How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

Co-authored by wikiHow Staff | Reader-Approved | 17 References

Updated: January 21, 2020

Explore this Article Acting Quickly to Minimize Water Damage Drying Your Phone Article Summary Questions & Answers Related Articles

If your cellphone has gotten wet, don’t despair. Even if you dropped it into the sink, toilet, or bathtub, you may be able to save it. The most important thing you can do is act fast. Take it out of the water as soon as possible. Then turn it off, take out the battery, and remove all accessories. Try to remove as much water from it as you can with towels and a vacuum cleaner. Then, put it in a bowl of instant rice or other absorbent material for 48-72 hours before turning it on. With a little luck and fast action, your cellphone may survive its brush with death.

Acting Quickly to Minimize Water Damage

  1. 1
    Take your phone out of the water as soon as possible unless it’s plugged in. The longer your phone’s in water, the more damage it will sustain. If your phone has been submerged for a long period of time, you may not be able to resuscitate it.[1]
  2. 2
    Disconnect the power if your phone is plugged in and in water. If your phone is plugged into a wall charger and submerged in water, turn off power to the outlet before attempting to remove it from the water. Taking your phone out of water while it’s plugged in may result in an electric shock.[2]
    • Turning off the power at a fuse box is the safest way to do this.
  3. 3
    Turn your phone off immediately, even if it seems to be working. Leaving it on can cause it to short circuit. If it’s been in water, assume it is waterlogged whether it is still working or not.[3]
    • Don’t turn on your phone to see if it’s working.
  4. 4
    Remove your phone’s battery and cover and place them on paper towels. After removing the phone from the water, quickly gather some paper towels or soft cloths. Lay your phone on top of them while you remove the battery cover and battery. You will need a Philips screwdriver to open most phones. If you have an iPhone, though, you’ll need a special “pentalobe” screwdriver.[4]
    • Read the manual to your phone if you're not sure how to remove the battery.
    • This is one of the most important steps to saving your phone. Many circuits inside the phone will survive submersion in water if they’re not attached to a power source (battery) when wet.
    • To find out if the phone is truly water damaged, check the water damage indicator. In most cases, the indicator is located in the battery compartment behind the battery, or on the battery itself, depending on the phone model. Normally, it will look like a white square or circle. If this is pink or red, your phone has water damage.[5]
    • On many iPhone models, the water damage indicator is located on the side of the phone (in the SIM card slot) or at the bottom, near the charging port or headphone jack.[6]
  5. 5
    Take out the SIM card if your phone has one. After removing the SIM card, pat it down with a dry paper towel or cloth. Set it on a dry cloth or paper towel to dry out until you reconnect your phone to your cell network. If your phone does not have a SIM card, you can skip this step.[7]
    • Some or all of your valuable contacts (along with other data) are stored on your SIM card. In many cases, this may be more valuable and worthy of saving than the phone itself.
  6. 6
    Detach any accessories that may be on your phone. Remove any protective covers, ear buds, memory cards, or other things that attach to your phone. Be sure to expose all the phone’s slots and crevices to the open air so they can dry properly.[8]

Drying Your Phone

  1. 1
    Put your phone in a bowl of uncooked instant rice for 48-72 hours. Pour 4 cups (900 g) of rice into a large bowl. Then bury your phone and its disconnected battery in the rice. The rice will help draw out any residual moisture in your device.[9]
    • Rotate the phone to a different position every hour until you go to sleep. This will allow any water left inside to run down and hopefully find an opening to escape through.[10]
    • Regular uncooked white or brown rice isn’t as absorbent as instant rice and won’t work as well.
  2. 2
    Use silica gel packets instead of instant rice if you have some. Place the silica gel packet(s), your phone, and the disconnected battery into a container. Then let the phone sit for 48-72 hours to give the gel time to absorb any moisture remaining in your phone.[11]
    • Silica gel packets are those little packets that come with new shoes, purses, noodle packets, and other products.
    • Speed is the most important element in saving your wet phone, so use rice or another desiccant if you don't have any silica packets lying around.
    • There’s no need to open the packets. Simply place them in the container with your phone.
  3. 3
    Cover your phone with 4 cups (about .5 kg) of crystal cat litter. If you don’t have instant rice or silica gel packets lying around, crystal cat litter is another option. Pour a layer of cat litter into a container that’s at least 1–2 US quarts (0.95–1.89?L) in size. Then, lay your open phone and its detached battery on top of this layer. Pour in the rest of the litter to fully cover your phone.[12]
    • You can find crystal cat litter at most grocery stores and pet-supply shops.
    • Don’t use clay-based or other types of cat litter. Only crystal cat litter, which is made of silica gel, will work.
    • Other desiccants, like couscous pearls and instant oatmeal, will also work just as well.
  4. 4
    Suck the water out of your phone with a vacuum cleaner. Fit a hose attachment onto your vacuum cleaner. Then, set it to its highest setting and vacuum near all your phone’s openings.[13]
    • If you have one, a wet/dry vac would work especially well for this step.
    • This is the fastest method and can completely dry out your phone and get it working in 30 minutes. However, unless the exposure to water was extremely short, don’t attempt to turn your phone on this soon.
  5. 5
    Use an air compressor to blow water out of your phone. Set your air compressor to a low psi (pounds per square inch) setting. Then, blow the air across the surface of your phone and its ports.[14]
    • Alternatively, you can use a can of compressed air.
    • Using a higher psi may damage the inner components of your phone.
    • Don’t use a hair dryer to dry out your phone. The warm air may damage components in your phone.
  6. 6
    Wipe your phone and battery dry with a soft rag or towel. As you’re blowing or vacuuming your phone dry, gently wipe as much water off its surface as possible. Drying the inside of your phone is your priority, but you’ll also want to dry its outside.[15]
    • Avoid shaking or moving the phone excessively, so as to avoid moving water through it.
  7. 7
    Leave your phone in open air with a fan as another option. Place your phone on top of a dry towel or other absorbent surface. Then, if you have a fan, turn it on and position it so that it will blow air across your phone’s surface.[16]
  8. 8
    Wait 48-72 hours, then turn on your phone. Before turning on your phone, check to see that it’s clean and looks dry. Wipe away or vacuum any dust and dirt from the device and the detached battery. Then, insert the battery into the phone and try to power it on.[17]
    • The longer you wait to turn on your phone, the more likely it is to survive.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    What do you do if parts of the screen are turning black?
    Community Answer
    Take it to a professional phone fixer. Or maybe try putting it in rice longer.
  • Question
    What should I do if I can't remove the battery?
    Community Answer
    You don't have to. You might have to put it in rice more than 24 hours though.
  • Question
    How long should my phone sit in the uncooked rice?
    Community Answer
    Depending on the situation, it can take overnight to three days. You could leave it in for three to five days to be completely sure.
  • Question
    What can I do if my phone turns on and off?
    Community Answer
    If your phone is turning on and off continuously, that means that there is still some water damage happening inside your phone. If the rice, vacuum, or other methods are not working, seek professional help. Often they can fix it in no time.
  • Question
    Do I have to put it in rice?
    Community Answer
    Rice will absorb the water, which is very helpful if you want your phone to wok again. Read through the article for a variety of solutions. The question and answer section isn't a shortcut for the details offered above.
  • Question
    What will happen if my phone is an iPhone? I won't be able to remove the sim or battery.
    Adam Michael Sobers
    Community Answer
    You shouldn't have to worry, you can still put it in a bag of rice and leave it to dry for at least a day.
  • Question
    How do you get water out of the speakers?
    Community Answer
    Rice draws moisture,like out of the air, so it will pull the wet from the phone, including its speakers.
  • Question
    Can I also put a wet cellphone in cereal?
    Community Answer
    It depends on the cereal. Cereals like rice bubbles would work, but cereals like nutri-grain, corn flakes, and Special K will not help your phone dry.
  • Question
    My phone turns on, but doesn't function completely like it used to. What should I do?
    Community Answer
    Take it to a person who specializes in fixing phones. After trying the methods here, it needs professional attention if it still won't work.
  • Question
    What technique should I use if water has to be absorbed from the iPhone camera?
    Community Answer
    Cover your iPhone with white/black/yellow/wild rice in a large resealable plastic bag (Ziplock) where the iPhone fits in, then let it sit for about 24 hours.
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    • Take your cell phone to an authorized dealer if you can’t get it to work. They may be able to fix it.
    • Be careful when putting phones in rice, since the grains can get stuck in the charging/headphone ports.


    • Don’t try to unplug a phone that’s sitting in water, as it could lead to an electric shock. Remove your phone from water only after you cut off power to the outlet.
    • Don’t try to take your phone apart unless you’ve been trained to do so.
    • Avoid trying to dry your phone with heat, as this may damage your phone even more.

    Things You'll Need

    • Paper towels or dry cloths
    • Vacuum cleaner
    • Air compressor (optional)
    • Large 1–2?US?qt (0.95–1.89?L) bowl
    • Instant rice or crystal cat litter
    • Silica gel packets (optional)

    Article SummaryX

    If you got your cell phone wet, the first thing you should do is turn it off, even if it seems to be working, so it doesn't short circuit. Once it's off, take out the battery and place it on a paper towel. Depending on your phone, you might need to use a special kind of screwdriver to get the battery out. You should also take out your phone's SIM card if it has one. When you've finished disassembling your phone, use the hose attachment on a vacuum to suck water out of all the components. Wipe your phone and battery dry with a paper towel as you're vacuuming it. Once you're done, leave your phone and battery in a bowl of uncooked instant rice or silica gel packets for 48-72 hours to absorb any leftover moisture. To learn how to dry a wet cell phone using crystal cat litter, scroll down.

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    Categories: Featured Articles | Cell Phone Repair

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    Fran?ais: sauver un téléphone mouillé, Espa?ol: salvar un celular mojado, Português: Salvar um Celular Molhado, Deutsch: Ein nasses Handy retten, Italiano: Salvare un Cellulare Bagnato, Русский: спасти промокший телефон, Nederlands: Een nat mobieltje redden, Bahasa Indonesia: Menyelamatkan Ponsel Basah, 中文: 挽救进水的手机, ?e?tina: Jak zachránit utopeny telefon, ??????: ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??????, ???????: ????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?? ?????, 日本語: 濡れた携帯電話を救う, Ti?ng Vi?t: C?u m?t chi?c ?i?n tho?i b? ??t, ???: ?????????????????????????????????????????????, ???: ?? ?? ???? ??? ??, Türk?e: Islak Cep Telefonu Nas?l Kurtar?l?r

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