Why You Shouldn’t Put a Soaked Phone in Rice (And What to Do Instead)

Before you concede to spending a load of cash on a brand-new phone, try one of these solutions that can help dry out your phone and save you from that all too familiar feeling of dropped-phone dread.

Your phone slips out of your hand and lands in a big rain puddle. You impulsively jump in the pool, forgetting your phone is in your pocket. A bathroom mishap ends with your phone in the toilet.

Feeling panicked yet? It’s no doubt that a phone dropped in water can ruin your day, your week, or even your year. But before you concede to spending a load of cash on a repair or brand-new phone, there are certain smartphone repairs you should never pay someone to fix. Save your phone, some cash, and that all-too-familiar feeling of dropped-phone dread.

Do damage control

Before attempting one of the many simple tricks that can save a wet phone, there are a few things you should always do. After dropping your phone in water, immediately turn it off, remove the phone case, and take out the SIM card. Leave the SIM card tray open so you don’t trap water inside. Wipe down the exterior of your phone with an absorbent cloth to remove any visible water. Once you’ve done these initial steps, try one or more of the following dry-out solutions.

Use silica gel packets (not rice)

Despite what you’ve heard, putting your phone in a container of uncooked rice won’t dry out your phone, and might actually even do more harm than good. Dust, starch, and small grains of rice can get lodged in the mechanisms of your phone (here’s how to clean them if that happens). Instead, use silica gel packets. They are used in packaged and boxed products (such as shoes) to absorb moisture, and can do the same for your phone. Place a few silica gel packets under your phone and on top. Let the phone sit for a few hours while the silica gel packets absorb the water.

Air dry

It may seem like an over-simplified solution, but simply letting your phone air dry is more effective than you might think. Place your phone on a flat surface, on top of a paper towel, and in a dry, warm space (but not hot, because overheating the phone can cause further damage). You can position a fan to blow on the phone to speed up the drying process. Resist the urge to check if the phone works; let it air dry for at least 24 hours, preferably 48, before turning it on. Plus, air drying is the top way to make sure you’re not accidentally shortening the life of your phone.

Use a high tech drying service

If you fear the worst for your waterlogged phone, you can try a high tech phone-drying company like TekDry or DryBox. Both companies save phones by providing a chamber into which yours is placed. Then various vacuum and heat technologies remove the water. TekDry is available at some Staples stores, and DryBox offers self-service kiosks at various locations. Using a drying service will cost about $40 to $70, but the results are promising. TekDry offers a money-back guarantee, and Drybox claims a more than 70 percent success rate. Next, find out if iPhones can get viruses and how to keep yours safe.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.