Your smartphone's price tag doesn't protect it from accidents, unfortunately. People buy phone cases in case they drop their new phone, but what if your phone gets wet? According to Secure Data Recovery, a data recovery service, 23% of people not only get their phone wet but actually drop their phone in the toilet. That's one way to flush your money away.
While many smartphones are water-resistant, that doesn't mean they're waterproof, so it's still important to dry your phone out. Here are three ways to dry your phone out after dropping it in water and hopefully save yourself from having to buy a new one.
Unfortunately, none of these methods are guaranteed to work, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence with very few scientific studies on the subject. The most recent study we could find was from 2014 by Gazelle, a company that buys and sells used and broken phones. According to that study, the make and model of phone were found to influence whether or not a phone could return to working order, with Android phones typically faring better than iPhones.
Sources agree that getting your phone out of the water as quickly as possible helps by minimizing how much water comes into contact with your device. If you follow these instructions and your phone won't turn on, or it turns on and has some issues, you should take it to a phone shop to see if they can help.
What Apple and Samsung recommend
Both phone manufacturers have some tips for users in case your phone is dropped in water.
Here's what Apple says to do:
1. Remove your iPhone from the water, turn it off and dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth.
2. Tap your phone gently with the Lightning port facing down to get excess water out.
3. Place your iPhone in a dry area with good circulation and wait at least five hours. Pointing a fan at your iPhone's Lightning port might help the process.
After five hours, turn your phone back on and see how it's working. If you're still having issues, jump to the end of this article.
Samsung has similar instructions:
1. Remove your phone from the water, turn it off and dry it off with a dry towel or a clean cloth.
2. Place your phone in a well-ventilated area or in the shade with cool air from a fan. Samsung doesn't specify a length of time to wait, though.
Samsung says even after you've followed these steps that there might still be water inside your phone so you should bring it to a Samsung Electronics Service Center.
Both manufacturers also say if you drop your phone in a liquid other than clean water -- like soda or pool water -- you should quickly rinse your phone using tap water before drying with a towel and then air drying.
Apple and Samsung say to never use a heating source, like a blow dryer or oven, to dry your phone off. The heat could damage your phone.
Silica gel beads could help
You could also try silica gel. According to Gazelle, silica gel beads are a good option to absorb moisture out of phones. Silica gel beads can be found in those white packs labeled "Do not eat" many products come packed with. You can save these packs from packages you've received, or buy packs through online stores like Amazon or companies like Dry & Dry.
Once you have your silica, here's what to do after dropping your phone in water.
1. Get your phone out of the water and turn it off.
2. Dry the outside of your phone with a lint-free towel.
3. Place your phone in a large container.
4. Fill the container with your silica gel beads and seal the container.
5. Gazelle recommends waiting 72 hours to let your phone dry.
6. Remove your phone from the container and try turning it back on.
Other household items might help
If you don't have silica gel beads on hand, you could try other household items. Gazelle found couscous and instant rice both work well as drying agents.
Follow the steps in the above section, but replace the silica beads with either of these, wait for the same amount of time and then try restarting your device.
Gazelle also tested conventional cat litter, oats, chia seeds and uncooked white rice but doesn't recommend these products because they leave behind debris that could damage your phone.
For more tips, check out how low-frequency sounds can get rid of water from your phone's speakers, how to get two days out of a single iPhone charge and how to easily manage your Android permissions.