This is a guest post from Leo B. at iCareRepair.
Did you have too much fun in the water this summer? Are you one of many who accidentally dropped a phone into the water? As much fun as the hot season can bring, it’s also the peak period for water-related accidents with cell phones.
From your online research, you have probably heard of repair “tips and tricks” to salvage your expensive smartphone dropped in water. You might be willing to try these tips out just because they’re cheap and only make use of household products.
But what if it didn’t work? Then you’re left with a broken phone and will have to spend more buying a new device. So, once and for all, let’s break down these repair myths on water-damaged phones and figure out the best solution for your wet device.
Myth #1: Use uncooked rice to dry your phone dropped in water because it’s water absorbent. A lot of online DIYs swear by this technique. Just cover the device with uncooked rice and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours.
Fact: Rice is not a quick-and-easy technique for a phone dropped in water. A study performed by Gazelle showed that rice is not as absorbent as we thought compared to other materials like silica gel, kitty litter or even oatmeal. So if you wait for hours for the rice to do its job, you will be waiting in vain and all you’ll get are the internal circuits getting fried by the water.
Myth #2: Stick the waterlogged phone in the freezer. Wrapped in paper towels to avoid frost damage, store the wet phone in the freezer. This will result in reduced conductivity of the water molecules, and thereby prevent short circuits when the phone is in use.
Fact: This is only a temporary solution and can even cause further damage to the device. When the ice melts, you’re left with the same problem. Plus, it can mess up the fragile LCD screen.
Myth #3: Place the wet phone in the oven. Remove the battery and SIM card, then “bake” the phone at about 125 degrees F for a few hours and the problem is solved.
Fact: This is a bad idea because the oven can burn the LCD screen. Besides, the printed circuit board (PCB) is made of plastic and can get warped.
The insides of the phone contain adhesives, which can liquefy due to the heat. The solder might also reflow or turn into liquid, which can break the connections in the circuitry inside the phone.
Dry It Out With Alcohol
Myth #4: Soak the wet phone in alcohol. A 95-percent alcohol solution is hygroscopic, so it can soak up all of the moisture in the phone. After the liquid is gone, the alcohol then evaporates, leaving your phone completely dry.
Fact: Alcohol is a solvent so it can dissolve plastic parts of the phone such as LCDs and cables. Alcohol can also release the adhesive that keeps the internal components together, especially in iPhones.
Silica Gel to the Rescue
Myth #5: Stuff the wet phone in packets of silica gel. Silica gel packets are known to be effective desiccants, capable of absorbing moisture and drying out waterlogged phones. Place the wet device in a bowl filled with the silica packets, then cover with a tight-fitting lid.
Fact: Silica packets are not a long-term solution to fixing wet phones. You can do this step during an emergency situation when you don’t have the tools to dry the device properly. But the time it takes to completely dry the phone (usually 48 hours) may be too late, and the circuits may have already been fried by the water by then.
4 Steps to Dry a Wet Phone Properly
1. Remove the battery and the SIM card. This makes sure that the phone won’t turn on by accident and fry the insides, and also to protect the data in the SIM card.
2. Wipe the internal parts very gently using a soft dry cloth.
3. Blow it dry using a hairdryer to totally allow moisture to escape. Do it a few seconds at a time to keep the device at decent temperature. Avoid direct heat on the battery whether it’s plugged in or not.
4. Put all the components back together and switch it back on. If the power stays off, the battery could be damaged. You can check this by removing the battery and plugging it in. If it works, then the battery might need to be replaced.
About the Author: Leo B. is a cell phone repair technician at iCare Repair. He has great passion for mobile technology and is always a proud owner of the latest HTC phones.