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Immersion Therapy for Mobile Phone Droppers

A mid-west sewer authority did a study and came up with data alleging that 19 percent of people admit to having dropped their phones in the toilet. I’m not sure why this fact would be of interest to a sewer agency, but it did come to mind when this letter washed up on my desk a week or two ago.

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Dear Mary: A week ago, I dropped my smartphone in the toilet. I tried to rescue it but had to get a new phone. The salesman said every day, someone comes in with the same problem. Now I’m wondering if there is some kind of waterproof case I can get to protect it in case this happens again. And, by the way, how do you fix a wet phone? My method (I immediately cleaned it, took it apart, and then stuck it in a bag of rice to dry out) didn’t work. Bev

Dear Bev: There are steps you can take to try to rescue a waterlogged mobile phone, but there are no guarantees.

Generally, you should get the phone out of the water and turn it off immediately. Lay it on a soft cloth or paper towels. Unless it’s an iPhone, quickly remove the battery cover and battery. Next, remove the SIM card, if your phone has one. Beyond that, do not take the phone apart. Instead, carefully dry it with that soft cloth removing as much water as possible from every little port and opening. With the battery out on non-iPhones, cleaning the inside with rubbing alcohol will displace the water, a step that could remedy the problem.

Do not attempt to dry the phone using a hair dryer. That will only drive moisture inside the crevices and intricate parts of the phone. Put the phone into a substance that has the ability to draw out moisture, like desiccant for flower drying.

Or if you have a packet of silica gel, put the phone and that packet into a zip-type bag and close it. If you have neither of these options, submerge the soggy phone in a bag of uncooked rice and leave it overnight. Some people report that rice worked for them, but results vary. Another option would be to lay the phone on an absorbent towel and set it in a sunny place to dry out completely. Test it after 24 hours or when the phone appears to be completely dry. Good luck!

LifeProof makes a waterproof case for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus (about $70) that gets a number of good reviews. LifeProof also makes cases for other makes and models.

For a specific event like a boating or fishing outing, a JOTO Cell Phone Dry Bag will keep your phone completely dry, even if submerged for an extended period of time.

Now, all that being said, to make sure this doesn’t happen again at home, I suggest coming up with some kind of handy shelf or a specific place in the bathroom that sends a clear reminder to “place phone here.” Then make sure you put your phone there every time, first thing before you do anything else. Force yourself to do this and in a short time, it will become a habit.

As for when you’re at work or out and about, I suggest that you consider creating another habit: Put your phone away before you go into a restroom. Give it a rest while you take a break.

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4 replies
  1. MoreFreedom2 says:

    My wife managed to get water on both her iPad and iPhone via a bottle of water that leaked in her purse. We used Tekdry.com to dry out the phone for a reasonable fee. They have equipment that uses forced air to remove the water from the equipment. I forget if there was a 1 or 2 day lag between the time of soaking and the time of drying it out. The phone worked fine after the process, but the iPad had some screen damage but still works except the speaker.

  2. JN says:

    If you happen to have a food dehydrator, they work well for drying drowned phones. Unlike the hair dryer, the airflow is gentle. Since you are not directing a hard stream of air into the phone, water should not be forced deeper into the components. The temperature of my dehydrator can be set. I keep it around 100° F (close to body temperature), not at the maximum setting. Overnight will usually do the trick.

  3. Mary says:

    My daughter dropped hers in a public toilet. Eek! She had the phone in her back pocket. The take-away here is do not keep phones in your back pocket!

  4. Pat says:

    I accidently washed mine. I didn’t realize it until I pulled out the clothes. I immediately took it apart and took out the battery. I set it out to dry. Two weeks later I put it back together and it works. The camera function doesn’t work but all other aspects seem to work fine. When you try to use the camera you can’t see anything for some reason. The kids use it to play games on now or watch youtube.


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