Introduction: Turn Your Cell Phone's "I Got Wet" Indicator From Red Back to White

Picture of Turn Your Cell Phone's "I Got Wet" Indicator From Red Back to White

Ever dunk your cellphone in water? After it is dry - how could someone tell that it got wet? Well my friend the "i got wet indicator" is a dead give away. This indicator is usually a white sticker located in the battery compartment of most cellphones. It turns red after it is gotten wet.

In my case i had my cellphone in my pocket in my pocket while working out. This is BS in my opinion because water never actually touched my cellphone. Further, I was denied a warranty claim on my (UN-used) phone headphones (which had a broken microphone), because of this sticker. How does this sticker have anything to do with the headphones - that I NEVER used?? 

All that i suggest here is to put a drop of bleach on the indicator and it will turn from red back to good 'ole white. check out the pics!

Step 1: Below You Can See 2 Razr Phones

Picture of Below You Can See 2 Razr Phones

one got wet [red dot] one didnt [ white dot].

Step 2: Take Bleach and Apply It to the Red Dot

Picture of Take Bleach and Apply It to the Red Dot

Bleach it!

Step 3: After 1 Min

Picture of After 1 Min

Step 4: After 5 Min

Picture of After 5 Min

Step 5: After 15 Min

Picture of After 15 Min

Step 6: Aditional Time

Picture of Aditional Time

well - i thought it would turn the whole dot back white.... it has yet to do this. I am gonna let it sit over night.

A quick note: on iphones there is one of these indicators either on the headphone jack or under the bottom iphone cable plug. Same trick should work for iphone. I would post pics but i need my iphone to take the photos :)

good luck !!!!

Step 7: Day # 2

Picture of Day # 2

it shrunk another 30% and shrinking. will post again in 15 min

Step 8: Day 3

Picture of Day 3

It turned white!!!

Now I will put water on it and see if it changes back to red....


Lunera (author)2009-04-28

if its a nice phone, and you can get to ALL the stickers, of which I know my moto z3 has 3 of and the samsung a707 has 2, in addition to the batteries having them as well, you COULD go buy one of those $20 throwaway phones. Peel and replace.

a.mohameda made it! (author)2017-03-14

which bleach i apply yo that pinky colour stiker

a.mohameda (author)a.mohameda2017-03-14

please reply fot this which bleach i can used fot it

WasimA25 (author)2016-06-09

Can anyone recommend me which bleach works best.
Any link to ebay or amazon for the bleach product will be helpful. Thank you in advance.

BBBower (author)2009-09-16

Unfortunately the stickers that you are attempting to change back are not the only things that will show liquid or moisture damage to the device. The sticker is simple, a clear plastic film on top, a white permeable material next and a red dye on the bottom, once the moisture or liquid has seeped past the plastic and the material it mixes with the dye and the dye is left to dry out in that previously white material. Bleaching it white doesn't always do the trick as a lifting the edge of the sticker would normally show the red dye on the bottom and bleaching it of course removes that indication. Replacing the indicator can work, but usually if the phone has sustained that much moisture then there are surely signs on the inside of the device such as rust on the board and corrosion which are more visible that those red dots. Many cell phone companies offer replacement options now such as warranty exchanges, however they have wised up and are starting to charge customers back up to the full amount of the device if they feel they have been defrauded, so if you are planning on sending it back or trying to trick someone do so at your own risk, I work in a repair center and they have not only strict down on customers but on employees as well, if I don't detect a moisture damaged part or phone when someone returns it i'm out of my own pocket up to $300 for the mistake.

snallc09 (author)BBBower2011-03-07

I think someone is blowing smoke up your rear or trying to scare you. I'm also in the commonwealth of VA and an employer, and you cannot fire someone for making a mistake. Make the same mistake after being warned and having written verification for that warning and then yes they can let you go, but they still cannot deduct the damages from your paycheck. They CANNOT monetarily charge you for a MISTAKE or you would have a lawsuit.
Read #9

ac-dc (author)snallc092015-11-23

You obviously don't know How The World Works. Employers routinely violate the rights and breach the law regarding employees. Employees can fight back but it is usually an uphill battle with the legal costs risk higher than the reward, then they are left in an employment environment they don't want to stay in and expecting a good reference is then futile.

Businesses generally do a risk analysis on these kinds of practices, deciding if it benefits them more to push or exceed the legal limits, versus the few downtrodden employees who will fight back against the hand that feeds them.

However, I suspect the person was making up nonsense about actually being penalized (versus a mere myth perpetuated by a rogue manager), but did have a good point that in many cases if there is water ingress it is not hard to spot in other ways. Generally there is a fine film of solder flux remaining on circuit boards and it is water soluble, WILL definitely leave an irregular (salt) pattern change visible compared to the adjacent area. I don't feel bad about this though, because if water actually does get inside, the warranty really should be voided if it subsequently starts to malfunction.

micobanff (author)BBBower2010-01-01

If they take money out of your pocket or off your paycheque, I suggest you go to the labor board... that's against the law... if infact what you say is true.

BBBower (author)micobanff2010-02-26

Wish it was that easy, they can't legally take it but im in va a commonwealth state, they can say make it right or you dont have job, which is basically I pay for it or go to the unemployment office.

BBBflower so which is it? Do the take $300 from your pay check or do you get fired and go to the unemployment office? It is one or the other. Please only post useful information...

Once again they take the money, or i'm fired, I don't know where you live but i'm in a commonwealth state they can fire me if they don't the way my farts smell....  the only thing you can win in court here is your unemployment for a few months

micobanff (author)BBBower2010-02-26

Yeah.... I live in Canada, once you have worked somewhere for 3 months, they need real cause to fire you (being late, with 3 written warnings, signed and dated by employee and employer) or something serious, sexual assault, harassment, stealing, etc... Otherwise one could sue for wrongful dismissal, and the company would not only owe you backpay, they would have to offer you your position back... then the labour board keeps an eye on them and makes sure said employee is treated fairly.

SethE1 (author)2015-05-14

wil.morris.77 (author)2014-12-11

this is a 5 year old post. Does it still work? There are two dots in my phone that are visible after removing the back cover. One is yellow and square. It is underneath a hard plastic window next to the camera. The other is a small red dot closer to the volume button. It has a plastic film-like surface protecting it. Clearly they have adapted to the dabbing of bleach trick by concealing the indicators beneath a protective layer. Water would have to penetrate the phone beneath within the mounted casing-not just inside the back cover.

However, they are still too sensitive. In my case, my phone is just 3 weeks old and I had wet fingers on a rainy day and pushed the buttons to turn on the display. I'm pretty sure that's when it happened but it's hard to tell I have never dropped it in water. So now the phone company benefits by voiding the warranty because of an overly sensitive indicator. Not fair business practice in my opinion

The_Count (author)2014-03-20

I was wondering if after resetting the sticker to white it works again and goes to red if there is new water damage? On my phone the sticker tripped and I was having some issues just due to humidity. After drying it out its still works fine but I am wondering if it will trip again if I make it white. Any thoughts are appreciated.

fejes (author)2011-09-28

Someone took my phone at school and gave it back by putting it in the water fountain and now won't turn on. My Samsung Flight 2 dot turned to red. If I bleach it, will the phone turn on?

3of5 (author)fejes2013-12-09

I know your question was asked 2 years ago, and I am not the person you are asking this to. But, I know that the indicator is just a sticker, not a electrical part. If it happens to you again, take the phone apart, use a towel and pat the inside of the phone out, and throw of the excess water (shake the phone while it is apart) and let it sit for about a month. If you can't that long, there are instructions on Google about using your oven to dry radios and other electrical devices.

bthacker3 (author)fejes2011-11-29

lol your special, your phones fubar no amount of bleach on the sticker will fix that you may need some more for your hair though......

Gelfling6 (author)2013-04-13

The problem is, I imagine the techs will notice the smell of the bleach...

I know, these indicator stickers are super sensitive.. I had a Kodak Z1285 digital camera,that apparently, the indicator sticker changed, because I had the camera in my pocket and just normal body perspiration had gotten it to change.. I also had the camera start malfunctioning, still within the warranty period. So, on suggestion from Staples (whom I bought it from), I had them send it out for repairs.. It ended-up at a repair center here in the same state... within a week, I get a call from the repair center, they refused to repair the camera because it had been exposed to excessive moisture. (note, I had it in my coat pocket.) They sent it back to Staples. Then the real kick to the teeth.. I had bought their extended warranty.. they voided it, because of the repair center findings.. I basicly had a 3-month old, $200+ brick.. Apparently they based it all off a small 1/4" X 1/16" tag inside the camera, that had turned color.

zack247 (author)2012-04-08

cool, i didnt know you could actually make those look white again.
on my old phone i left it in the same room when i took a shower and the indicators all changed color, youd think if they can make a phone as small as they can they could make waterlog stickers less sensitive to moisture :P

HelenaHanbaskett (author)2011-09-28

I had to send my phone back after they sent a replacement due to a back light problem I had. I HAD ZERO WATER DAMAGE, and the sticker was WHITE,
B U T... I am an idiot and did not pay attention when I took the old phone into the kitchen to clean it (it was not filthy but a little funky) and I used a spray mist to dampen the screen and wiped it off. The battery and back cover wasn't on it because I had already put them in/on the new phone and a tiny bit of the mist got on the back/white sticker somehow and it turned red on the edges!
I cannot afford to pay for the phone!

LUCKILY I found the stickers on ebay for 1.75, peeled the red edged one off and put on a new white one. I do not feel bad about doing it because the phone truly had no water damage. Those little stickers are hyper sensitive to moisture.

mdog93 (author)2009-08-18

dus this work as an indicator again or not, is it just to make it look like it hsn't got wet? just out of interest :) mdog

MolecularSandwich (author)mdog932009-08-18

I attempted to get it wet again. It did NOT turn red. I believe what happens is that when you hit it with bleach it turns it white. as the bleach evaporates it crystallizes on the surface. If you attempt to get it wet with water again it just disolves the bleach crystals and "re-bleaches' the sticker. I bet if you were to soak it in water it would work eventually turn red... Not sure tho. Good luck!

more likely its is due to the red being a water activated dye, and its pretty much done its job when it goes red. the bleach oxidizes the pigment,

be warned the phone often has 2 water indicator spots, so if you have to send it in, they will likely find the internal sticker is still red. and there is often one on the battery too.

mdog93 (author)MolecularSandwich2009-08-19

cool, lol i don't think i'll try it though :P mdog

kjandrokovic (author)2011-07-25

So I have NEVER gotten my phone wet in my life... & all of a sudden it turned purple! Yeah, I'm kind of confused! Does anyone know what could have happened?? I take great care of my phone.

There's even one on my battery that had NO harm done to it.

jlowe5 (author)2011-06-26

it works =) Now i have a question? does this mean my phone is going to work now ?

didgindjembe (author)2010-08-12

@ vzw in nj, usa, at tech support, they only check the exterior labels, so this should work. stick it to those bastards! i was thinking of painting a lacquer or something on for future reference. anyone try this? is it noticable?

gofast7 (author)2010-03-11

White Dot on Phone issue. 

When you first get the phone, take a piece of clear packing tape and cut a round piece about the size of a dime. Tape over the dot.  Make sure the tape is completely stuck down (no bubble tunnels in tape). 

I have dropped 3 razors and a pantech in toilets and pools (razor kept slipping out of my back pants pocket in the ladies room....). 

The second secret - grap out of the water FAST and just as quickly open the phone and dump the battery out. EVEN IF THE PHONE IS STILL ON.

Take the Sim (and storage card out if you have one) and dry with lint free cloth. 

open all the ports on phone, then shake it as hard as you can to force water out as much as possible.  Then put opened phone in front of a hair dryer, on low heat for at least a day. 

You may get condensation on the screen.  If you do, continue the hairdrying until it all burns out.

Do not put battery back in and turn on until you are absolutely sure it is dry.

In addition to my accidental drops, I actually 'soaked' my Pantech on purpose. I had spilled a full glass of soda on the phone and could see that liquid got inside the screen & in between keypad.  So again, removed the battery, sim/storage cards, put an extra layer of tape over the white dot and soaked the phone for a good 10 minutes in warm water.  Shook it around to loosen the sticky liquid. Then followed the steps listed above. 

2 of the Razor phones were eventually turned in because the "flip" screw broke.
The Pantech was returned because one of the sliders broke.  Each time I was ask if phones had been exposed to water.....

Good as new! 

cknuts17 (author)2010-01-12

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

EaglesNest (author)2009-04-27

Did the dot ever turn completely white again?


MolecularSandwich (author)2009-04-29

so it is still not 100%. I re-coated it last night and the red dot shrunk by another 30%. the bleach i am using leaves like a crusty "salt like deposit" on the sticker that i kinda scraped away. I will continue to bleach it and post the results :). (mabey wihout pictures tho)

uncle_al_0 (author)2009-04-27

If you were to try and warranty this you might have some problems. The reason being that there is another one of those stickers inside the case of the phone to prevent tampering. And I have a question for you, if the sticker gets wet again does it change back to red? I ask this because they might test the sticker to see if its been tampered with. Great ible tho! Al

jeandeau (author)2009-04-27

Now that is a useful instructable. Restore true justice in the world!

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More by MolecularSandwich:Your Startup Disk is Full MacBook Fix - How to Add storage spaceRepair Mini Cooper Electric Door Lock Actuator / Locking MechanismTurn Your Cell Phone's "I Got Wet" Indicator from Red back to White
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