When a Gadget Gets Wet, Don’t Panic!

It’s happened to the best of us – sometimes we get careless with our technology and it ends up in the drink. Whether you’ve dropped your phone in the toilet, or spilled your glass on your tablet, here are some tips that may help you keep your gadgets working.

First of all, turn it off immediately. The liquid itself doesn’t fry your gadget – it’s shorting out you have to worry about, so getting the electric off as quick as possible is key to limiting damage. In fact, if you can get to the battery on your device, the best way to save it is to yank that battery right out as fast as you can. Don’t try to turn it back on – that’s pretty much the worst thing you can do to a wet gadget!

Secondly, you need to get all the components to dry thoroughly, and the best way to do that is to disassemble them. Take everything that is supposed to come off of your device apart from the casing to the SIM card, and leave it all apart to dry.

Now it’s time to help the drying process along – if you have a tiny vacuum for your electronics, you can use that to suck up any excess moisture. Could you use your mouth in lieu of a vacuum? Of course, but I wouldn’t recommend it if your item fell down the toilet – it’s more of a soda spill remedy!

After that, it’s time to leave it to dry. Want to dry everything out faster? You can put your item in a bowl of rice – you’ll recall that a cup of rice soaks up over a cup of water while cooking. You know what’s even faster? Crisped rice cereal – it will soak up water just like milk. You may even hear the popping sound as it works its magic. This is about a two day long process, so fight the temptation to rush it. Now it’s time to see if your patience has paid off – reassemble everything and give it a try. Hopefully you will have saved your device.

Are there any other methods out there? Once a roommate of mine dropped his phone in a bucket of soapy water – my brother recommended soaking it in rubbing alcohol over 90% in volume. Alcohol doesn’t conduct electricity like water does and isn’t as corrosive, so it shouldn’t cause any additional damage, especially since you’ve hopefully yanked the battery out immediately.

In the meantime, it will suck up all the water (imagine the hangover your phone would have!) – don’t leave it in the alcohol for too long or you may strip the coating off of your device. Then give it time to dry (the alcohol could still do a little damage). This might work like it did for my roommate, but it isn’t such a good option for your device itself.

Don’t use anything with heat on your device or you will damage the components -that’s why your device has an auto-shutoff if it gets too warm. You may stop the water damage but cause other damage that will still render the device useless. Also, don’t shake your device to dry it – it won’t get the water out any faster, and it may move it into parts of the device that are tougher to dry.