What Should I do if I Drop my Cell Phone in Water?

If you drop your cell phone in water, it is often possible to salvage it. Time is of the essence, however, so the first thing to do is to get your cell phone out of the water as soon as possible. Leaving a cell phone in water for even a few seconds might damage it beyond repair, but there are a few things that you can try and that sometimes work. The main things are opening the phone as much as possible, taking out the battery and completely drying off all of the components.

Remove the Battery

After retrieving your cell phone from the water, the next thing to do is to remove the battery immediately, without even hesitating to turn off the power. This reduces the risk of a short circuit that would render your phone useless. Dry the battery with a towel, and it set aside to dry thoroughly. The battery itself might not work again, but it can be replaced fairly inexpensively. Even if the battery does work, it is a good idea to get a new one to avoid the risk of having the old one leak battery acid.

Take It Apart

After you have removed the battery, dry off the cell phone with an absorbent towel as best as you can. Use cotton swabs to soak up water in crevices and on any fragile, exposed circuits. If you have dropped your cell phone in water, it also is helpful to disassemble it, if you can, and let all of the parts dry separately. Just be sure that you know how to put it back together. If it is a flip or sliding cell phone, leave it open to allow for maximum evaporation.

Avoid Mineral Damage

If you drop your cell phone in water that isn’t pure or another liquid, such as a beverage or in salt water, rinse off the phone with fresh water after you have removed the battery. After you drop your cell phone in water, a quick rinsing is unlikely to do any further damage, but salt, sugar or other materials might. You also could try giving your phone an alcohol bath. The alcohol will displace minerals and microscopic substances and will aid in the evaporation of the fluid. If it is available, you should use an alcohol concentration of 95 percent rather than rubbing alcohol, which usually has a concentration of 70 percent.

Let It Dry

After your phone is clean, leave it in a warm, dry area or near an air conditioner for at least three days before you attempt to replace the battery and turn it on. This is very important, because although you may think that you have thoroughly dried it, the slightest moisture can react with the battery and cause it to short circuit. Putting your cell phone in a container full of dry rice grains also can help dry it out. Make sure that the rice completely covers the phone.

Warranty Likely Voided

Unless you have insurance for your cell phone and it covers water damage, there probably is no point in sending it to the manufacturer with the hope that the warranty will cover the cost of a replacement. If you drop your cell phone in water, the warranty probably will be voided. The manufacturer’s technicians will be able to tell immediately that it has been dropped in water because of the moisture-sensitive stickers that are placed inside almost all cell phones. The best thing to do is to dry it out yourself and hope that it still works.