas that may have been untouched previously, potentially causing further damage.
How To Dry a Wet Phone:
Now that you know what not to do when drying your cell phone, you can learn about some tips that will actually help you dry your phone after an accident.
While air drying isn't necessarily the best option, it can be effective if you don't have anything else on hand. Air drying comes with its own set of risks, like letting water sit inside your phone for extended periods of time. As long as you leave it alone and in an open, well ventilated area, though, it should be dry within a few hours or by the next day.
Cloth drying is effective at removing water from the surface of your phone, but won't do much to help water trapped inside of it. When drying, avoid turning the phone over too much, as that can cause water to drip into other areas and potentially damage it further.
While air drying a phone, you can amplify the effects and help increase the speed at which a phone dries out by leaving it under a light, such as on a windowsill in the sun or under a desk lamp. The key is to avoid any light source that will get too hot, as excessive heat will damage a phone. Soft lighting, though, will raise the temperature without heating it too excessively, avoiding damage while shortening the amount of time it takes to air dry.
Unorthodox as it sounds, using a vacuum to suck up any moisture on and inside a phone can be effective at drying it off quickly. While blowing air will only push water further into your device, sucking the air out will take water with it. This method isn't recommended usually, though, as it can be cumbersome to do effectively and comes with the chance of a static discharge if you haven't grounded yourself prior to using the vacuum against the phone.
Cat litter is designed to suck up moisture. However, it usually contains a large amount of small particles and dust which, while effective at pulling wetness out of your phone, can become trapped inside and potentially cause damage all on its own. If you're planning to use cat litter to deal with a wet phone, try wrapping it in a loose paper towel first, creating a barrier that allows water to be pulled out while blocking the litter from getting in.
Just like cat litter, rice is great at absorbing moisture and is many people's first idea when it comes to saving a wet phone. Instant rice is even more effective than the regular uncooked version, too. However, while rice is less likely to break into tiny pieces and clog up the inside of a phone, being cautious can't hurt. Remember to use a paper towel like mentioned before to ensure your phone is protected while drying out in a container of uncooked rice.
Silica Gel Packets
Companies package things with silica gel packets specifically to prevent moisture taking hold inside the packaging. If you happen to have any on hand, toss a few into a sealed container with a wet phone and allow them to absorb the moisture. Ones that have already been saturated or otherwise used up can be reused, too, by simply applying a decent amount of heat and letting the water trapped within evaporate.
These next two methods are more uncommon, but still effective at drying out a wet phone. They weren't included with the main list due to it being less likely for people to have these materials on hand during a phone emergency.
Phone Drying Kit
Certain retailers carry specially designed phone drying kits you can purchase, typically for less than $10. These kits contain a pouch for sealing and a powerful desiccant that absorbs any and all nearby moisture. Most kits have a shelf life of around five years, as even when not in use the desiccant will continue absorbing moisture and will eventually become entirely saturated.
While removing a liquid with a liquid may sound counter-intuitive, 99% isopropyl alcohol is actually extremely effective at absorbing other forms of moisture into itself. Not only that, it's great for removing stains, rinsing out mineral or dirt deposits, and sanitizing things it comes in contact with, leaving your phone cleaner after it dries (especially helpful if your phone wound up in the toilet). The evaporation rate of isopropyl alcohol is much higher than pure water, as well, meaning it will take less time to dry your phone completely doused in alcohol as opposed to other liquids.
Recap and Conclusion
Drying a wet phone should be done quickly, as every second wasted means a greater likelihood of damage or ruination. Most critically is to allow any moisture on or in a phone to dry completely before attempting to use it again, as activating electronics drenched in water can cause a short circuit and permanently destroy them. If all goes well and you've followed these tips, you should have a fully dried and fully functional phone once more within a day's time.
What To Do If A Dried Phone Does Not Turn On
If a dried phone still refuses to activate or shows signs of some kind of damage or malfunction, further action will be required to try and save the phone. In these cases, wetting a phone with isopropyl alcohol may be the key, since the most likely culprit for non-critical problems in a phone would be residue or debris left over after the drying process. If alcohol does not fix the issues with your phone, you may need to take it to a professional or simply resolve to buy a new one if nothing can be done to save it.
Thank You For Reading
Thank you for using this guide on how to dry out a wet phone. If you have further questions or need help with other tech problems, try browsing the site for other informative articles on similar topics and advice on how to fix common issues from knowledgeable professionals.
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