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How to Dry Out a Wet Cell Phone

March 10, 2009

in mobile hardware

by Tina Gasperson

Water is just plain bad for electronic gadgets, but for some reason our cell phones seem to be almost magnetically attracted to the wet stuff. Maybe it’s because they’re small and fit into our pockets that they seem to get washed more than their fair share. Or maybe they end up swimming in the sink because they’re too small and won’t stay put. Whatever the reason, you’ll probably have the opportunity at least once in your life to perform a water rescue mission on your mobile phone. With lots of luck and a little skill, you can resuscitate your gadget.

Obviously, the quicker you can get your phone out of the water, the better. If it’s been soaking all night, you don’t have much chance of reviving it. But a quick dunk may be survivable. The first thing to do is remove the battery. Dry it and set it aside. Shake the phone with the open side down to get as much excess moisture out as possible. Now is not the time to get out your blow dryer – the air pressure could force water droplets further into the circuitry. Instead, try to disassemble the phone as much as possible. Take the SIM and micro-SD cards out. Anything that unscrews or pops off should be dealt with. Then wipe the phone down, in between the keys, under the antenna, inside the micro-SD slot and the battery compartment. Shake it some more to help coax out any drops of water that may be hiding.

Once you’re fairly certain that there are not any drops of water still inside the phone, you can move on to further drying methods. Just don’t put the battery back in the phone yet, because you need to make sure that your phone is completely dry before you do that. Now, you can try things such as a blow dryer set on cool and the lowest speed. Or you could put your phone inside the foot of a pair of panty hose, tie a tight knot, and place it in a small container of kitty litter or kosher salt for several hours or overnight. Don’t use regular salt because the granules are too small and will get inside your phone. Another option is to put your phone in the refrigerator for several hours. Don’t put it in the freezer, however, because the temperature is too low and it will damage your mobile phone.

If you follow these suggestions carefully and don’t get into a hurry, you just may save your cell phone (and a bundle of money too).

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.