What should you do if your phone is dropped in liquid?
Do’s and Don’ts, What Causes The Damage, How to Fix it.
Soaked smartphone… now what?
So you spilled your drink on your phone, or it slipped through your fingers and landed in the sink, pool, puddle, or even the toilet. Chances are if this hasn’t happened to you, it has happened to someone you know. So your phone is soaked, now what? The first thing almost anyone does is “quick, throw the phone in a bag of rice and let it sit for a few hours. The phone will be dry and good as new.” Though you will find others that have mentioned success with the method, it is NOT the right way to repair a phone that is not water resistant or waterproof.
Unless you drop your phone in distilled water, any water has some minerals in it that will leave deposits on your phone when the water evaporates. Worse than water are soft drinks or other beverages that can leave more residue on your phone. Those deposits are what end up damaging your phone as most deposits are electrically conductive and will cause your phone to have any number of issues from a fast draining battery, to display issues, to the phone not powering on at all. The issues may be so subtle that you don’t notice them at all… at least until a handful of months later the affected components begin to fail.
So, what are you supposed to do when your non-water resistant device gets dunked? First, immediately power off the phone and remove the battery if it is accessible. Do not attempt to turn on the phone again until you can verify there is no water damage to the phone.
All instructions in this article are assuming your phone is not insured or still under any warranty. If it is still under warranty or insured any method listed here will void your warranty or insurance claim. We do not take responsibility for any damages to your phone so try these methods at your own risk.
Take apart the phone, or find someone who is capable of taking it apart. carefully check to see if any water got in the phone. If you are confident there is no water in or on an internal part of the phone you can put your phone back together and use it with confidence that you won’t damage your phone by using it.
What to do?
If the phone is still wet use Method 1. If the phone shows signs of water-damage but is no longer wet use Method 2
If it was water, use Method 1. If it was some other sugary liquid, use Method 2.
First rinse the board with distilled water for 1-2 minutes and shake/blow off as much of the water as possible with a fan or air duster, then set it somewhere safe to dry for the next 24-48 hours. You can speed up the drying process by placing it in front of a fan or using a hairdryer, though for best results, especially in a humid area, place the board in a sealed container with multiple desiccant packets (usually Silica Gel). While the board is drying take the time to use paper towels to blot-dry the rest of the phone housing and LCD and then place them in the container with the phone.
Note: If there are jacks or plugs such as charge ports or headphone jacks that were exposed attempt your best to clean them with a toothbrush and 91% Isopropyl Alcohol.
Version 1 (Cheaper, but riskier as there are components covered by shields and plates on the board that you may not see)
For those who don’t have access to a fancy machine, you can get a toothbrush (not one you plan on using in the traditional sense) and some +90% Isopropyl Alcohol. Find any visible areas on the board where there appears to have been water, spray the alcohol on the toothbrush and scrub the board. You can also spray the alcohol directly on the board if needed. once the board appears to be free of any and all deposits, continue by following all the instructions in Method 1.
Find a company that offers water-damage repair or get an ultrasonic cleaner for electronics. Those cleaners range anywhere from $100-$1000 and then you will need to find sensitive electronics cleaning solution for that cleaner. Once you have all the items needed place the water-damaged board in the ultrasonic cleaner with the proper ratio of cleaning solution and distilled water. The cleaner will then run for usually no more than 20 minutes before the board needs to be removed and then rinsed (usually in another ultrasonic cleaner) for another 5-10 minutes with just distilled water. Once done, the board can be taken out, inspected for remaining minerals, and dried.