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How to Treat a Phone for Water Damage

As most people are aware, water and electronics don't mix well.

Unfortunately, there are occasions when contact between the two is unavoidable. Whether you drop your phone into a puddle or it gets splashed with some liquid from the dinner table, it is helpful to know what to do, and what not to do, when your phone is facing potentially permanent water damage.

  • The first step is to immediately remove the device from the wetness and remove the battery. Even if the phone did not turn of as a result of the incident, the longer it stays powered up the more likely it is to short circuit from exposure to water. The phone should only be turned on after a few days , once you are confident all of the water has evaporated. If the phone was plugged in to an outlet when it became submerged, don't reach into the liquid for it because you could end up with bigger problems than a broken phone. It would be ideal to seek out the help of a certified electrician to safely remove the phone, although it is difficult under time constraint.
  • Once the phone is out of the water the most important step is removing the battery. While doing this try to keep the phone as level and steady as possible. Moving it around too much may cause water to flow deeper into the phone, causing further damage unnecessarily. Many crucial electronic components which would be irreparably damaged by water if connected to power are just fine when not connected to a power source. If your phone has a case, now is the time to remove it to make sure there is no water trapped inside the phone.

  • After the battery has been removed continue disassembling the phone - take out the SIM and any memory cards. Getting as much air flow as possible is the goal, so remove any headphones or accessories which may be obstructive.

Never try to dry the phone out with a hairdryer or space heater. Heat can do more harm than good, especially if it starts melting components.

Strong airflow from a hairdryer may push water deeper into the phone and cause more extensive damage. However, it can be a good idea to use a vacuum cleaner to suck water out of the device, though it is a bit risky. If the vacuum cleaner head gets too close to the phone there may be enough static discharge to fry the circuits of the device, rendering it essentially useless. The best course of action is to find a way of blowing warm air across the surface of the phone instead of through it. Difference in pressure between the cold interior of the phone and the warmer air outside will suck air and vapour out of the device, effectively drying it. It might be a bit tricky to set up the angle of airflow, but using a simple fan set up is all you need.

One of the most popular methods for drying out a phone is to submerge it in rice or a desiccant such as the silica packets which are included with the purchase of shoes, wallets, and handbags. Whichever material you choose to absorb the humidity, make sure you leave the phone submerged for a at least a day or two for best results.

Once you feel confident that the phone is dry it is a good idea to make sure. Place the device on a napkin or towel, preferably brown or some other colour which will change when exposed to moisture. After an hour or so, check the fabric which you have left the phone on for signs of moisture. After completing all of the possible steps and procedures for removing water from the phone it is time for a final test. Begin by reassembling the components which you removed in the first few steps and try turning it on. If it doesn't work there is a chance the battery was damaged in the accident. Pull the battery out and plug the device into the wall - if it turns on, you need a new battery.

If your phone still does not work at this point, don't despair, a professional technician may be able to bring it back to life. Never try taking a phone apart on your own because by doing so you may expose yourself to bodily harm.

Ultimately, the best approach for dealing with problems with water damage and electronics is prevention. Consider investing in a waterproof case, or perhaps a water sealant if you want to trade some protection for sleek appearance.