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How do I Fix a Water Damaged Cell Phone?

Anna T.
Updated May 16, 2024
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It is sometimes possible to fix a water damaged cell phone using a cloth, heat, or some rice. These methods do not always work, but they might if the water hasn't seeped too deeply inside to the inner workings of the phone. For this reason, the chances of repairing a water damaged cell phone may be greater when repair attempts are made immediately. The longer you wait to try and fix your cell phone, the more likely it is that the phone will not be repairable.

As soon as you notice your phone has either dropped into water or has gotten water on it, you should take a cloth to it and wipe it off. Additionally, you should probably remove the back of the phone so you can take out the SIM card and battery. Place the phone, SIM card, and battery onto a paper towel so the water can completely drain. After a couple of hours, you can put the phone back together and turn it on. If the phone will turn on, you can try to make a call to be sure it is working properly.

If you put your water damaged cell phone back together and it won't turn on, it is likely that some water has gotten down inside the phone. When this happens, you may still be able to repair it using rice. You can remove the battery and SIM card from the phone once again and place all three components into a bowl filled with rice. This may work because rice is very absorbent, and it sucks in almost all water it is exposed to. Leave it all in the bowl overnight, and in the morning your phone may be working again because the rice will have absorbed any excess moisture you were not able to get out.

You could also use heat to dry out a water damaged cell phone. If the rice method either did not work or you don't have rice on hand, you can take the phone apart and lay all its pieces outside in direct sunlight for several hours. The heat from the sun may completely dry out the inside and outside of the phone and its parts. If it is raining or the sun is not out, you can place the phone directly on top of a heat vent or use a blow dryer on low heat to get the same results.

Keep in mind that if you try to take the phone apart and remove more than just the battery and SIM card, you run the risk of voiding your warranty with your cell phone provider or phone manufacturer. If all of your attempts at repairing your phone are unsuccessful, you will likely have no choice but to take it to your cell provider or to a place that repairs cell phones to get it fixed. Unless your phone is very valuable, the cost of repairing the phone might be higher than what you paid for it, and you might be better off buying a new one. It may be beneficial to purchase insurance from your cell phone provider to protect you from having to pay much, if anything, out of pocket to fix a water damaged cell phone.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to EasyTechJunkie. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By StarTechie — On Aug 15, 2013

Putting it in a plastic bag full of rice overnight works for me every time, but then again, I have an older slider phone. I'm not sure about the new smartphones.

By anon332404 — On Apr 29, 2013

Consider using a wet phone recovery pack like Rescuetec. They are specifically designed to suck all the moisture out of wet electronics. They are typically seven times better at this than rice, and three times better than silica gel.

By anon317574 — On Feb 02, 2013

I had the dreaded white screen. My cell provider was unable to give me any answers. But I kept trying to reset the programming. After reading several articles, I tried the rice solution. After letting it sit overnight the phone's display would work for only a few minutes and then go white again. I finally got a friend who works in chemicals to give me some desiccants. They were the small beaded types, so I placed the phone in a stocking to keep the beads from getting inside of the smaller holes. I placed the stocking phone inside of a zip locked bag filled with the desiccants and left it with back off and battery removed for 24 hours. My phone's display is now back to normal.

Moisture in cell phones is such a common problem, you would think that the cell providers would be more helpful in resolving this issue.

By anon225593 — On Oct 27, 2011

I've been hearing lately that rice may not be the best material to use for this problem. Yes, it will absorb moisture over time, but it can also break into dusty pieces and get trapped in sensitive electronic spaces. What I've heard works better are the dessicant packs often included in vitamin bottles and electronic gadgets. I think some electronics stores also sell them as separate products.

You're supposed to get one or two of those dessicant packs and put it in the battery case or other accessible area of the water-damaged cellphone. The dessicant packs will do the same thing as the rice, but won't break apart or turn to dust.

By anon149731 — On Feb 05, 2011

we used rice to get mine back to working but now the sound does not work on mine.

By DentalFloss — On Feb 03, 2011

Unfortunately while insurance might help if your phone breaks, it does not always cover things like water damage. I also did not get insurance and therefore was not covered when I lost my phone and, about a month later, it turned up as stolen when someone tried to activate it at a local phone store of the same carrier. Criminals are stupid, and buying a new phone so you suddenly have two is annoying,and cell phones in general are often more trouble than they're worth.

By watson42 — On Feb 02, 2011

I had this motorola razor phone that lasted through about a hundred falls, and it finally stopped working because I had it next to a water bottle and it leaked.

However, I fixed it by taking it apart, including the battery, front, and back, and leaving all of the cell phone parts on a car dashboard all afternoon in the sun. When I put it together it all worked. I would say if it is bright enough outside, try using sunlight as a heat source.

By anon144557 — On Jan 20, 2011

You can blow dry on low through the connections on the bottom all right through the phone after removing sim and bat. if no blow dryer is around, use the heat from your car heater.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to EasyTechJunkie. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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