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How To Fix Water Damaged Phones

Updated on September 21, 2011

How To Fix Water Damaged Phones

Water-soaked scenarios are usually heralded as a kind of doomsday scenario for cell phones, but the truth is that they may yet be salvageable with the appropriate knowledge and tools. Happily for us, these methods won't require anything exotic -- and have a track record of resurrecting long-since discarded water damaged phones.

I have tried to make this article as close to a step-by-step guide as possible, so that with a minimum of fuss, you'll soon be (no guarantees) calling your friends telling them how a cup full of rice saved you a dent in your already fragile wallet. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here, one thing at a time!

Disclaimer: Not all of these methods will work, depending on how damaged, and what model the phone is. In some cases any and every attempt to fix your phone will fail miserably! Consider this an ensemble of general tips that have worked.

How Long Was It Swimming?

If you woke up one morning to find your phone reposing calmly at the bottom of the fish tank, chances are all bets are off. When it comes to water damage, speed and the length of the exposure are key.

  1. Open the phone immediately and remove the battery. Not only will the phone dry quicker, it will only remove the current.
  2. You'll want to continue disassembling the phone as best you can. The next step is removing and storing the SIM card if applicable.
  3. If the cell-phone fell into a solution other than water, try and rinse it (now that the current is off) to remove any substance which could be corrosive.
  4. Now that you have taken your phone apart we can begin to try a number of efficient drying techniques. But first, check the inside of the phone for excess moisture.

Avoid Heat!

Do not attempt to warm or heat the phone to remove moisture as the process may fry the delicate interior.

An example of a cellphone with SIM and battery removed, submerged in rice.
An example of a cellphone with SIM and battery removed, submerged in rice.

Drying Techniques

If you notice quite a lot of moisture on the inside, try blowing out the water using a compressed air canister (if you have one, if not you could try a hoover -- gently does it). Do not use a hair dryer as the warm air may melt the fragile circuitry inside.

Our priority at this point is to draw out any excess moisture. We can accomplish this by:

  • Placing the phone in a container full of uncooked rice. The rice will draw out moisture efficiently, and the rice dust itself should present little danger to the phone itself. Leaving it submerged overnight should do the trick, but you may wish to leave it even longer just to be sure.
  • Although I have not tried it myself, some people have informed me that a rapid way of drying a water damaged phone is to place it in a fridge (not the freezer!). Ideally, you should not leave it for long -- so check often and remove it as soon as it appears the moisture has been removed.


Given enough time, and given that the battery and SIM card were removed in a timely fashion, your chances of success are actually quite high. In closing, I would only urge viewers to resist the temptation to check if the solutions worked by repeatedly attempting to turn the phone on. If moisture still inhabits the inside of the phone, you risk permanent damage to the circuitry.

I hope this article has been of help, and more importantly, saved you your contacts and the nuisance of having to buy a new phone!


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    • Kristin Halsted profile image

      Kristin Halsted 6 years ago

      Good advice. This has worked for me and my kids more than once! It also worked to dry out and save a remote start key for our new car. Thanks for passing the info on! Great writer!

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 6 years ago from Southwest

      Good advice. I dropped my iPhone in the water, but was able to save it by letting it set out in the hot sun for several hours.

    • alishadb04901 profile image

      Alisha Combs 6 years ago from Maine

      F.Y.I. This is especially great if you're in a tough situation where you can't afford you're deductible right away or an upgrade. Not always a guarantee. Also, just because the phone doesn't show liquid damage on the liquid damage indicator sticker does not mean that it will not show liquid damage on the indicators found inside of the phone, so if you try to trick the system bear in mind you will still end up getting charge for out of warranty fees!

    • toygossip profile image

      toygossip 6 years ago from Queensland, Australia

      Awesome hub mate.

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Fast - Thanks for your time once again!

      Midnight - It isn't a pleasant experience :P Thanks for stopping by.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      i never dunked my phone in water before but these tips are very useful.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      Okay I did the rice thing, and it worked, but it took about a week. But the refrigerator one sounds ideal, although I hope I don't have to use it, I'm glad to have it as an option. I must bookmark this one. Very good hub, voted up, useful, interesting.

    • billabongbob profile image

      billabongbob 6 years ago from South Wales, UK

      I'd never thought of putting a soggy phone into dried rice before, I'll bare it in mind ;)

      I did drop my brand new, shiny phone in the ocean a few years ago, no hope for that one. But a friend of mine did just drop theirs in a big puddle, so I've removed the battery and sim to see if I can rescue it.

      Thank you thooghun for posting such a useful hub, voted up :D