Getting a phone wet can be a nightmare, but with the right steps and a bit of luck sometimes the situation can be salvaged. The quicker you act, the better your chances of saving your phone. Here’s what you need to do.
1 – Turn the phone off immediately If the phone is still switched on, turn it off straight away. If it has turned itself off, leave it off. Water coming into contact with an electrical current is pretty much guaranteed to damage, or even destroy, your phone.
2 – Give the phone a good shake This is simple but effective. Get rid of as much water as you can by shaking the phone. Keep shaking it until nothing more comes out, but remember to keep it switched off as it may well still be damp inside.
3 – Clean and dry anywhere you reasonably can Now you can take the back off the phone and carefully clean and dry anywhere within easy reach i.e. accessible without tools. Depending on what you did to damage your phone you may only need to dry it rather than clean it. Whatever you do, avoid using anything which could leave fibres behind to damage the phone. You also want to avoid using anything which could generate static electricity, which is essentially as bad for phones (or any other electrical equipment) as water is. The very best choice is a pair of anti-static gloves, which are specifically designed to clean electrical equipment safely. If you can’t get a pair of these easily then cloths made from natural fibres are the best choice. Cotton is good and is easily available in most places. Never use artificial fibres such as nylon since they are notorious for causing static. Go round buttons carefully and go into the inside of ports. Be gentle and careful.
4 – Leave the phone to dry properly Water is insidious stuff. Everything you’ve done so far will have gone a long way to removing surface water but you need to ensure all moisture is thoroughly removed from the phone before you turn it back on. To do this, wrap the phone in a cloth and pop it into a bag of uncooked rice. Put this into a warm place (such as an airing cupboard) for at least 24 hours. If, after 24 hours, you find traces of dampness on the cloth or the rice, change both and leave the phone to keep drying. Only take it out once the whole of the contents of the bag is completely dry.
5 – Bonus tip A good-quality case will improve the chances of your phone surviving an unexpected bath, but even then there are no guarantees so it’s best to keep all your precious data backed up. If your phone is really important to you (or particularly expensive), then think about getting it insured. Some household policies cover phones, but they may require them to be registered first. Alternatively there are specialist insurers for mobile phones and other portable electronics.