Tips for saving a wet cell phone


WASHINGTON – Dropping your cell phone in water, or, gasp, a toilet, doesn’t necessarily mean your phone is ruined. There are measures you can take, and here they are:

  • Don’t panic. Most phones can be saved.
  • Take the phone out of the water ASAP and don’t turn it on.
  • Immediately remove the battery.
  • If you can’t get to the phone in time, remove the battery from the phone while it’s still underwater. Most damage happens when the inside of the phone is wet and connected to a power source.
  • Remove the SIM card. Pat it dry and leave it aside until you try to reconnect the phone.
  • Once the battery is removed, you can find out if the phone is truly water damaged by checking the corner near where the battery is. There should be a white square or circle – with or without red lines. If this is pink, the phone has water damage.
  • Remove all peripherals and covers and open up any gaps or slots the phone may have.
  • Dry the phone using a towel or paper towel. Avoid dropping the phone, shaking it or moving it excessively. This can move water through the phone. Try not to clog a wet towel or paper towel into to the gaps and groves of the phone – just wipe gently.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to try to suck water away from the phone. Hold the phone up to the vacuum for 20 minutes, moving it gently to suck water from all areas. This is the fastest method and can dry out your phone, getting it to work in 30 minutes. However, if you can, try to avoid turning on the phone and complete the steps.
  • Do not use a hair dryer, even on the cold mode. This will force moisture into the phone rather than draw it out. It may work temporarily, but can cause further damage that renders it useless later.
  • Leave the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice overnight. The rice will absorb any remaining moisture.
  • Move the phone onto a paper towel for four to six hours. After that, check and see if there is any moisture on the towel. If there is, repeat the vacuuming and rice bowl step.
  • After 24 hours or longer, reattach the battery and try turning on the phone.
  • If the phone does not work, try plugging it into the charger without the battery. If this works, you need a new battery.
  • If the phone still doesn’t work, take it to your dealer. Don’t try and hide the fact that it was wet, the dealer will know.

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    (Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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