What to Do If You Drop Your Android in Water

How bad is it if your smartphone gets wet?

What happens if you get your Android phone wet? Do you panic? Do you throw it in a jar of rice? Do you throw it away? It turns out all of those answers are wrong. We'll dispell the myths and offer sound advice to fix an Android phone that was dropped in a puddle of water or left in the rain.

Turn off Your Phone

Don't just turn off the screen. Power the smartphone down completely. Unplug it if it's on the charger and don't plug it back in. If possible, open the case and remove the battery.

Generally, phones don't die because of water. They die because the water causes a short in the wiring. For that to happen, the phone needs to have power. If you can power down the phone and dry it out within 48 hours of water exposure, chances are good that the phone will continue to work.

Remove the Case

If there's a case on your phone, remove it. Expose as much of your phone to air as possible.

Remove your phone's case
Pixabay

Try AaSpecialized Cleaning Service

Take the phone to a service like TekDry if they are available near you. Larger metropolitan areas will often have multiple, similar services.

Remove the Battery

The worst-case scenario is if the Android phone isn't designed for easy battery replacements and is glitching out when you power it down. If you don't have a set of phone repair tools, the best option is to lay the phone flat so that the battery drains before anything shorts.

Remove Android battery
Lifewire

Wash Your Phone?

If the phone was dropped in the ocean, wash it. Saltwater corrodes the interior. If the phone was dropped it in soup or other materials with particles, wash it. Wash the phone under a stream of clean water. Don't dunk it in a bowl or sink of water.

Wet phone
 Pixabay

Avoid Jostling, Tilting, or Shaking Your Phone

If there's water inside the phone, don't make it worse by letting the water run in new places. 

Do Not Use Rice

Stuffing a phone in a jar of rice is more likely to stuff rice grains into the phone than it is to aid the phone's drying process. Rice is not a drying agent. Do not use rice. Other things not to use include a hairdryer, oven, or microwave. Don't heat up an already imperiled phone. 

Don't use rice
Pixabay 

Instead, use drying agents, such as Damp Rid (available in grocery stores) or packaged silica gel (the packets found in vitamin bottles). 

Gently pat the phone with a towel, then place the phone on paper towels. Place the phone somewhere where it won't be disturbed. If possible, place the phone and paper towels in a container with Damp Rid or silica gel packets. Don't use loose powder; loose powder leaves particles on the phone.

Wait

Give the phone at least 48 hours to dry. Longer if you can. After about 24 hours, balance the phone upright and tilt it, so the USB port aims down to make sure any remaining moisture drains downward and out of the phone. Avoid jostling or shaking the phone when it's wet. 

Alarm clock
 Pixabay

If you are an adventurous warranty-voider and have the correct tools, disassemble the phone as much as you can before drying it out. iFixit has a kit we recommend if you're into disassembling devices. The vendor also offers instructions on how to repair and reassemble devices. 

Look for Water Sensors

How do repair or phone companies know if a phone got wet? Phones have water sensors that detect if there has been water ingress. The sensors in most phones look like small pieces of paper or stickers. These stickers are white when dry, and turn bright red — permanently — when they get wet. So if you take the phone case off, and see bright red paper dots on the interior of the phone, that's probably a tripped water sensor.

Waterproof Coating

Before your phone gets dunked or web, take it to a company like Liquipel that coats phones that would normally not be water-resistant. Send them your phone, they coat it, then return it to you.