We’ve given advice on how to dry a cell phone that has gotten wet to countless friends, family and coworkers. We’ve even had to use the techniques ourselves after having a swimming pool jump out of no where and grab a phone right off our hip. After all this we were a little surprised nothing had been posted here about the topic so without further delay lets talk about some tips to save a wet cell phone.
These steps can be used for cell phones, pagers (do they still exist?), ipods and a lot of other smaller electronic devices.
1) Remove the item from water as soon as possible. The plastic case and construction of a lot of phones / devices will help keep water out if the phone is accidentally splashed however most items are not water tight.
2) Remove the battery or power source. This is almost as important as the first step. There are many electronic parts inside cell phones that can survive getting wet, however the mixture of water and power in these parts is unrecoverable. If the battery is not removable turn off the item as quickly as you can.
3) Use a towel to remove as much water as you can. The use of a compressed air can or air compressor (on a very low setting) may help getting the water out of the device as well. The idea here is to do as much as you can to get the item dry.
4) Give the item time to dry. A good starting point is 24 hours but 48+ may be better. Placing the item in a bowl of rice or some type of air tight container with several packets of silica (the little packets that remove moisture often found in new shoe boxes or electronics) will help. The rice or silica will help dry the item by absorbing the moisture out of the air. If you’ve removed most of the water already (step 3 above), we’ve found better results by placing the item in rice in an air tight zip lock bag. A coffee can or other container (again filled with rice) with a good lid will help for larger items.
5) Give it some more time to dry.
6) If you’ve waited the recommended amount of time and are pretty sure the item is dry go ahead and put the battery back in and power it up. If the device doesn’t work immediately remove the battery and let it dry for another day or two.
The above steps have actually worked on two different phones for us previously. The same bowl of rice trick worked on a flash drive or two that accidentally found its way into the washing machine.
A Google search on the topic will result in several more articles and suggestions. We found a pretty good one here (and here) with further advice about recovering from salt water accidents, using alcohol to remove excess moisture and more tips on wet batteries.