How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

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Introduction: How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

This instructable will cover two ways that can help you repair a "wet" phone. As water damage varies from case to case, there is no guarantees that this will work in your case, but it is worth a try!

It is important to know that these procedures will NOT void warranty. However, if your phone has been water damaged, there is a large chance your warranty is already void! On newer phones, there is usually a sticker in the battery bay that is used to tell the manufacturer when a phone has been "water damaged" which allows the manufacturer to then cancel the warranty. This sticker is usually round in shape, and starts off white when it is not wet. Although, I think my samsung a900M started with brown and went to black.

If neither of these methods work, and your sticker is still it's original color, try to have your phone serviced under warranty.

CAUTION: Before attempting ANY method in this instructable, remove the battery, battery door, and SIM card if applicable, and place them in a safe location!

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any damages to your phone as a result of you attempting any of these methods, do so at your own risk.

Step 1: Understanding the Problem

When your phone got wet, it most likely got some moisture trapped inside it. This moisture causes the phone to behave very funny, and possibly not even power up.
This is due to the conductivity of water (It's ability to have electrical current pass through it.) This moisture can bridge certain connections in your phone, causing these behaviors.

Even though your phone may behave fine at first, it is better to dry the phone before use anyways, as the water that remains inside can be moved around, and cause issues later.

So what to remember, is that after exposing your phone to moisture, you want to nullify the moisture inside.

Step 2: Prepping the Phone for "repair"

As we discussed in the last step, we want to make the water either dry up, or we can use a "Neutralizer" technique that allows it to become not as conductive.

The first thing we need to do is remove the battery and battery door and place them in a safe spot. This is because the phone can air out better without the battery, we don't want to damage the battery, and we also reduce the amount of live circuits that the water can short out.

Step 3: Method One: Heat It Up!

I live in Arizona, and here in the sunny state of AZ, we have an abundance of swimming pools. My phone has gone for a swim many times in the past few weeks, and this method was tried and proved each time.

Fortunately, here in Arizona, I can take off the battery and leave the phone in the sun, on a towel to prevent heat damage from surface contact, for about 20 minutes and it's good to go! Your timing may vary depending on how hot the sun is, but this method is my preferred.

Pretty simple, remove the battery door and battery, place them inside, place a rag out in the sun and put the rest of the phone on that. Depending on how hot of a day it is, bring the phone inside for a bit if it ever gets hot to the touch (overheating can damage LCD screens.)

Step 4: Method 2: Freeze It!

The second method consists of freezing the water inside the phone. This is by far my favorite method if your outside temperature does not go over 80 F.

Again, we start by taking out the battery.
Place the phone on two or three layers of paper towel to prevent frost damage.
Leave it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes and take it out to test it, if it still doesn't work, leave it out for about 5 to 10 minutes then try again. Electrical components are fairly tolerant to cold, however depending on your screen, it is best to play it safe and just leave it out of the freezer for a bit to keep from damaging it. I haven't researched LCD or Plasma screens, so if anyone knows what temperatures they hold up to, let us know!

That's cool, but why does it work?

Freezing the phone works a little differently on a technical level than heating it up does.
When the water molecules inside become Ice or frost, they are less conductive (I believe due to the spacing of molecules?) thus preventing the phone from "shorting out."

This method my also lead to the problem acting up again as the phone thaws, or a worse problem acting up as the phone thaws and the water moves to a different spot.
It is also of note, that some electronic components are 'surface mounted', which results in tiny space between the component and the circuit board it self. This means that if water manages to get underneath the components and is then frozen, it can expand and cause further issues. However, in my opinion, the possibility of water getting under there with the phone only being submerged for a little while, is pretty slim.

Step 5: Unverified Methods

The following are methods that I have not verified myself. Next time my phone gets wet, I'll try some out!

1: The oven
It is said that placing the phone in the oven for a few hours at about 125 F. will solve the problem. This method sounds likely, but I would recommend taking it out now and then to test it and let it cool! And don't forget to remove the battery, cover, and SIM card!

UPDATE:
User Carolradtech has tried this method, and said the following.
I successfully baked my wet cell phone on 125 for 40 minutes and the phone is now fixed. ...the unverified baking method is now verified.

2: Rice
It has also been reported that placing the phone in a bowl of rice while putting it in the sun allows the moisture to absorb faster. As the water evaporates into steam, the dry rice can absorb it rather than have it re-condense elsewhere inside the phone.

3: Silica!
This one is similar to the rice method, it just utilizes a better drying agent. Ya know those little packets that come in jerky, new shoes, purses, backpacks, whatever, that say "DO NOT EAT" all over them? The contain little balls of a chemical called "silica." Place these in a bag with the phone, and toss it in the sun! This is potentially the best method I have heard of. It is also of note that craft shops sell silica as a flower drying agent.

4: Give it booze!
Well not exactly.. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is non-conductive. It is said that if you get some, put it in a cup or a bucket, and swirl the phone around in there, it will rinse out the water and likely even clean some dust deposits! This will prevent any further "bridging" of connections as it is non-conductive, and alcohol evaporates super fast.
A few words of caution: I would try this only with the bottom half of your phone if you have a flip-phone, as I am not sure how the screen will react. Also, I wouldn't attempt it with anything less than 91% isopropyl.

Last but not least..
5: Open it up and air dry!
This is the best method hands down, but it will sacrifice any sort of warranty you had. I do NOT recommend this method unless you are entirely comfortable with it.

Step 6: Rrport Your Success/failure!

Now your phone hopefully functions as good as new! Let us all know how it worked (or didn't) and keep your information-lifeline away from swimming pools!

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Tips

Questions

Phone dropped in the toilet. Lost touch screen. My question is in regards to the Sim or memory cards. Can they be water damaged? How about recovery of contact information. I had it when I put the memory card and Sim card into a new phone but now I don't have contact info. I do have pictures that had been taken.
Thanks.

107 Comments

Very good post indeed. I have also wrote an article about How to Fix a Wet Phone and What You Should Never Do? A very detailed instruction. Anyone who needs help can read my post too.

i would like some help if anyone can help me my phone got wet while washing the dishes so it got wet along with the dish washer fairy but my phone did not switch off and i have a screen protecter and cover so i switched my phone off and put it in rice how long should i keep it for? is the steps i did good? do think my phone will work again?

I dropped my phone into the basin last night and was soaking wet, i could still turn on the phone and use it perfectly normal. however there was still a few drops of water in the rear camera.

after a night in the dehumidifier all the moisture was out and working like normal

Use a vacuum cleaner. remove the battery and SIM (if possible) IMMEDIATELY!! Wrap your hand around the hose end so you can make a "seal" to the phone. Go all around the battery opening and switches, headphone jack etc.It works in a few minutes as opposed to the desiccant method (rice, silica) which are recommended to take 24-48 hours in a bag or container. The best thing is to get the water out AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It may not work for puke (or puck like spelled below) because it has stomach acid in it. In that case actually rinse the phone in cold clean water (assuming you already removed the battery) and then vacuum it immediately.

Hey my phone got wet i got it dried but when i turned it on the display was perfect but the touch screen is not working at all i have tried every method they told when i did some research so can you please help and tell me how should i get my touch screen work

My phone had got damp (not soaking wet, but some moisture got inside) and would not turn on anymore, even after waiting a couple hours. But I thought about putting it in the refrigerator because I knew that it dried things out (e.g. would dry foods no properly wrapped). So I put my phone on the fridge door for about 30 mins. Took it out, put battery and everything back in, and it turned on like normal. So I can confirm that for my case, the refrigerator may help with a moisture problem.

Rice really does work!!! I dropped my phone down the toilet last night and didnt know what to do so in the morning i did some research and was told to use rice. I dismantled my phone and put it in a travel mug full of rice and its already being more responsive than before! I cant send texts and the time is messed up but apart from that its almost ok.

Rice can't help a wet phone. Rice absorbs water that is in contact with it, not water that's in the air, otherwise you could sit a bowl of dry rice out in the morning in a humid environment and come home to dinner. If rice "saved" your wet phone, you got lucky and it had nothing to do with the rice. For what you should really do, visit the blog www.riceisfordinner.com

it actually does. put it in a plastic bag with rice on a heating pad on and off for a day Works like charm. Have saved several phones ans so have others i have told

My son pucked on my phone a Samsung s5 it was only covered in vomit for a whole of a couple minutes, I cleaned it off took the battery out and put in rice in an air tight container over night. It turns on but does not charge it's on 5% now and I dunno what to do?! I can't afford to loose the phone as it has all my sons baby pictures on it, so any tips will help thanks guys ?