Instructables

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.
 
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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.
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tbbiker2 months ago

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 tbbiker4 days ago

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

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?
I had a problem charging my S4. But when i tried this, whew, it works! Thanks!
Messiee10 months ago


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???

EmilyA25 Messiee5 months ago

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!

EmilyA255 months ago

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!

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


mdt19881 year ago
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 (www.rescuetec.com) when the old-school remedies just wouldn't quite get my phone going properly again.
Pet312 years ago
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.
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.
acsmith233 years ago
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
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.
petoria2313 years ago
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
Frosne3 years ago
Gud forby noen har ulik mening enn du gjør, herr forfatter. Du er en gigantisk drittsekk.
lac12344 years ago
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?
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.
ataplow4 years ago
 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.  

cknuts174 years ago
This is by far the best way to save a cell phone from water damage:  http://www.ehow.com/how_5854392_save-cell-phone-got-wet.html
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.
Arnold3655 years ago
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?
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)  omnibot4 years ago
 Probably safer to do this in Alcohol.
Perhaps, but I'm worried about the effects of alcohol on the plastic and rubber-parts.

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
Carol

XHorntail (author)  Carolradtech4 years ago
 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.
Chewy19936 years ago
to protect yourself: tape over the sticker ;)
josh Chewy19935 years ago
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.
jimbo333 josh5 years ago
thats why i put some saran wrap then tape over that.
Chewy1993 josh5 years ago
there is always the "double tape" method.

++++=sticky

like this:


++++++++++++++++
++++++++


so that it won't delaminate :D
it messed it up D: it parsed my dashes, and removed my spaces. Hopefully, you understand what I mean :)
yopauly5 years ago
I put my phone over the defrost vent in my car. During the winter time. Don't want to do this in the summer, especially here in Las Vegas! Yikes! I think the sooner you can pull the battery the less chance of your phone being damaged, imho.
amando965 years ago
pretty cool, the hand dryer one is cool, anybody know where i can buy a phone fixing key set?
Arnold3655 years ago
And my dot is red :C
evanwehrer5 years ago
You could add mineral oil maybe. The oven method worked for me.
elifad5 years ago
Rice does absorb moisture, that’s why a little is put with the salt in the salt shaker to prevent it from clumping.
go-estates5 years ago
Alcohol is hygroscopic (attracts water), it will dissolve all the water in the phone, which will then pour out of the phone with the alcohol. Any remaining alcohol will evaporate. Alcohol will not harm your phone but may mess up glue (from stickers and the like). Use 95% alcohol, not the regular 70% rubbing type. Do it outside!. If you use alcohol, do not follow the rest of the advice here, instead leave your phone outside for a day or two to dry.
VS.5 years ago
LOL!!!!!!!!1 a friend tried the microwave... lets just say it got messy
Rokko86525 years ago
The rice works, my motorola razr went through the washing machine, and i put it in a bowl of rice, and the only thing wrong with it is that the things around the 7 key dont light
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