wet-smartphone

Saving a wet cellphone has become the digital equivalent of bringing Lazarus back from the dead. It seems impossible—and yet, the great prophet Internet says it has happened. In the years since smartphones rose to prominence, more and more elaborate and effective methods of drying a wet mobile have come to light. A quick survey of drying methods reveals that we’ve come a long way from those primitive methods of 2007. Note: We do not guarantee any of these will work. Be sure to turn off your phone and remove the battery before attempting any of these “fixes.”

 

Air
How it works: Expose the wet parts of the mobile to fresh air.
Downside: This can take days—if it even works at all.
Drying time: 72+ hours.
Effectiveness: Low.

The simplest method, and the one most recommended by phone repair specialists, it’s not for the impatient—it can take days and provides no guarantee of success.

 

Sun
How it works: Expose the wet parts to direct sunlight.
Downside: Can take days—if it works at all.
Drying time: 72+ hours.
Effectiveness: Low.

Sun drying is similar to air drying, though maybe a tiny bit faster. However, some warn against it as direct sunlight could damage the battery or other internal units.

 

Paper towel
How it works: Use the absorbent surface to to remove visible moisture.
Downside: Might not remove internal moisture that is unseen.
Drying time: 10 mins.
Effectiveness: Low.

This method is most useful for phones with only a light amount of moisture on the surface, not fully dunked in a toilet or pool. Still, don’t underestimate how easy it is to get the internal components of a phone wet.

 

Oven
How it works: Take the phone apart and place in the oven at the lowest temperature.
Downside: This is an easy way to fry your phone.
Drying time: Overnight.
Effectiveness: Low.

Though several people on the web have shared their success stories with oven drying, most attempts are likely to end in iPhone casserole.

 

Hair dryer
How it works: Run hair dryer on low to remove water.
Downside: May melt internal components in the process.
Drying time: 30 mins.
Effectiveness: Low.

Even though it was thought of as an early advancement from traditional air drying, hair dryers were quickly shunned when other more effective (and safer) methods emerged.

 

Vacuum cleaner
How it works: Slowly sucks residual moisture out of phone.
Downside: May conduct static electricity, which can cause damage.
Drying time: 30 mins.
Effectiveness: Medium.

Unlike a hair dryer which might push water deeper into the phone, the vacuum attempts to pull out the moisture. Still, it can be very hard to determine a vacuum’s effectiveness.

 

Freezer
How it works: Seal parts in Ziploc bag and place in freezer.
Downside: Frozen moisture may still be in phone—and later melt.
Drying time: 20 mins.
Effectiveness: Low.

Most experts agree this is only a temporary fix. And though the phone might turn on, you won’t have solved the major problem of ridding the phone of unwanted moisture.

 

Rice
How it works: Submerge parts in dry, uncooked (absorbent) rice.
Downside: May clog and damage external ports with fragments.
Drying time: 24-48 hours.
Effectiveness: Medium.

Though rice has become the most universally accepted “safe” method of saving a wet phone, most underestimate how long it takes to work. Keys to success include fully submerging the phone and sealing it within an airtight container.

 

Compressed air
How it works: Push water out of mobile device with powerful streams of dry air.
Downside: May shift moisture to more vulnerable parts of phone.
Drying time: 30 mins.
Effectiveness: Medium.

This more advanced update on the hair dryer/vacuum method has proven to be a solid companion in extracting stubborn moisture, but it most likely won’t solve the problem on its own.

 

Isopropyl alcohol
How it works: Rinse water out of phone with non-conductive alcohol.
Downside: Phone is now covered in alcohol.
Drying time: 10 minutes.
Effectiveness: Medium.

Alcohol is one of the rarest methods we’ve discovered for removing moisture from the phone. The theory is sound—though we haven’t known anyone to try it.

 

Silica gel packages
How it works: Submerge phone parts under a pile of the absorbing packets in an air-tight container.
Downside: People don’t usually have commercial desiccants lying around; you have to collect them from shoeboxes or order them from the Internet.
Drying time: 24-48 hours.
Effectiveness: Medium.

An update on the crowd-favorite rice method, silica packets are—unlike rice—actually designed to remove moisture from the air and won’t clog up your ports in the process.

 

Drying bag (Bheestie, Dry All, Save a Phone, Aqua)
How it works: Pellets made of water-absorbing chemicals remove imbedded moisture inside an airtight bag.
Downside: Each bag costs $20.
Drying time: 24 hours.
Effectiveness: High.

These clever little bags have been around since 2006, though they’ve grown in popularity as mobile devices—and the accidents that befall them—have become more ubiquitous. They work well because they combine proven elements: Desiccants and an airtight compartment. Just prepare to be phoneless for a day.

 

Dryer box (Dry Box Rescue)
How it works: Exposes wet phone to low heat, air, and light for ideal drying.
Downside: Currently found only in Texas; costs upwards of $40.
Drying time: 25 mins
Effectiveness: High.

The newest chapter in the phone-drying saga is the best yet. Dryer boxes are as successful at repairing your wet phone as a drying bag, but they manage to do it in a fraction of the time—something we bet you’d be willing to pay extra money for. Only time will tell if dryer boxes will become as common as payphones once were. Come to think of it, dryer boxes would be a great use for all those abandoned payphone stands.