What to Do If You Drop Your Android in Water

How bad is it if your smartphone gets wet?

Many recent Androids are water-resistant—at least for a specified time and depth—but none are totally waterproof. Plus, saltwater and other substances can still damage them. Here's what to do if your phone has gotten completely soaked, submerged, or dropped into saltwater or some other harmful liquid.

Turn Off Your Phone ASAP

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, but because the water causes a short in the wiring. For that to happen, the phone must have power. If you can power down the phone and dry it out within 48 hours of water exposure, the 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

Try a Specialized Cleaning Service

Take the phone to a service such as TekDry if it's available near you. Larger metropolitan areas 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 phone repair tools, the best option is to lay the phone flat to drain the battery before anything shorts.

Remove Android battery

Wash Your Phone

If you dropped your phone in saltwater, wash it. Saltwater corrodes the interior. If you dropped it in soup or other materials with particles, wash it. Wash the phone under a stream of clean water.

Don't dunk your phone in a bowl or sink of water.

Avoid Jostling, Tilting, or Shaking Your Phone

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

Do Not Use Rice

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

Don't use rice

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 where it won't be disturbed. If possible, put the phone and paper towels in a container with Damp Rid or silica gel packets. Don't use loose powder, which would leave particles on and in the phone.


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

If you're adventurous 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 fixing devices. The vendor also offers instructions on how to repair and reassemble devices. 

Look for Water Sensors

Phones have water sensors that typically look like small pieces of paper or stickers. They're white when dry and turn permanently bright red when wet. So, if you remove your phone's case and bright red dots are on phone's interior, that's probably a tripped water sensor.

Get Proactive With a Waterproof Coating

Before your phone gets dunked or wet, consider sending it to a company like Liquipel to coat it with a substance that will make it water-resistant.

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