You’d be surprised how often it happens. You’re checking your email or updating your Facebook page on your iPhone and nature calls. You walk in, lift the lid and kerplunk! The iPhone is sitting at the bottom of the toilet laughing at you. It’s almost as if there’s a micro black hole that can tug on anything electronic and pull it into the bowl. Don’t panic, you can save it. Just grab it and do the following:

1. Turn it off … IMMEDIATELY

First, turn it off. The longer your iPhone is on, the more likely the moisture that has seeped into it will short circuit and cause permanent damage. Turning it off stops any electrical activity humming around the circuitry.

2. Remove the battery, if you can (applies to non iPhones)

If you have a phone that has a removable battery, you’ll want to take it out now and completely dry it off. Use a blow dryer set on low just to be sure. This will ensure that your battery doesn’t corrode later over time.  If you don’t, well, there’s really not much you can do but move on to step 2.

3. Bury your phone in uncooked rice

Rice?  Yes, I know it sounds strange, but the next thing you’ll want to do is fill a quart or gallon size Ziploc with a cup or two of uncooked rice and bury your phone in it. If it takes more, then fine. But completely cover it and seal it.Over a few days, the  rice will act as a desiccant to draw out any excess moisture from within the phone.  If you are in the habit of keeping those silica packets that come in electronics and shoe boxes, those will work, as well.  But you’ll need a lot of them.

4.  Time will tell

Now is not the time to be impatient. That phone is going to have to sit in the rice for a few days to get completely moisture free. So if you have an old backup phone, and your smartphone is a GSM phone, then you may want to remove the SIM and use that backup for a few days. Yeah, you won’t have your apps or music player, but you can live without it for a few days, right? Your patience will be rewarded.

5. Blow dry the finishing touches

While the rice will draw out most of the moisture, there may be a little bit left and it may show on your LCD screen in the form of a black area when you turn it on. Don’t panic. Just turn the phone back off and either place it back in the rice or, use a blow dryer on low for about 15-20 minutes to drive off the rest of the moisture. I had this happen to my iPhone 3GS and there was a small black corner on the LCD. So I just blow dried it in the rice until the corner came back. It didn’t come back completely, but over time, it gradually did. But don’t think that if you can do it on low for 20 minutes, you can do it on high for 10, or save yourself two days in a rice bath. The higher the heat, the more likely you could damage the interior or cause any glue used to secure parts to melt and loosen them. Again, your patience will be rewarded.

6. Living with it

While your phone will come back, it may not be perfect right away.  And there may be some minor annoyances over the long term. First, understand that depending on your smartphone, your mileage (results) may vary.  What will work well for an iPhone may not be the complete solution for your Android or Blackberry phone.  But it’s a good place to start.  Also, understand that there is a small dot in every smartphone that changes color to reflect water exposure. So if you have any problems with the phone – that is the first thing the technician will check. If they see that there has been water damage, the warranty will be voided and you’ll be out of luck. Some corrosion may also occur over time in areas like the on/off button.

Conclusion

But in the end, it should be manageable.  I dropped my iPhone 3GS in water about 2 years ago. Dried it out and it’s been working ever since. So don’t panic! Just remember RICE and TIME.  Patience is your friend.










James DeRuvo