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How To Quickly Fix A Phone or MP3 Player With Water Damage

Dean Sherwin 20-11-2009

How To Quickly Fix A Phone or MP3 Player With Water Damage cellphoneinwater thumbDue to my own stupidity, I was left using my old, decrepit mobile phone for four whole days with minimum contacts, no media and no apps which I normally use for e-mail, RSS and Twitter.


What happened was this; I got bored so I decided to go for a stroll. After half an hour I found myself caught out in the rain. It got really bad and huge puddles started to form on the road. The worst I’ve seen it in a long time. At points, the roads were flooded right across with five inches of water covering the footpaths.

Needless to say I got splashed three times by cars (I think one wise guy did it on purpose). I assumed my phone would be fine because it was in my jacket pocket – away from my jeans which were completely soaked through. But no. The flap which covers my jacket pocket at the front was tucked into the pocket creating a nice funnel for the rain and splash water to flow right into. My phone was literally submerged in water in my pocket. It didn’t work when I got home and went to check my e-mail. Shocker.

However now it does because I worked my magic. Here are three tips to fix a phone with water damage..

Act Quickly

The minute you discover that your phone is water damaged it’s time to act. Remove every cover and detachable part you possibly can. On my phone I took out the memory card, the SIM card, battery and back cover. Unfortunately, because it’s a touch screen the front does not come away.

Using toilet paper or a thin cloth, blot away any excess water you can see inside of the phone. Be sure to get as much as you can. Failing to do so will mean that all this water will start evaporating and collecting in hard to reach places in your phone.


Your phone may work now if it was only submerged for a short period of time. Like if you dropped it in the sink. If not, keep reading.

Quick Drying

Your phone now has an appointment at the beauty salon. Get hold of a hairdryer and fix phone start to dry your phone paying extra attention to the battery housing as this normally has small holes which allow air (and ironically enough, water) into the phone.

A warning: Don’t hold the hair dryer too close to the phone. Keep it at a distance whereby if you put your hand in front of the hair dryer it wouldn’t burn you. Any closer and you could damage your phones electrical components. No seriously. Try putting a hair dryer up against a sheet of paper for a few seconds. It turns it brown – would you want that happening to the inside of your phone?


If 20-30 minutes of this doesn’t work – go to plan C.

Long Term Drying

This is what I eventually had to do to fix my phone because it was so badly soaked. Put it in the linen closet or some place warm and dry in your house. Airing cupboards and next to boilers are good choices. The rule of thumb is that it must be a warm place where the phone isn’t in contact with direct or intense heat. So putting it on top of a radiator (despite what other guides say on the internet) is a bad idea as you can damage your phone by heating it too much and it will just rapidly evaporate the water on the inside causing it to collect – this is an ongoing cycle.

By putting it in a warm dry place you allow the water to slowly evaporate and escape through the holes in the phone (remove the covers and battery when doing this).

Some other tips for this method:

  • Try to point the back of the phone upwards with the screen pacing down. This allows the moisture to escape easier.
  • Around 20°C is a good temperature.
  • Disassemble the phone as much as possible.

From my own experience and those of my family, you stand a pretty good chance of fixing your phone this way. I’d say there is a success rate of around 75%.

For touch screen phones, the front won’t come off which leads to moisture build up on the screen. However, there are normally tiny screws at the back which, when removed, should enable you to take off the front. This will allow you to dry the moisture from the touch screen. You do this at your own risk.

Despite what the phone shops would have you believe, it is fairly easy to fix a phone with water damage. Many people assume that once water gets in that’s that. But really, phones are just circuit boards, a screen and a few other bits and bobs. The main reason for them not working when they’re wet is because water on the board or at the battery connectors is causing it to short out.

This is a quick fix to a problem almost everyone will have at some stage. For more of my articles relating to cell phones – see my authors page. Or what if you got your Mac computer wet? Make sure to check out Jackson’s article on how to deal with spilled coffee or coke on your Macbook How To Deal With Spilled Coffee or Coke on Your Macbook If you have spilled coffee or Coke on your MacBook the best you can do for it is be courageous. Read More .


Do you have any other secret methods for fixing water damaged phones? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Water damage Sacramento
    January 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Have you tried placing the phne and battery in a bowl of rice? I heard that helps when you have a phone with water damage.

  2. Madieta
    November 23, 2009 at 7:33 am

    There's something you don't say and people forget: First thing, when you notice that your phone/MP3/Laptop/whatever electronic is wet: don't try to use it to check if it works, if it's not off turn it off immediatly! If it's wet and you use it you risk damaging it forever.

  3. Kyle
    November 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    One method that I have been told about, but haven't had to use yet *crosses fingers*, is to 1) Take the battery out and dry, 2) dry the phone as much as possible with a towel, and 3)submerge the phone in a cup or bowl of rubbing alcohol. The alcohol displaces the water so that when you take the phone out the alcohol will quickly evaporate leaving you with a water free phone.

  4. absurdist
    November 21, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The best way I've found is to remove any visible water as above, then put the piece of equipment into an oven at its lowest setting (around 110-120F) and leave it overnight. This is warm enough to dry any equipment out thoroughly without being hot enough to damage anything.

  5. forexkill
    November 21, 2009 at 10:39 am

    i try to repair with rice,, its work,

  6. Colin
    November 21, 2009 at 3:42 am

    "Try to point the back of the phone upwards with the screen facing down. ". I have an annoying blank bit at the base of my screen because I did that once.

    I would suggest standing the phone upright, with its open back exposed. That way, any minimal amounts of moisture won't drip/condense onto the screen, as they did on mine.

    Good article. Hopefully it might stop some usable phones being chucked away.

  7. Bruce
    November 20, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Instead of a hair dryer use a vacuum to suck the moisture out then in a bag of rice for several days if submerged completely I resurrected an iphone this way

  8. confidential247
    November 20, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I once used those silica gel packets that come with electronics and put the cell phone in a plastic bag and it worked just fine. I think you could also use a paper bag to let out more moisture too.

  9. AussieRodney
    November 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Yes, anything that will absorb the moisture. Rice is perfect & easily available.

  10. Tim
    November 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I've also heard that using cat litter instead of rice works also. Obviously wrap the phone in a clothe or something, but the cat litter should work as an absorbing agent.

  11. like the real boy
    November 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    One of the tricks I have used on 2 occasions now is drying off the phone as much as possible, separating the battery from the phone and placing it in a bowl of uncooked rice overnight. I've recommended it to several friends as well and it does the trick every time.