It can happen in a moment. Whether your “waterproof” case leaks, an unexpected thunderstorm shows up, or you simply get a bit clumsy in the bathroom after a couple of margaritas, it’s way too easy to end up with a soaked smartphone.
We’ll all been there. I’ve personally managed to saturate two smartphones in recent years: one in a tulip field in the Netherlands when the heavens opened, and one on a plane when I knocked a glass of water all over myself… and all over my phone.
This is one situation where a little knowledge and preparation goes a long way, whether you’re in your kitchen or traveling thousands of miles from home. These tips won’t save every phone, but if you’re lucky, they might just save yours.
Here’s what you need to know.
Get Your Phone out of the Water
Simple, right? Eww, but I dropped it in the toilet! I need to get some rubber gloves on… No. Tough it out. Every second of water exposure reduces the phone’s chances of making it. Wash your hands thoroughly later, but for now, the priority is to get your phone away from any more water.
If it’s raining, wrap it in any material that won’t let in more liquid (a plastic bag works in a pinch). And, obviously, get out of the rain as soon as you can.
Turn It off and Start Removing Things
The case, and any other accessories, need to get out of the way ASAP. Much like in the emergency room when your clothes get cut off instead of carefully removed, seconds matter.
If it was plugged in when water was spilled on it, carefully turn it off at the wall and remove the plug from the socket. Water and electricity don’t mix.
If the phone didn’t shut down automatically, power it off now. Take out the SIM card, microSD card, and if you can, the battery. These can all trap water inside, as well as get damaged themselves.
Dry It With a Lint-Free Towel
It’s time to coddle this piece of tech you’ve just abused. If you wear glasses or own a DSLR, you probably have a lint-free towel laying around. If you don’t, a paper towel or washcloth will have to do.
Get rid of as much water as you can. The front and back of the phone should be completely dry by the time you finish. Be sure to get the cloth into the charging port, headphone jack, SIM slot, and any other nooks and crannies you can find.
The more water you can remove yourself, the better.
Find Things to Help Dry Your Phone Out
Now you’ve got rid of the surface water, it’s time to do what you can about the liquid inside your phone. I’ve listed three options here, depending on how well you’ve planned and where you are when disaster strikes.
Note that whatever approach you take, don’t try to use high heat to speed up the process. You’ll damage your phone even more if you sit it on top of the radiator for hours, or try to blast hot air through it with a hairdryer or fan heater.