6 Easy Steps to Save a Wet Cellphone – [First Aid Guide]

Dror Bederman

Dror Bederman

Tour Designer and Expert Tour Guide in Israel.

cellphone hanging on clothesline
the cellphone hanging on clothesline

You are walking along a fountain in Tel Dan or Akko, taking pictures at your leisure when you lose grip of your cell phone and it falls into the water.

The nearest mobile store is miles away and you must do something or else your phone will be damaged for good and all your pictures gone.

Well, no need to panic.

With some disassembling and assembling skills and some hot air, you can save your cellphone with some basic 6 simple steps.

It is important to note that any disassembling without having some knowledge or experience is not recommended and you will need to get to the nearest mobile store to get your phone fixed for you.  

Remove the Battery

Hand of woman connects plug of charger mobile phone, smartphone charging
smartphone charging on table

The first thing you need to do, once you get your cellphone out of the water, is to turn it off and remove the battery, to prevent any electric currents from coming in contact with the water.

In cell phones it is a fairly simple action, as well as with other appliances such as an MP3, where the batteries are replaceable.

It is highly recommended that you remove the battery immediately after your cell gets wet even if you intend on taking it to the lab, unless the battery cannot be removed.  

If you require a screwdriver to remove the battery, you need to be extra careful so you do not damage the Screw head and any plastic clips that need to be moved or removed. 

Make sure that you document every step you take, during the disassembly of your phone, by taking pictures with your friend’s phone or making notes, to make sure everything is put back together correctly.

Wash your Cell  

As strange as this may seem to you if your cell fell into salt water or pool water with chlorine in them, you need to wash it with tap water before disassembling it. The salt and the chlorine, as much as other substances, can greatly damage your phone.

Remember, electricity and water do not go together, so a short and quick rinse under the faucet should do the trick.

Disassemble your Phone

Tablet and screwdrivers. Technology service. Broken device isolated on white
Tablet and screwdrivers. Technology service. Broken device isolated on white

Once you have removed the battery and rinsed it with some tap water, if needed, remove the SM card and start disassembling your phone, using the right screwdriver. You do not need to dismantled the entire device, just enough to get access to its inner parts.

Here too, be cautious when using the screwdriver and document the disassembly process so you know which part goes where when assembling back your phone.  

Clean your Phone

Stethoscope and tablet
Stethoscope and tablet, isolated on a white background

In order to absorb the water that got inside your phone use cotton sticks, making sure no cotton fibers are left inside. Gently turn the cotton sticks around to thoroughly clean and absorb all the water.

Be careful when you reach the area of the speaker or the music player and make sure you do not push the speaker membrane as it is a sensitive part and may bent.  It is better to leave this area a bit wet then damage it.

Dry your Phone

Unlike what you may think, using blow heaters or hair dryers is not the best way to have your phone dried out. Using them for more than a minute or two, the heat may damage your device same as the water.

The best way to fully dry your phone is to put all the disassembled parts and the device itself under a 60 watts light, not more, during the night. You can also put them on top of an electric device like a TV connector or a Stereo amplifier that has slots to let the hot air out. This hot air is just in the right temperature to help dry your phone without damaging it.

Another option is to bury your cellphone in a deep bowl filled with dry rice, making sure it is completely covered with the rise, so that the rise can effectively absorbs the water. 

Assemble your Phone

After the device is dry, all that is left is to assemble your phone, using the pictures you took or your notes to carefully put each part exactly where it belongs, including the SIM card.  

Put the battery back in its place and turn on the device. It will probably work perfectly fine

Word of Caution

As this is a first aid guide only, if you are not sure whether you can do this, it is best to go to a lab or a technician to repair your device.

In any case, consider if you wish to include your phone in your traveling insurance. Good luck and may your cellphone never gets wet !

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