Will Rice Dry Out Your Waterlogged Smartphone?

There is a bit of truth in this tried and true home hack.

Even if your wet smartphone looks like it has been thrown away, there’s a good chance that you’ll turn it back on. But you have to act fast: the longer the water is in, the more likely it will attack the metal components in it forever.

This is a do-it-yourself time. While most people are forced to return damaged items, your phone’s warranty likely doesn’t cover water damage. And you may not be lucky enough to be able to download to your phone company quickly – most modern phones come with a “water sticker” that changes color permanently when wet.

So go ahead: get out this box of rice.

Step 1: Remove the battery

Immediately remove the power plug by removing the battery. We know it’s tempting but resist the urge to turn your phone on to see if it works. Only turning it on can interfere with the circuit.

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If you have a GSM phone (AT&T type and with T-Mobile) you will also need to remove the SIM card. Open the SIM card tray with a pen or a special SIM card ejector and remove the small card. Water can just enter this pinhole and you also don’t want to risk changing your SIM card. Even if your phone turns out to be beyond repair, the SIM card should store a lot of data, e.g. contacts in your phonebook.

Step 2: Dry your phone

Will Rice Dry Out Your Waterlogged Smartphone?

Then dry your phone. This sounds like the easiest step, but things get complicated.

Don’t even think about installing a hairdryer on your cell phone. Additional heat can cause corrosion if there is water on your phone hardware. It also doesn’t mean microwave. All they will do is burn your phone, which will dry it out but not work properly.

Although heat evaporates moisture, it can also damage components and melt adhesives. This fragile adhesive is also the reason why you don’t want your phone to soak in alcohol (a suggestion that is often recommended on the internet). Alcohol is a solvent and can dissolve internal adhesives.

Instead, start with a soft microfiber cloth that you use to wipe the stain on your glasses. If you can remove the back cover of your phone, wipe the components inside with a towel. And if you need some warmth to get rid of water that still doesn’t dissolve, leave your phone on a window sill in the sun.

You can also choose a box of compressed air, an air compressor set to low psi, or a vacuum cleaner (a wet/dry shop vacuum would be ideal). The idea is to use air to remove or draw water vapor through the same channel that it enters.

Step 3: use a dryer

Here’s the most important part: soak your phone in the dryer or any other material that causes dryness by absorbing water. It’s just a nice way of saying grab rice.

Leave the phone and unplugged the battery in a bowl of rice overnight. According to Gazelle, a company that buys and sells consumer electronics that it already owns, instant rice (like Uncle Bens) is a better choice than plain raw rice (which is cooked in 15 to 20 minutes).

In a test in May 2014, Gazelle submerged nine smartphones before trying to save them all with another dryer:

After removing as much water as possible from the machine, using a generous amount of dryers can help speed up the drying process. If a dryer is used, silica gel is the best option tested, followed by couscous and instant rice. Regular cat litter, wheat, and chia seeds are discouraged due to the dust and litter that builds upon the phone. . . Raw white rice is not recommended due to its poor performance as a dryer.

As stated in the review, silica gel is the best choice if you are going on foot. You may be accustomed to seeing silica gel in the form of a small bag tucked into a bag of new clothes or shoes. However, acting fast is much more important than avoiding powdered rice or quinoa. So, don’t waste time buying silica gel packs if you don’t already have a drawer full.

A final note: if your phone is soaked in saltwater, you may need to rinse everything with clean water before drying it. When saltwater evaporates, leaving crystals that can damage the delicate components of the phone. Make sure to remove the battery before flooding the device.

Source: Popular Mechanics

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