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Sep
18th

Ten Ways to Salvage a Soaked Cell Phone

You’re sitting at your PC playing internet bingo, close to winning the game and suddenly you knock over that glass of iced tea (or whatever beverage you drink while playing) all over your cell phone. Or even worse you leave the game to put the clothes you have in the washer in the dryer only to find you’ve sent your brand new cell phone through the washing machine. The first thought most people have is that all is lost and the only thing to do is to shell out big bucks for a new phone. Believe it or not there are many ways to save a wet cell phone phone. Before you run out and shell out big bucks for a new phone you may want to try some of the methods listed in this article first.

There are several ways to save a wet cell phone or GPS device. Some may seem unusual but do you really want to have to purchase another expensive phone? Here are several steps and methods you can use to try and salvage your soaked phone.

1. Obviously the first step is to remove the phone from whatever liquid it was immersed in. Next remove the battery as soon as possible. I can’t overstate how important this step is. The phone is an electronic device and electricity and water do not mix. Leaving the battery in will cause short circuits and damage the phone. If your phone has a SIM card remove that too. Wipe off any excess water with a towel paper or otherwise.

The bad news; It is likely that your battery has been damaged. The good news; Most batteries can be replaced for a reasonable price and are certainly cheaper than a new phone. Do not heat the battery under any circumstances, they can explode!

2. Try putting the phone in the refrigerator. This may sound strange because most of us associate heat with the drying process. Actually the refrigerator cools things by drawing moisture out of things. Do not put the phone in the freezer as this can damage the LCD
(liquid crystal display) .After 30 minutes or so, take it out for about 10 minutes, and repeat until the phone is dry.

3. One of the simplest methods to save a wet cell phone is to place the phone on top of a TV, or vent from a cable box or a device which emits a low heat. This can take up to 3 days but it’s better than having to shell out the bucks for a new phone.

4. If your accident happens outdoors miles away from home the simplest way to dry a phone is to place the phone on the dashboard. The car should be parked in a place that gets plenty of sun. After about 2 hours check to see if the screen is fogged. If its still foggy put it back on the dash, if not try putting in the battery and boot up the phone.

5. Another common method to save a wet cell phone is to place the phone in a container of rice. Remember how Grandma put grains of rice in the salt shaker to keep the salt dry. Rice can absorb an incredible amount of moisture.

6. Other methods along this line involve putting the phone in a sock or pantyhose and placing in a container with silica sand or the new crystal kind of cat litter. On the average these methods take about 3 days to be effective.

7. Try using a compressed air can like the ones sold at computer stores. Hold the can STRAIGHT (holding the can sideways, upside down, or at an angle, will discharge a freezing liquid damaging your phone further) Shoot the air into speaker, mic, keypad, and hard to reach crevices.

8. One of the easiest methods to save a wet cell phone is to use a plain old hair dryer. This method is somewhat controversial. Some sources say that the heat from a hair dryer is too hot. Most hair dryers have a low heat setting and this is the one that should always be used. If the low heat setting on your hair dryer is too hot it is better to use another method.

If your phone was dropped in salt water or water containing an excessive amount of minerals you will have to take some special steps. Salt water will crystallize causing its own set of problems.

9. You may use alcohol or distilled water to flush out contaminants. If you use alcohol it must be at least 95% denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is only 70% and not effective. Be sure to check what the alcohol is denatured with. Do not use anything other than methanol. Any other kind of alcohol can damage your phone. Rinse the phone with alcohol and dry. Alcohol is flammable so this should be done outside or in a well ventilated area.

10. Another way to remove salts and minerals is to use distilled water. While not as effective as alcohol, distilled water will dilute minerals and salts. The idea is to get the salts and minerals off the copper parts in the phone before they corrode.

A soaked cell phone need not be an expensive tragedy. All the above steps have been tested and found successful most of the time. The key to dealing with a soaked phone is patience. None of the listed methods are quick fixes but they can save you a lot of aggravation and money. While the best case scenario is a dry functional phone accidents do happen. Don’t panic, have patience, and everything should turn out just fine.

Anthony Wayne is a consultant for two Philadelphia based companies and has had the unfortunate experience of having his cell phone soaked not once but twice. Mr. Davis experienced his first soaked cell phone at an Eagles game and managed to drop his cell phone in a blue ribbon trout stream in Montana. He did save both wet cell phones and decided to share his information with others unfortunate enough to share this experience