How to Fix or Repair a Wet or Liquid Damaged Smartphone

It happens to everyone at some point in their lives: their wonderful and precious phone slips out of their hand and into a toilet, sink or some other unforgiving liquid!

One time I dropped my phone into a swimming pool and tried to dry it by shaking it hard and then using a hair dryer. It didn’t work and the phone died! Some tips that I mention in this post you think would be common sense, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

Luckily, if your phone has not been submerged underwater for a long time, there are some things you can do to fix it and possibly save yourself the cost of having to replace it.

Obviously, if you have any of the most recent iPhones or Samsung devices, they are all either waterproof or water-resistant. So if you’ve been holding back with an older phone for a long time, it might be worth an upgrade.

First Things First

Before we get into how to go about drying your phone, there are a couple of things you should do immediately after removing the phone from the liquid.

  1. Make sure to turn off the phone. We want to prevent the phone from short circuiting.
  2. If you can, go ahead and remove the battery. This isn’t possible on a lot of phones, like the iPhone, but if you can, remove it immediately.
  3. Remove the SIM card if you can. It’s not a big deal, but if you have important data stored on there, especially for Android users, you might be able to save all that data by removing the card.

iphone slot

Now, let’s talk about drying your phone. First, make sure to keep it off for at least two days and remove any cases or covers from the device.

Initial Drying

One mistake I made originally was shaking my phone a lot. I thought that it would help remove the water, but later on I found out it simply help the water get to other parts of the phone.

In addition to not shaking the phone, go ahead and wipe off any visible water off the surface of the device. If you can open the phone, dry any internal parts gently.

Drying Techniques

Hair Dryer

There are a bunch of different things you can at this point. Another big mistake that I had made was using a hair dryer incorrectly. It seems like the perfect choice for drying something out right? Wrong! You can use a hair dryer, but only use the fan or cool setting. Do not use any heat setting on the hair dryer.

Hair dryer

 

Vacuums

You should also avoid using vacuums as they can cause more damage than help. If you have a small computer vacuum and there is an attachment that creates a good seal with the phone, then give it a shot.

Otherwise, I don’t recommend trying to use your home vacuum as static electricity can damage the circurity in the device.

Uncooked Rice

The best option is to put your phone into a plastic bag, fill it with rice or quinoa, seal the bag and let it is sit for several days.

The downside is that you have to wait a long time, but it’s definitely worth the wait. This method works well and many people swear by it.

rice phone

The other thing to note about rice that you should try to use rice from a sealed packet. Open rice will not be able to absorb as much water and you’ll be wasting your time.

Desiccants

What are desiccants? I didn’t know exactly either, but we see them all the time. Apparently, it’s those small little packets of silica that you find in shoes, clothing, and even food all the time.

desiccants

You can buy these from Amazon on the cheap and basically stuff your phone and a bunch of these into a tightly sealed bag. You can also buy other desiccants like drierite and use it in the same way. This method is way faster than rice because these things can really absorb moisture.

The main thing here is that you need to create a tight seal. Once you do that, leave it for as long as you can. Again, the longer the time, the more dry your phone will become. It takes a really long time for water to dry up, so be ready for a 2 to 3 day wait.

Other Methods

There are other methods of drying that you should avoid like placing your phone in the sun, using a microwave or using an oven. All bad ideas. The sun might be OK, but you have to do it properly. For example, place it on a towel to avoid excessive heat from the ground and leave it out for no more than 15 to 20 mins.

Vacuum chambers are another great way to dry out phones, but you won’t have one at home. Luckily, there is a company call Redux that partners with cell phone repair shops all around the country so that you can use one.

Lastly, if you dropped your phone into a liquid that is not water, you may have to try “washing” the phone first. For example, if it fell into the sea or was soaked in soda, then the residue left over after the liquid dries will damage the phone.


In these cases, your only option is an alcohol bath, but using alcohol can cause damage to your screen. It’s not an ideal case, but at least you might end up with a phone that turns on. Hopefully, some of these tips can get your phone dry and working again. Enjoy!

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