Introduction: How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

Picture of 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"

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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!

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!


POMMIER45 (author)2017-03-11

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.

asl.abunayla (author)2017-03-11

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?

seone (author)2016-11-10

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

MLW69Z (author)2016-08-29

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.

poojas49 (author)2016-07-05

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

BrentA15 (author)2016-06-12

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.

KatP14 (author)2016-06-08

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.

tdenison1 (author)2015-02-17

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

lesia7211 (author)tdenison12016-04-18

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

NatashaP14 (author)2016-04-12

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 ?

JohnS718 (author)2016-03-31



Dominiqueb1 (author)2014-11-03

my phone got wet put in rice now it comes on and everything but the only issue is that it wont respond to my touch I cant unlock my touchscreen cuh it will not respond to it wat should I do

maeve-q (author)Dominiqueb12015-11-30

I was just wondering if you ever found a solution to this? The same thing has happened my phone and I'm worried I'll have to buy a brand new phone

ShaylynnC (author)maeve-q2015-12-16

Have you foun a solution? My iPhone fell in the toilet and wont respond to touch.

gamma1148 (author)2015-04-21

I can certify that the rubbing alcohol trick works. My wife's slider phone back in the day took the toilet plunge. I recovered it, washed it off with clean water, then plopped it into a cup of isopropyl alcohol for 4 hours. I then air dried it and blow dried it. Next time I wouldn't let it sit so long, as the alcohol damaged the screen, but the phone worked for about another year afterwards.

UgetWhatUgive (author)2015-02-17

As a side note, I am trying to remain optimistic, to some extent, after having read about the freezer technique, but honestly, I'm worried. Some great information posted! Thank you!
I would add that, as you stated, nothing more than gently wiping dry, should ever be done with a sim card or battery! NEVER EXPOSE YOUR BATTERY TO EXCESSIVE HEAT! Best of luck to all!

UgetWhatUgive (author)2015-02-17

Have a lost smartphone. Hope I'm wrong, but suspect it's somewhere in the yard under 8 + inches of snow! Just got it. Was researching apps to place parental restrictions on it, antivirus and ironically, finding a lost phone program. Before I got the chance, my teen liberated it &, downloaded games & played it till the battery ran down, shoved into his pocket. Little did I know when I purchased it, but apparently this is no ordinary phone. According to my son, it's capabilities defy all logic, reason & the laws of physics! Remarkably, it seems to have dematerialized, transported itself elsewhere & is now concealed by invisibility or camouflage, as he's "looked EVERYWHERE!" Before I notify nasa, I figured I'd go with my instincts & assume it's gonna turn up in a melting snow bank several days from now! I've used the silica packets numerous times before with great success, but not ever with a smartphone after days of snow & possibly ice encasement! Anyone else have a similar experience? If so, I'd really appreciate any suggestions & I'd be very interested in knowing how it worked out for you! Thank you! Btw, if I'm wrong, I'll post info on where you too can purchase this miraculous device! ?

EmilyA25 (author)2014-02-03

My preffered method is the rice method. It does wonders! I know my iphone has taken a dive onto the water world and I cried countless of times about how to fix it until my brother told me to put it in rice the last time it got wet. I left it there over night and the next day when i turned it on, it was perfectly fine! The water damage was gone and all my functions were working the way they should. I do recommend this method for anyone who has a water damaged phone. If you have an iphone just put it straight in and make sure it is fully covered with rice and if its a standard flip or android, remove the battery and place both the phone and batttery in to the rice and make sure it is fully covered. Leave it there for an entire night and presto! By morning your phone is good as new!

Hope this helped someone!

smash123 (author)EmilyA252015-01-05

what about 70% ethyl alcohol?

Messiee (author)2013-09-09

All of the topics I see concern phones that you probably just pull out of the water, but what about a phone that has got wet, had stasyed in that condition for several days, then self-dried, and now when I switch it on, it lights up, but the screen remains blank but lit-up, then after some time it shuts down by itself.
What do you think??? Is there any chance to repair and how???

smash123 (author)Messiee2015-01-05

I have the same problem. Have you tried all these? Did it work?

EmilyA25 (author)Messiee2014-02-03

For an already damaged phone im not quite sure since the moisture already messed with the functions. But, you can try and any of the methods that were given and hope for the best, but if it does not work maybe just getting a new phone or using an old one should become an option. Hope this helped!

FrancisS1 (author)2015-01-04

I have used the rice technique twice when my phone fell in a pool. I can verify that it works.

grace.amato.14 (author)2014-12-08've got to try this! My daughter's blackberry was in the wash machine for half an hour till I realised it was there. Panic.......I took the battery, sim card and memory card out. Took off the housing and did the rice procedure for 48 hours because it was truly wet through! Tried it and it worked but.....there was blobs of fluid behind the screen. To be honest, I was surprised that it even worked at all! So after searching the net about this problem, I was reading about the silica sachets which I didn't have, but I remembered that I had the interior dehumidifier pots in my cupboard. They only cost about £1 to buy. Open the pot as instructed and rest the mobile phone on top. Screen facing down. After leaving it overnight, I noticed a dramatic difference! After all, the dehumidifier pots are designed to draw in water. So I'm going to leave it another night or two in the hope it will clear the screen completely. Fingers crossed !!!

tbbiker (author)2014-05-06

Found this article after I dropped my gps in a lake for 15 minutes. Not working now and trying to find ways to dry it out. Like all the ideas that you offer. Here's one that I'm gonna try that is a spinoff of the oven method: I'm going to place the gps on top of my computer modem and maybe the heat from the modem will speed up the drying process. My modem gets pretty hot so we'll see...

kag432 (author)tbbiker2014-07-21

Just for anyone else reading this, don't try to use heat, it will only make the corrosion worse.

paint it black (author)2009-05-29

wow this totally works and i honestly didnt think it would. MY phone was in the water for 5 min and works. the only problem was my keypad doesnt work. should i freeze it agin?

jmarante (author)paint it black2014-05-05

I had a problem charging my S4. But when i tried this, whew, it works! Thanks!

kmcallister2 (author)2011-06-17

Ok. A friend of mine went swimming in a pool for an hour with his Samsung Galaxy S tucked securely in his swimming trunks. He was bummed. Here's what I did (after lots of research online...).
1. Took back off of phone
2. Removed battery and SD card
3. Soaked phone, battery, and SD card in 91% Isopropyl Alcohol for two minutes. (that may have killed the battery for good...I'm not sure...but the battery did not survive.) The idea is that the alcohol will displace the water and then evaporate quickly from all the conductive parts.
4. Shook phone back and forth for a minute or two to work the excess alcohol out of the phone.
5. Used a vacuum with a very tiny nozzle to suck up moisture that I could see.
6. Used a blow dryer on the back of the phone while switching between low/med/high so as to not overheat the phone circuitry and whatnot.
7. While I don't think I needed to do this, I unscrewed the 6 screws on the back and to closer to the phone circuitry (I found a video online showing me how to do this properly.) To my amazement, by this time, I could see no visible moisture.
8. Seeing the success of the oven idea above...I figured I stick the phone on a hot pad in the toaster oven on 125...I got nervous about it and took it out after 5 minutes or so.
9. I considered the rice...but I felt too impatient. I decided to throw the spare battery in it and see what would happen.
10. IT WORKED!!!! Perfectly. Swyping the screen worked. The touch screen had no degradation. Camera worked just fine. Phone calls worked. No degradation of sound quality. Missed text messages starting rolling in.

Hope this helps somebody else out there!

Messiee (author)kmcallister22013-09-09

"Isopropyl Alcohol"??? - How doy find that? Isn;t ethyl alcohol good enough???

mdt1988 (author)2013-01-31

Some good advice, but I think you could have expanded on water absorption packs - there are quite a lot of these available now and they're designed to pull all the moisture out of gadgets. They're a bit like souped-up silica which are especially designed for the job.

I had good success using the Rescuetec pack recently ( when the old-school remedies just wouldn't quite get my phone going properly again.

Pet31 (author)2012-05-28

Omg. My daughter dropped her cell phone in the toilet 3 wks ago. She put it in a bag of rice for 12hrs (everyone recommended this) and it wouldn't work. A friend said put it in the freezer! After3wks..... No way that will work but she was tired of being w out a phone. So we put in FREEZER overnight and omg IT WORKS! How? It's really like a miracle and we don't get it. But everyone should know this trick! Saved us $250for a new phone . Yay.

T Everett Holland (author)2012-03-21

I haven't read all of the comments, so I apologise if this has been suggested already, but the best way I can think of to dry a phone without causing temperature damage would be to put it in a vacuum chamber. If you can pull 30 inches of mercury, the water will boil at room temperature and should evaporate out of the phone. It would likely work even better in combination with a few other methods, such as soaking in alcohol and putting in rice, because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, and the rice should prevent the moisture from reentering the phone. I'm not sure of how the pressure (or lack thereof) would affect the LCD screen, though.

acsmith23 (author)2011-06-04

So, I have a question for the group. My phone got wet while in my pocket, and I didn't realize it. So, it was several hours before I turned off the battery, etc. As soon as I realized it, I removed the back and the battery and set it in front of a fan to dry overnight. When I put the battery back in the following day, the phone worked perfectly for dialing calls, etc. The screen worked at first, but then quit. What should I do to get the screen working again? I can't access my contacts, text messages, etc, but I can at least make and receive phone calls. Any suggestions that you have would be appreciated! Thanks

jwaisman (author)acsmith232011-07-05

Short answer:
You need to dry it out more, it still has some water in it...

Longer answer:
Hmmm, if you can make/receive calls I assume your screen is displaying, but the capacitive touch screen is not receptive to input. Here's a quick illustration to understand what's happening. With my palm, if I swipe, or touch the screen it works perfectly. However, if I put my thumb in the corner of the phone while manipulating the touch screen it does not respond. My phone gets confused if more than one input is attempted via the touch screen. In your case you probably still have some water left in the phone. When it was left overnight the (conductive) water condensed, or dropped into an area where it could change the capacitance of the screen, and thus mimic'd my clumsy thumbs. When my phone stops responding I remove my thumb...when yours does, you need to remove the excess water.

petoria231 (author)2011-04-20

I dropped my phone in water I took the battery out and put it in a day later. the phone didnt work so I tried smashing it against the floor, a metal pole, the table and the wall. I turned it back on and thought it was going to work butI was wrong

Frosne (author)2011-03-10

Gud forby noen har ulik mening enn du gjør, herr forfatter. Du er en gigantisk drittsekk.

lac1234 (author)2010-07-02

my l.g rumor 2 got wet i guess because of sweet or something and the screen wont work but the all the phone keys still work and i can still call, but the screen starts to work for a little bit and then the screen goes off but the phone still works fine. what can i do for the screen to work again?

funkyhotchilliqueen (author)2010-05-24

Hello from sunny Fiji. It's the college rugby season now and my 18 year old son went jogging at 5am a couple of days ago. There was a slight shower. He took his Sony Ericson along with him. He returned to find that the screen couldn't light up even though the keypad did. I was told that burying your phone in dry raw rice will do the trick. So he took out the battery, sim card and left the cover off. Dipped it into the rice for half an hour. IT WORKED!! ..I think the rice absorbed the moisture... Lesson: If you go our jogging in the rain, put your phone in a plastic bag.

ataplow (author)2010-03-26

 Been working for a day on this and it's finally successful.  I was drinking a glass of cider at a meeting and someone bumped my elbow - cider soaked my shirt and the shirt pocket with my cell phone.  It would turn on but the touch pad wouldn't respond to anything.  

After removing the battery and simm & memory cards, I first rinsed it in water and put it into the oven at 150 for 20 minutes.  No luck. Saw moisture on the touchpad, so I tried it again for 40 minutes, but still no luck.

Then today I froze it and it worked till it thawed out and then it stopped again.

Finally I took it apart enough to loosen a circuit board to give it some breathing room.  Then soaked it 70% isopropyl  (I know you said 91%, but all I had was 70), and then put it back in an electric oven at 150 degrees for an hour  to dry out the alcohol.   I let it cool in the oven and then reassembled it.   Viola - it all works except the camera, which I hardly ever use anyway.  My main use is for calls and my schedule calendar.   All data is still there - wheew!

I priced out a replacement and phones would have started at $150.  

cknuts17 (author)2010-01-12

This is by far the best way to save a cell phone from water damage:

FilAmFighter01 (author)2009-11-09

This has happen twice to us last summer. My son jumped in to the salt water pool on the big island then remebered his phone was in his pocket. We did the island thing strip it wash it fresh water, stick in bag of rice. It was never quite right, had to replace it. OK then my phone, which was off, falls into the dog water bowl-fresh water-yuck, I removed it, stripped it of the back plate and battery. It put the parts in a bag of raw white rice for 24 hour, then removed it and used a can of dust off on all of the keys, any openings, etc. The phone was a little slow on the boot up firts time but everything was saved. All is good now.

Arnold365 (author)2009-01-21

HI there my phone (monorala V3i) fell in the water.. so I did this and all but my keypad does not work what must I do?

omnibot (author)Arnold3652009-02-04

Well .. my emergency tip is ; -Dip it in water again! Take out battery and chip and other things, just put the bulk of the phone into some clean water for a few minutes, then dry it again. It may be that the water dissolved some little piece of dirt which then dried out in an inconvenient place. The clean water then dissolves the dirt again and hopefully putiing it somewhere else.

XHorntail (author)omnibot2009-10-28

 Probably safer to do this in Alcohol.

omnibot (author)XHorntail2009-11-06

Perhaps, but I'm worried about the effects of alcohol on the plastic and rubber-parts.

Carolradtech (author)2009-10-28

I successfully baked my wet cell phone on 125 for 40 minutes and the phone is now fixed.  Thanks for your methods the unverified baking method in now verified. 
Great site

XHorntail (author)Carolradtech2009-10-28

 Glad to hear this worked for ya! Thanks for going out of the way to let me know, I'll update the instructable to reflect your experience.

Chewy1993 (author)2008-06-28

to protect yourself: tape over the sticker ;)

josh (author)Chewy19932009-02-24

Don't do this! if you put tape on the sticker it's made to delaminate when the tape is removed.. anti Tamper. much like license plate stickers. The man AKA: Evil giant Cell phone Companies, are smarter than one would think or hope.

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