How to save a wet MP3 Player, Cell Phone, Camera, PDA, etc.

Picture of How to save a wet MP3 Player, Cell Phone, Camera, PDA, etc.
I'll get to why in a second, but if you do, you just lowered your chances of saving it. Take out the battery.

Most of us have managed to do it one way or another. You forgot to check your jean pockets before you washed them, you knocked your phone into the lake, dropped it in the toilet (let's hope you didn't flush it), or maybe you can't remember the exact details... but for some reason your camera smells like cheap beer and is dripping wet.

This instructable will guide you through the process of attempting to save your wet cell phone, PDA, MP3 player, camera* (See note). I'll use my MP3 player,since it's the last thing I managed to put through the wash...whoops. I'll shadow with a cellphone for those in that category (It went through the wash before, but I managed to salvage it). For all intensive purposes, assume when I say MP3 'player' or 'cell phone', I obviously mean your device.

I'm writing out the specifics about the how's, the why's, where's, and all that good stuff. I'll be the first to say, I'm all about the deet's (details). If you're not interested in a little more reading and a better understanding, you can just read above this dotted line in the steps, and ignore anything below it.

Yes, this line right here.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If you have a accidental damage warranty, go talk with where you got it from and see if they do water damage! If you know you're screwed and your warranty is void or won't cover it--like when that little white dot on the inside of your cell phone (Water indicator) turned red--then you might wanna give it a shot.

Cameras are usually a lot trickier, mostly due to more moving parts, usually cramming everything to be as small as possible, moving parts (lens), and generally more fragile equipment. You can try getting a quote for fixing it, which if you have the money (or it's a pricey camera) I'd recommend since they'll be able to do a better job. If you can't afford it, give this a shot.
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yshihoin11 year ago
what do you do if it was already air dried before you rinsed it?
jim5150jvc3 years ago
I always thought the best thing to do in this situation would be to spray the heck out the insides with WD-40. That way, it would help displace not only the water molecules (the WD stands for "water displacement" fyi), but also have a better chance of also removing any electrically-conducting ions that would have deposited themselves on exposed electrical parts. Of course, you cell phone will probably have that distinctive WD-40 smell for the rest of it's life; and dust tends to stick to WD-40. But this might not be too much of a problem since the cover of the phone prevents most of the dust from entering anyway.

What do you guys think of this? am I totally off my rocker?
alright well NOW it won't turn on at all.all i get is a white screen.diagnosis anyone? my mp3 is an RCR (or is it RCV?i can never tell)i also noticed there is water on the side of the screen.i really don't want to put the billions of songs i have on my mp3 onto a new one.IT TAKES LIKE AN HOUR.(and staring at a computer screen for an hour putting songs back on is NEVER fun.)
skinn076 (author)  mymp3isdead5673 years ago
Throw it in a Tupperware full of rice for a day or two. The rice should be able to sap the moisture out pretty well, but there really aren't any sure fire methods.
coolrobot4 years ago
yeah,i dropped some water on my ipod touch(without knowing) and it somehow went inside(i think by the dock connector) so i turned it turned on,everything worked fine,then after a few seconds the vol. up button reacted as a on/off button as well as the power button.i got scared so i put it on top of a heater and left it there for about2 mins(hoping to dry the water inside),andguess what?it didn't turn on.i put it outside for a couple of mins(winter) so it would stop being hot.yeah,it got cold and still didn't turn on.i left it there for 2 days(on my desk) without touching it and hoping my parents wouln'd kill the end it turned on but the touchscreen did not work.AND THATS MY STORY
jcreitz4 years ago
If you dropped your phone or device in SEA WATER or any salt water, a thorough rinse is essential: otherwise the salt will corrode and ruin everything metallic in the phone, including the electronics.  I would recommend a wash and a rinse in distilled water.
And don't forget about SWEAT (basically salt water) - I work hard outside and sweat so much that my clothes were sopping and it got into my phone! I opened it up and it did turn the moisture sticker pink, and my phone didn't work.
I dried it out, but didn't rinse it - but got it to work. It has problems now though. It makes peoples voice sound crackely and it turns itself off when I slide it open or closed. I never thought of rinsing it out.
Do you think a rinse of some sort would be prudent at this time?
jcreitz4 years ago
Use compressor or compressed air to thoroughly blow everything out of the insides.  Depending on the conformation of the device, ie. airflow, you can cut your drying time from 7 days to a day or less.  Risk: low
make sure your compressor has a water catch on it/line drier. Otherwise it may spit water :-(
If you just take out the battery and put everything in a bag of rice, the rice will soak up all of the water in your device. I had to leave my phone in for about 2 days. Works like new now.
mladyraven4 years ago
OK, I have a Sanza Fuze 8G MP player. I was multitasking and threw the sheets into the wash with my player and headphones in them. Found them when I went to get the clothes out of the machine. I cannot open this machine. I checked around and it does not seem as if it can be opened. I use this every night for sleep. It was off when it went into the water. I did touch the side to see if it would go on.. just for a second. The screen stayed black. Any suggestions what I need to do if anything to save it. Can I use brown rice? Blow dry the entire Fuze? How long should I wait before trying to recharge? Thanks I really cannot afford to replace at this time so any suggestions would help.
skinn076 (author)  mladyraven4 years ago
Most likely, you can open it. I'd only recommend only taking the initial cover off to let it dry. Keep the battery out and dry it for few days. Your best option is probably just air-drying, but rice would work--just use your common sense and make sure grains wouldn't get stuck in it. Wait a few days, turn it on, give it a charge and with a little luck it'll come back to life. If not, there are usually some pretty good deals for refurbished ones online. Google shopping is a great place to look for 'em. Hopefully it works for ya!
-max-4 years ago
LOL!!! "(lets hope you didnt flush it)"
ANDY!4 years ago
 Do not eat- silica gel works. Rice in a pinch
clichej14 years ago
why not putting your device in a ziploc bag with an hygroscopic substance after opening it. (doing carefully so that you dont get chemicals in your device)

The hygroscopic substance will dry out the humidity in the bag forcing the water in your device to evaporate. 
Jazzajon4 years ago
My 15 year old son left his sony ericson phone in his pocket when it went into the dirty laundry. My wife then put it through our Bosch washing machine at 40 degrees.  Whe we found it we took the phone apart and put it in a bowl and covered it with  uncooked rice. We then left it for a day and a night in our heated airing cupboard.  The rice absorbs all the moisture through osmosis.  The phone, once we recharged the battery, works perfectly.  PS throw the rice away after don't cook with it!!!
ddpedersen4 years ago
The problem with water is that it can take a week or two to fully dry from all the small nooks and crannies in your device.  If you don't let it dry long enough, it could short our your phone, and then it is really finished.

If you can take your phone fully apart, soak the circuit board briefly in alcohol, then remove and put in front of a fan.  The idea is to displace any water with alcohol, and then dry it quickly.

As long as you don't leave the rubber seals in the alcohol for an extended period of time, it should not do that much damage to them.  You can always use a coat of light oil to preserve the seals if you are really concerned.

Note: Never put the screen in alcohol, if your screen has water in it, you should just buy a new one.
Jebotepatak4 years ago
I had a 1Gb Sony mp3 player i thought i lost it till i realised it was in between the body and trunk in the car mind you it was filled with water...i just opened it up let it dry for a good 4weeks then turned it on n wallah everything works from uploading software to uploading music ..its a mystery ..i guess SOny is really well made!
Micksta4 years ago
heyyy!!!!! i used to have that sansa!!!!!
AshleySix5 years ago
I just left my Nextar/Nexter Mp3 out in a cold rain storm, I'll reply in a week if it works, or out the twenty bucks used to buy it? Lol, I knew not to turn the thing on, but wasnt sure what to do with it in general after taking out the battery. It has water in the screen too, since it is cracked. Maybe it's time to get a new one anyway....
zack2475 years ago
i once had found an old nokia phone lying in the street. it was completely saturated, but it still worked after a little drying out, and my many attempts to find a charger. it seems to me that nokias are pretty strong! they can take anything you throw at them. (or you throw them at, i got really mad when i couldn't find a charger, so i threw it at the wall, and it still worked)
skinn076 (author)  zack2475 years ago
I love Nokias! Mine has been through the washer at least 3 times. I only wish I could still use my old brick on the Verizon network.

Ebay has a ton of chargers if you're still looking.
 My Nokia has been in the toilet, run over by a truck, buried, had a power surge, and yet it still lasts two weeks on one charge.
 Heh... I dropped my PSP in the toilet, (stupid headphones) and did almost everything you said not to.

Something tells me it can't be saved.
skinn076 (author)  Bright Shadow5 years ago
Sometimes that happens... it's worth trying everything and waiting a couple days, but it's not a cure-all. Best of luck.
what if you dropped your phone in sea water and you were told there is nothing to do about it and you left it lying around for maybe 7 day before you react to it too late to use these methods??
Try soaking it in isotopic alcohol for a few hours, then allow the device to dry for a few additional days. It should wash out all the salt with the least chance of damaging anything that wasn't already damaged.
skinn076 (author)  reggaebaybee5 years ago
I'd make sure to take out the battery and rinse it off with tap water since it has salt water all over it before you really do anything. I'd probably give it a shot. Worst case scenario nothing happens and you have to get a new one anyway, best case you just saved your phone and the pain of having to re-enter all your contacts!
senario 1585 years ago
i got confused and almost put it in the microwave & then i got it.
senario 1585 years ago
thanks! my iphone 3g went through the washer and i almost returned it until i read this!!! thanks!!!!!!
taterkiller5 years ago
hey skinn076 is water damage covered for the creative ZEN
skinn076 (author)  taterkiller5 years ago
No clue, but I doubt it. Check your warranty info to be sure. Probably your best chance is if you somehow have a product replacement or insurance plan of some sort. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
anayar26 years ago
thanks for the advice, i tried it, but my MP3 player (Sansa 2 GB) was still out after trying the steps. i tried putting it in front of a fan for a week, but when i plugged it in and switched it on, my player decided to say au revoir. is there anything i can do to still save it, or should i go get a new one??
anayar2 anayar26 years ago
Thanks for the good instructable and your responce... im not too sad though cause i got a great deal on a ipod touch off craigslist but thanks a bunch anyways!!!
skinn076 (author)  anayar26 years ago
That's actually the same player I did it with. Unfortunately, there's probably not a whole lot of hope for you. If you're pretty patient, you could probably try another week and see if there's any luck.., but sorry to say, you'd probably be best off buying a new one. At this point, I'd probably try one of the riskier methods (e.g. Sitting in a bed of rice, Hair drier, sun exposure, etc.), although it's unfortunately a pretty slim chance that it'd work at this point, so I'd probably try those, but get a new one pretty soon. There are some pretty good deals for Sansa's on, (I managed to snag an 8 gig for $50 on, or you can wait a week or so until one comes up on the "Daily Deal'. Let me know if there's anything else I can help you out with! I'd be more than happy to share my experience with other online stores, sansa, other MP3 player companies, and any other questions or comments! -Eric
Mario1 skinn0766 years ago
The funny thing is that you say that hair dryer is risky ... I reflowed my xbox360 ram chips with a heat gun :D
skinn076 (author)  Mario16 years ago
Touche. I usually try to err on the side of caution, but you do make a pretty good point. It's more that I feel a hair drier is a mostly unnecessary risk. In respect to your argument though, it's not like they weren't soldered with heat in the first place ;-)
shemayil6 years ago
Hai I recently got a palm z22 to organize my life. It was really helpful until after a week it got wet in my bag. I didn’t know initially it is wet. So I tried to use it the next day it was not working. So I try to charge it. Still it was not on. Then I saw that inside the palm cover is wet. So I used blow dryer on low heat setting. Then I tried to on the power button. I got little success. It was on but the screen resolution is very low. I can barely able to read it. Then I reset it. Still it was in the same condition. I let it dry as it is for a day. Then I opened only the back and blow dry it again. Still it was the same condition. The battery is fused to the back cover. I haven’t tried to open the front. Today I am trying to charge it to see whether that will solve the problem. My question is what I can do to get the screen resolution back?
skinn076 (author)  shemayil6 years ago
It might have been the blowdrier; heat can affect the LCD display. I wouldn't hold my breath, but here are a couple things I'd try if I were you: 1. If you can, try adjusting the resolution brightness within the phone setup/settings 2. Make sure the battery terminals (copper/brass Battery to Palm connection) are clean and dry. 2. You could try replacing the battery to see if the resolution improves. 3. You could wait it out and see if it gets any better. 4. Ensure that the screen is dry. There might be a small piece of glass/plastic over the LCD display that has water trapped in it. You could try and see if it dries and improves, or you could use the blowdrier on low/cool on the screen (there's a slight risk that your screen might turn darker/black).
hi, I opened it twice fully. there is no water inside.but i saw some metals are little rusty. the screen is not readable. Is is possible to repair or replace the screen? How much will it cost? Otherwise i am planning to go for another pda.Could you please help!!
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