You dropped your phone in the pool, ocean, toilet, etc. and your wireless carrier can't help you. The insurance you may have on the phone does not cover this type of damage or your deductible is very high. What can you do?
The Internet has a lot of advice regarding what you should do if you drop your phone in water or some other type of liquid. However, completely removing the moisture and corrosive elements, and extending the life of your cell phone is not a matter of simply putting it into a bag of rice for a couple of days.
In this article, we'll review some of the most common DIY myths, show some images of cell phone corrosion from real customer phones, and then offer our opinion on what to do if your cell phone does get wet.
10 DIY MYTHS FOR LIQUID-DAMAGED CELL PHONES
We call these "myths" because our experience has taught us that none of the most common DIY solutions including, the wildly popular "bag of rice", completely remove moisture AND remove the corrosion-causing elements such as salt and chlorine that can eventually destroy the device. Our point of view is that while your phone is sitting in a bowl of rice for a few days, the internal components of your phone might already be experiencing the damaging affects of corrosion. Corrosion is like a cancer that will eventually destroy the sophisticated electronics inside your smartphone.
Put Phone in a Bag or Bowl of Rice - This method does not remove the corrosive elements that may have already invaded your device. Also, fine particles (dust) from the rice can get into the various openings on your phone such as the earphone jack and charging port and create more problems. The general rule is that the phone must remain in the rice for at least 48 hours. However, when water meets electronic components, corrosion can begin to form inside the device within as little as 12-24 hours. Ultimately, your smartphone may experience a premature demise because a critical component such as the motherboard was infected with corrosion and is beyond repair. We have many customers who took this DIY approach but eventually needed our professional deep cleaning services to revive their phone.
Put Phone in Bag or Bowl with Silica Gel Packs - Similar to the "Put Phone in a Bag of Rice" method but without the dust. Our concerns about potential corrosion issues do not go away with this approach.
Put Phone in Bag or Bowl of Kitty Litter, Pasta, etc. - We assume the idea is that if you don't have any Rice or Silica Gel Packs, some other "absorbent" material will remove the moisture just as well. Ditto our corrosion concerns.
Blow Dry Phone - Excessive heat from the blow dryer can cause further damage to the phone's internal components, cause adhesives to melt, and accelerate the affects of corrosion. Even if you set the blow dryer on the lowest (cool) temperature setting the phone could be further damaged because the force of the air from the blow dryer can push moisture and dust particles further inside the phone.
Heat Phone in Oven - As we already stated, exposing your phone to excessive heat is really bad. Also, this method will do a good job of melting the adhesives as well as baking any particles from the liquid onto the sophisticated components of your cell phone and render it totally useless.
Microwave Phone - Not only could this method damage your microwave appliance because you should never put metal into a microwave oven, the microwaves will heat the moisture and melt the adhesives that hold the phone's components together.
Put Phone in Freezer - Freezing the liquid inside your phone does not remove the moisture. Also, excessively cold temperatures are just as bad for phones as excessive heat.
Submerge Phone in Rubbing Alcohol - To start, this method assumes you use 99% isopropyl alcohol which, is not commonly sold. The rubbing alcohol sold by most drugstores is usually around 70% strength. But even if you have 99% isopropyl alcohol, leaving your phone submerged in alcohol can cause the adhesives that hold phone's components together to break down. We have also found that alcohol can damage the internal speakers.
Leave Phone In Hot Car or Place Phone in the Sun - Again, excessive heat is bad for cell phones. Adhesives can melt and components can warp.
Flush Phone with Distilled Water - This is a popular recommendation for DIY people whose smartphone has been exposed to salt water or heavily chlorinated water that is common in swimming pools. The idea is that salt and chlorine are very corrosive (we agree) and the fresh or distilled water will remove these elements. The next step would typically be to use the Rice or Silica Gel Pack methods we already discussed to dry the phone out. In our opinion, this method will not adequately remove the elements inside the phone that could corrode critical electronic components.
EXAMPLES OF SMARTPHONE CORROSION ISSUES
As previously stated, none of the DIY remedies remove all the moisture and prevent corrosive build-up inside your phone. For example, even if the Rice or Silica Gel Pack approaches "seem" to work, there is a chance your phone will only work until corrosion eventually eats away at the critical components inside your phone. In days, weeks or months your phone may stop working and, quite possibly, be beyond repair.
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OUR RECOMMENDATION ON HOW TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR CELL PHONE AFTER IT GETS WET
Power Off and Do Not Charge - If your cell phone is not powered on LEAVE IT POWERED OFF. If it is powered on, immediately power it off and leave it off. Do not plug your phone into a charger or plug it into any device such as the USB port on a computer. If the battery is easily accessible, remove it. If your phone comes into contact with electricity immediately after being exposed to water, the electrical charge could damage internal components such as the motherboard.
Find A Professional Cell Phone Repair Technician - Take your cell phone to a cell phone technician who can remove all moisture and corrosion from the inside-out using professional, deep cleaning tools and processes. Our experience has taught us that this approach can significantly extend your phone's useful life. If you are in the Alpharetta, Johns Creek or Roswell areas of Georgia we invite you to Call or Visit our Store. Let our experienced technicians perform a comprehensive moisture removal and deep cleaning of your smartphone. If you do not live near Pro Gadget Clinic we suggest that you Google "cell phone repair" in your area to locate a reputable cell phone technician. Ask them what to do if your phone gets wet. If the response is "put it into a bag of rice" you may want to keep looking.