We all, at some point, will have an accident with the phone. No, not whilst driving (not legal, or recommended), and not dialling or texting the wrong person. I’m talking about dropping your phone in water, or spilling juice on it, or dropping it in soup (my mother did that once! It tasted just as good).
First things first, if you waterlog your handset timing is everything. And just like in the ‘What to do when your Internet / broadband stops working‘ guide, if you skip steps or get impatient then you will only be making the process longer for yourself, and ultimately end up with a useless handset.
Step 1: remove that battery and SIM card immediately. I mean then and there. The longer the battery remains in the handset, the more likely the water will destroy the battery before it kills the phone. By limiting the phone’s time in fluid, the quicker it will recover. Place the battery and SIM to one side.
Step 2: Place your handset in a warm environment so it can get completely dry. Do not use a hairdryer, oven, on a radiator, or place it in direct sun. These kinds of places are simply too warm and the heat can easily cause more damage. There is no point in frying the handset because you’re impatient.
Let it dry in a normal (human temperature) environment. Good places are on the kitchen table, airing cupboard or general living space. Dab it with a dry cloth that is absorbent, typical kitchen paper is probably your best bet. Also, put some kitchen paper underneath it.
If your handset is a clamshell design, open it up and place it downwards, so it makes a bridge shape on a flat surface. This will allow air to circulate around it much better.
Do not put the back-cover back on. That is just going to incubate the moisture.
Another method that I have heard of is placing the handset in a bowl / jar of uncooked rice. Rice is excellent at absorbing water. If anyone has had / has not had success at this, do post in the comments below.
Or, another sensible option is those little packets of silicon that you get in electronics boxes, or shoe boxes. Place these and the handset in a plastic bag.
And one final offering, if the handset has been in salt water, you should be rinsing it in distilled water to remove the traces of salt crystals, before allowing it to dry out. I have heard some people (wary warning for this one) using meths to remove sediment. I have never tried this method, so I’m not exactly wild about it.
Step 3 (the waiting game): I would recommend that you do not use the handset for at least 48 hours. I do mean 48 hours, not give it whirl the following morning, a full four clock cycles.
Step 4: Don’t attempt to use your phone if the display is foggy, or looking as though it still has moisture inside.
Once you think you’re good to go, place just the battery in, not the SIM card yet, and turn it on. If the handset starts, and you see the usual splash screen and it sounds right, then turn it off and place the SIM card back in.
If something does not seem quite right, go back to steps 2 and 3.