How to save a phone dropped in water

Did you just drop your phone in water? Forget to take it out of your pocket and accidently ran it through the washing machine? Dropped it in the toilet? Dropped your phone in your drink or soup? Were you pushed into the swimming pool with your phone in your pocket? Or just came in from the pouring rain to find your phone was soaked?

Better Act Fast! Time can be a factor in saving your mobile phone from further damage. Here is a list of things to do if your phone was exposed to water and some methods that can help you to save it.

Take your phone out of the water!

Remove your phone from the water or liquid as quickly as possible if you have not done so already.

Don’t Press Anything

Resist the urge to see if it’s still working:

  • Don’t turn it on
  • Don’t navigate
  • Don’t press any keys
  • Don’t use the phone

Remove the battery

If your phone will allow you to then remove the battery, and cut all the power to the device to decrease the chance of a short.

Remove it from its case

If you keep your phone in a protective case then dry the outside of the case and then remove it. Try not to rock the phone to much to help prevent water from running into any of the phones ports, plugs, holes, cracks or spread further throughout the inside of the phone.

Take off the removable parts

If your phone has a SIM card or Memory card then take it out and if necessary set it aside to try as well. SIMs are replaceable if needs be and most memory cards (at least the best memory cards) are waterproof.

But take them out of the phone and leave the battery cover or back plate off to help with the drying process and allow those parts of your phone to vent.

Dry the phone with a dry towel or cloth

Dry the outside and any visible areas with a dry cloth or towel. Again take caution not to let any water into the openings of your device if possible.

DO NOT Blow it

I do NOT recommend air in a can, a blow dryer, or even blowing air through your lips or a straw.

You might cause heat damage with a blow dryer or adversely blow water into the phone or blow the water around that’s already into the phone and cause more damage.

Do not take the phone apart

Don’t unscrew the phone or try and open it to get access to the inside of the phone. Even though the LDI (Liquid Damage Indicator) on your phone was most likely activated voiding your warranty, taking the phone apart could void your warranty 100%. So I don’t recommend it except as a last resort.

Dry the phone

You dried the outside and visible moisture as best as you could with a dry towel but now we have to dry the moisture that you couldn’t get to.

  • Use a Vacuum – although blowing the water on the phone is a bad idea, sucking the water off and or out of the phone might not be. Just make sure that you use caution trying not to scratch the phone or create a static charge from the vacuum.
  • Use Rice - One of the most common tools for drying phones is uncooked rice. Get an airtight container or zip lock bag and bury your phone in rice. The rice will absorb the moisture and help dry out our phone.
  • Silica Gel Packs – If you have any of these cool packets lying around (they are the gel packs you can find in shoeboxes) then these are great at absorbing moisture because that’s what they are meant to do. Place some packets into an airtight container with your phone and wait for them to help dry it out completely. Note: old packets that have already been used will have already reached their absorption capacity and won’t work.
  • Phone Drying Pouch – If you planned ahead and bought a phone drying pouch for just this situation then locate it and use it to assist you in drying the phone. If you don’t have one of these nifty packets then you can plan ahead for any future incidents and buy one for next time. These packets are often sold by stores as well (including Wal-Mart) if you want to check online to see if they have any in stock or place your phone in rice in the meantime and then run down to the store and see if you can locate one.

Wait for 24-48 hours

Wait for the moisture in the phone to dry out completely. If you have another phone that’s the same carrier as your current one you might be able to use that device while your primary phone dries. If your phone uses a SIM card then make sure your SIM is dry and insert it into another phone of the same wireless provider. Or simply take a break from your texting, tweeting, and networking and read a book or browse this awesome website instead /wink.

Check the phone

After a day or two of allowing the phone to dry check for moisture that might still be in or on the device. If moisture remains evident then do not re-insert the battery or accessories just yet. Continue the drying process with the suggestions above again until the phone is completely liquid and moisture free.

Attempt to power it on

Try and turn your phone on listening for any irregular noises and listening to make sure that the speakers still work on the unit. Check the screen and make sure that it appears to be working properly visually and if your phone has a touch screen make sure to check the touch screen to make sure that it too is responding correctly.

If your phone does not power on

If there is no response when attempting to power the phone on then plug your phone into a charger and see if you can get a response from the charger. This will help you to see if perhaps the battery was damaged or if it’s the phone itself.

If you a friend or a family member has a battery of the same type you can try that as well.

Addition things NOT to do to a wet phone

  • Freeze your phone – I don’t recommend that you put your phone in the freezer for many reasons. The chance of it causing additional damage is high because of many different factors.
  • Use an oven or microwave – don’t use an oven or microwave to help dry out your phone.
  • Apply heat – Applying heat from an external source will likely cause more damage to your phone. This could also cause your lithium ion battery to explode or start to leak, so don’t try it on your battery either.
  • Tap or bang your device – If your device isn’t working after drying it then read the article mentioned at the bottom of this article. DO NOT bang your phone against a hard surface to try and get it to work again. Along with liquid damage you might add some physical damage as well and it will be even more difficult to fix.

More Tips

If your phone was submerged at the beach and the salt water has gotten into it OR at a pool and has been exposed to water with chlorine in it then your phone might have a higher chance of being damaged or malfunctioning and you might also consider worrying about, minerals, possible corrosion or even calcium buildup forming and causing additional damage.

Some people recommend submerging your phone in clean water to remove the salt/minerals/chlorine water but I don’t recommend that because water, as you know, is a conductor and clean water can lead to a short, corrosion or calcium buildup just as well. Read the article mentioned below for some tips on fighting these forms of water damage.

Still not working properly

If your concerned with corrosion, calcium buildup or other damage, or your phone is simply not working properly even after drying completely, then I strongly suggest that you read How to fix a water damaged phone for some tips on how to get your phone working properly again.

Fixed and working correctly

If your phone is up and running again then make sure everything is working properly, keep an eye on the functionality of your device and enjoy the continued use of your phone. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any other tips or tricks then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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166 Comments

Phone dropped in water

I dropped my phone in my dog's water bowl accidentally last night. I managed to dry it out before it was to badly waterlogged. It worked initially but this morning i was getting a no sim/no service message. I opened the phone to check and there was a bit of water still inside. I dried it out and after a bit it seemed to work. Now I just keep getting the above mentioned message again. What should I do?

Trying to fix your cell phone after its been submerged in water

Hi Robert,

Sorry to hear about your phone. Water damage can certainly be a phone killer for sure. From your description there might still be moisture in the SIM card area of your device. Speaking of “device” what phone did you happen to accidently drop in water, if you don’t mind me asking?

I would take the SIM card out give it a good cleaning and make sure that the port on the phone that your SIM plugs into is completely dry and that you don’t see any signs of buildup of any kind (such as calcium or mineral deposits). You might even want to remove the SIM card from your cell phone and let it dry some more. I am sure that you have already heard about the rice drying trick, if you still have a bag of rice available (a Ziploc bag works well) then you might want to let it sit in rice over night just for good measure.

Just try and make sure that that SIM card tray or port is nice and clean and that the SIM and the phone have a good connection. If there is something that is now in that port and the SIM and phone do not have a good connection then your cell phone won’t read the SIM card and you won’t have any service. There is also the chance of water damage which often requires you to look into your replacement or repair options as an actual piece of hardware could have been damaged.

Sometimes after being exposed to moisture and then dried out a phone might work fine for a while but problems such as this or especially power related issues can often occur.

Your SIM card might have been damaged as well. Out of curiosity have you tried using a different SIM card that you know is working properly? Hopefully your SIM just needs replacing as that would be the easiest and most affordable solution. If you need a replacement SIM then any retail location that sells phones especially a corporate store should be able to provide you with another SIM usually at no cost.

Make sure to also check out the guide mentioned at the end of the article as well. It has a few tips that you might find helpful in trying to fix your cell phone.

Good luck Robert, thanks for visiting the site and don’t hesitate to leave another comment if you have any more questions or if you would like to let us know if the suggestions on How to fix a water damaged cell phone seem to help resolve your issue.

Hi, I went fishing with my...

Hi, I went fishing with my dad and my Sony Xperia phone dropped down a hole in my trousers and the trousers were soaked. I took the phone out of the trousers and the phone was pretty much dry but the phone wouldnt turn on. I have tried to dry it out and charge it but still no joy and its not coming on.

Any ideas?

Take me to the river, drop me in the water. I wanna know…

Hello Jordan,

Fishing is one of the best pastimes that you can do with your dad. Some of my best memories of childhood involve going down to the river with my dad. If your cell phone isn’t waterproof and you don’t have a waterproof protective case the next time you go out fishing, or another activity where you might get a little wet you can use a Ziploc bag (and maybe even double bag it to be extra safe) to keep your phone nice and dry. That way you don’t have to part with your phone, you’ll have your phone available for emergencies and you won’t have to worry about water damage.

Before troubleshooting your Sony Xperia for water damage make sure that you try this simulated battery pull trick first. Sometimes Sony Xperia smartphones like to pretend that they are broken even though they’re not. So try the advice in that guide first and if you can’t get it to turn back on then come back and proceed to the advice below.

Did your phone hit the ground or did it just sit in a soaked trouser picket? If water got into the phone then it could have caused some damage. River water can be a little dirty too there might be some left over minerals in the phone causing issues.

It’s hard to say for sure but you might get lucky and may be able to fix it with a quick 99% isopropyl alcohol bath. If the river water caused a short in the phone then you might not be able to fix it but if there is some leftover water or some dirt or other mineral deposits left in the phone and that is what is causing problems then the alcohol might help as it can get into all the nooks and crannies in your cell phone and help to clean it out. I talk a little more about this in how to try and fix a phone dropped in water if you care to read more about it and since your phone is completely unresponsive I don’t think that you have too much to lose by giving it a try. So check out that other guide and let me know if it helps or if you have any more questions.

Hi James, the phone was supposed to be...

Hi James, the phone was supposed to be waterproof, it was a phone i got from my dad and he said it was waterproof. When i looked at the phone it had water in the camera and that was it, when i told my dad it wouldnt work when we were fishing he said it could have caused a short in the phone and to leave it for so long. I tried it a bit later on in the day and it still wouldnt come on. I will check out your other guide James.

Many Thanks.

Jordan.

Your welcome Jordan

Thanks for coming back to the site and posting a follow up. Hopefully those guides can help to fix your cell phone. I wish you luck and if you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

My MOTO G fell under water

H, My moto G fell under water few days back for 2 to 5 Seconds I immediately picked it up and swiched it on to see if it was working. It was working perfectly but after some time the battery of my phone was very low so it switched off and now I can't turn it on. Even if I put it on charging then also it is not switching on just the white LED is blinking thats all. Please Help.

my MOTO G will not come on at all

Hey, my Moto G has been dropped in the water a while back , like 2 months ago . And ever since then it wouldn't come on at all ..... i charge it alot and the only thing that pops up is the LED light , and 0% .what do i do.

Why do MOTO G’s suddenly think they are water proof?

Hi Anugrah and Jay,

So strange that both of your MOTO Gs decided to drown themselves, that poor model must need to spend more time enjoying sweets and visiting the Play Store. That’s one of the things I like to do and it seems to keep me happy :)

After dropping a phone in water the most common issues that seems to occur are power related. Whether the phone stops charging properly or it stops turning on, or powers off suddenly for no reason, power related issues often go hand in hand with water damage. These unfortunate and aggravating issues can happen right away as in your situation Jay or can creep up quite suddenly as in your case Anugrah.

Since your phones charging lights come on then that’s a somewhat decent sign as it means your cell phone isn’t completely dead or completely unresponsive and there may be hope. Unfortunately the Motorola Moto G doesn’t allow you to simply pull out the battery and check for corrosion, buildup, or visible damage and since its non-removable you can’t just pull the battery out and try one that you know to be working properly. It could be that the battery was just damaged and isn’t charging or holding a charge correctly.

Since neither of the phones are going to be covered under the manufactures warranty (water damage voids the warranty) then you don’t have too much to lose at this point and I would try a quick 99% alcohol bath and if that doesn’t work you can try to find a new battery and then replace the battery yourself. Motorola can swap the battery for you BUT as of today they charge “$75 plus applicable taxes” in order to do it and we don’t even know for sure if it is the battery so it would be a pretty big gamble, and it might be more affordable to just get another unit or file an insurance claim (if applicable).

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Hopefully the alcohol bath helps to revive your Moto Gs. If you want to read more about that revival method then make sure to visit the “How to fix a water damaged phone” which is linked to at the bottom of the article above.

Solution

Hey, Thank u very much for your help. I appreciate it. Just one more doubt.
My LED is blinking so what you think is there some hope and for the Alcohol bath if I take the phone to motorola's service center would they do it?
and if there's a short circuit in my phone can it be repaireda and for how much?
Thank you in advance.

Trying to fix a water damaged cell phone yourself

Hi again Anugrah,

Since your phone isn’t completely dead as you can see that the “LED is blinking” it means that your phone is responding to being plugged into a charger. It’s not just a paper weight; there are some signs of life still in it so your situation isn’t completely hopeless. This doesn’t guarantee that its fixable it just means you might have a better chance at fixing it.

If you took your cell phone to a Motorola service center then chances are they would say “this phone has water damage, that’s why it’s not working”, which we already know. Changes are very high that they would NOT soak the phone in 99% alcohol as it’s more of a poor man’s solution and a last resort when trying to save a cell phone dropped in water. Motorola isn’t responsible for products that have been damaged. They might offer to take the phone apart for you to see if they can repair it but I am unsure of the price they would charge you to do it.

If you do have a service center close to you or within driving distance then I would call them first and get an estimate to see whether or not it would be worth the trip. If your phones motherboard shorted out then the phones toast and it wouldn’t be cost effective in trying to repair it. You would be better off just buying a new phone.

Moto g

Mine fell in the toilet and it was working fine but there wasn't enough rice to put it in but I dried it off. The led light keeps blinking and the screen comes on but it won't work if I touch the screen like to unlock it or check a message it won't type or anything.

Trying to fix a Water Damaged Motorola Moto G

Hi Haley,

Sorry to hear about your Moto G, since your phone is not responding to your touch and means that the touch screen was affected by the water. I can’t say if the phones screen is damaged or not but there may be a chance of fixing it with an alcohol bath (see other comments and visit the guide mentioned at the bottom of this article) and of course making sure that your Moto G is completely dry before trying to use it again.

If the alcohol bath doesn’t seem to help and your sure that your cell phone is completely dry then the water may have damaged touch screen on your phone and you will likely need to replace the touch screen in order for your phone to function properly again.

I dropped my android in the pool

Help, early today I dropped my LG in the pool I didn't get to get the warranty on it yet. As soon as I dropped it I picked it up took the protective cover off and attempted to dry it , at the time I didn't have rice. After awhile I plugged it up the screen came on but blinked in and out and finally went black. I got my camping air pump to blow it dry that didn't work I plugged it in and the charging light is on but my screen is still black. Finally after an hour I got some rice and put it in the rice but do you think it is to late to save seeing as I blew it with the pump and my screen went black before I put it in the rice? Please help....

Time will tell

Hello Alexas,

It’s almost impossible to say for sure whether or not your screen, and the rest of your cell phone, will work properly again once the phone is completely dry. Try to give it enough time to dry though, you don’t want any residual pool water to cause an electrical short (which may have already happened *knock on wood*).

If a piece of hardware shorts out or gets damaged, such as the LCD screen, then usually that piece will have to be replaced. If too much damage is done or the piece in question cannot simply be replaced then sometimes the repair costs would be too high and it would be cheaper just to buy another cell phone.

We won’t know for sure until your cell phone is completely dry and you try to power it on again. Moisture can cause all kinds of problems when it comes to cell phones or any electronic for that matter so in this case time will tell.

Since your cell phone was dropped in water it is no longer covered under warranty, if you have issues trying to boot it up after its dry then make sure to refer back to the article above and review the “Still not working properly section” it MIGHT help get all that left over chlorine and mineral deposits out of your cell phone which could help as well.

Person was dunked in salt water pool with S4 on her

Hi. My daughter was dunked in pool a couple of days ago and the person didn't realize she had her phone on her. She immediately took the phone apart (SIM, battery, etc.) and placed it in a bowl of rice. It's now been 4 days. Phone turns on and seems to be receiving calls and messages, however, screen in blank (won't turn on). I ordered a micro phillips screwdriver on line and hoping I can clean it's components (mother board, connectors, etc.s) Any suggestions?

Iphone 5 S in pocket when in swimming pool

I was at a friends pool and went in with my phone in my pocket... i realized it was in my pocket within 15 seconds of being in and got out as fast as i could. I tried powering it on (not knowing i shouldn't have) and it didn't come on. I have it in rice right now.

Dropped my phone in water...

I dropped my phone in water. Read the instructions and inserted it into a rice bowl. After 2 days, I tried to start it and it did start. The only issue is the touch screen does not work. the welcome screen pops up but, I can't unlock my phone since the touch isn't working... It's frustrating....Please HELP!!!

The touch screen might have been damaged

Hi Indie,

It sounds like the water may have caused damage to your cell phones touch screen or has affected something else in the phone that allows the touch screen to function correctly. Hopefully the advice mentioned HERE can help get it working again. If not then you might need to look into replacing your cell phones touch screen to see if a replacement can get your phone operational again. Without a working touch screen your smartphone isn’t going to be of much use.

Water damage can be a tricky thing to try and solve. Some parts of the phone it can effect causing them to stop working while other parts of the phone may continue to work just fine. Sometimes after completely drying the phone everything will work fine for a day or two or a week or a month and then all of a sudden it can start to have issues.

Like you said these things can be very “frustrating” and sometimes all we can do is roll with the punches.

Wifi not working after phone dropped in water

My phone dropped in water few days back .After drying it for 1 day,i switched it on.Everything is working fine except wifi.Wifi is on but it is not connecting to any network.I tried turning it off and again turning it on.But it is not working.Please give any suggestions.

Water under my screen

I dropped my phone in the toilet about a week ago and when the screen goes black to load a game or something I see water marks on the screen I was wondering if that is a horrible thing and if It's important to get it fixed right away or whenever I have a chance. Thank you...

Um… It depends…

Hi Kathryn,

That incident is actually more common than you might think. It’s good to know that your phone is still functioning properly. Water damage can cause all kinds of problems.

When you say “water marks” are you referring to a left over mineral deposit that remained once the phone was completely dry? If so, I don’t think that it will be a horrible thing to just leave alone, so long as you don’t mind seeing it when the screen is black and I don’t think it’s likely to cause any considerable damage later.

If it becomes an annoyance or you notice that your touch screen is not responding as it should or if the phone starts having any issues with the display screen then you could take the phone apart and give it a good cleaning and then put the phone back together. If you doubt your own tech skills then a local repair shop could probably do this relatively quickly as they will have all the tools and experience and since no parts are actually being replaced it would likely be pretty affordable as well.

My phone isnt sliding please help

So I dropped my phone in a cup of water a couple days ago and right I way I put it in rice I left it there for 2 days to dry, then I charged it. It worked. But then maybe 20 mins later the screen wouldn't slide. I tried holding down the lock button and home button, but its not working. Any idea what would help without having to pay for it to be fixed ?

It depends…

Hi Phina,

Sounds like the moisture might have done a number on your touch screen. What you might be able to do will depend on how bad it affected it. If the touch screen was damaged then it’s likely that you will need to pay something in order to get it repaired/replaced. Since it worked originally if only for a little while though there may be hope and you might be able to fix it.

Make sure to review the advice already posted on these pages, especially in the comment section. Many other people had similar issues and I think that you might find my advice to them helpful in resolving your issue yourself. At the very least it should give you a fighting chance.

I sent my Nokia Lumia 520 through the wash

Hi there,
Just yesterday I was at my mate's house doing some Mountain Biking and I thought it would be a good idea to bring my phone with me to take some photos of the view at the top.
After various tumbles and falls off my bike we made it to the top so naturally I took some pics, and I got pretty muddy and my jeans were drenched (and my Nokia was in one of the drenched pockets)...
Anyway I completely forgot my phone was in the pocket annnnd it went through the washing machine :( only to find the screen condensated, and the phone refusing to power on.
Not only that but before I looked at this website I did a good number of the things you said I shouldn't do like:
- Don't Press Anything
- Don't blow on it
- Don't take the phone apart
and applying heat from an external source (i.e my fireplace)... *sigh*

Since I stuffed up so much, I will be over the moon if there is a solution. :)
Thanks,
William

There are better ways of cleaning a phone…

Hi William,

Phones can be awesome tools and I think it was a good idea to take it mountain biking with you. If something unexpected happened, heaven forbid, then you could call someone for help, you can use it as a flashlight should the trip take longer than expected, and of course you have a camera and video recorder which can capture those rare moments to help you remember them later.

With all the soap and possible minerals that probably got in your Nokia Lumia during the wash you should definitely try the alcohol trick. Submerge it and give it a gentle but good shaking to try and get that 100% alcohol into all those nooks and crannies and help wash out any soap or other gunk that could be causing problems.

I dropped my phone in a bowl

I dropped my phone in a bowl of soup. I tried and on my phone, and it worked. But when I charge, there wouldn't be any symbol.

The charging port may be dirty or damaged

Hi Hazel,

Besides from being tasty, soup can do some interesting things sometimes. While just the other day I was eating some SpaghettiOs and when I was just about to take a bite I looked down at my spoon and read “Ooooooo” it was very spooky.

Ha, ha just kidding but seriously, sorry to hear about your phone and the soup. From your description it sounds like the soup most likely got into the charging port on your phone and it may still have some soup left in there that’s causing problems and not allowing the phone to recognize the charger. I would definitely try to give it a good cleaning with alcohol (99%) and then cross your fingers and hope that a clean charging port fixes it. If you cannot charge your phone then it’s going to run out of juice and you won’t be able to charge it much less use it again. 

If cleaning just the charging port doesn’t work then you might give it a quick bath just to be extra thorough as there may be some left over gunk inside the phone causing mischief. Hopefully a quick bath (again in 99% alcohol) can help get into all those nooks and crannies and help to revive your phone allowing it to charge again. You might even be able to get away with just dipping the bottom of the phone (the end with the charging port) into alcohol and giving it a gentle shaking… after all if the rest of the phone is working you may not need to submerge the whole phone right away.

If the soup caused damage to the charging port or charging components though you might have to replace the charging port itself in order to get your phone to charge properly again. Or you might have to start looking into all of the repair or replacement options available. Good luck Hazel.

Iphone went for a swim

Hi there,

Looking for a bit of advice - I dropped my iphone 5 in the toilet early hours Sunday morning, it was submerged for a matter of seconds and then wouldn't work. After a few hours it worked fine apart from the home button and a few hours after that the phone was back to normal and has been fine ever since. I have bought reviveaphone but now I am unsure whether to use it or not as the phone is now fine, what would you do?
Thanks for your time,

Jamie

I would leave it alone

Hi Jamie,

Great question! Glad to hear that your phone is up and working at 100% again. You got lucky.

If I was in your position I would just let everything run its course. Since your phone is working properly you don’t want to jeopardize that. Keep the Reviveaphone kit where you can get to it again if your phone (or someone else’s phone) ever needs it.

Then if your cell phone accidently gets dropped into a toilet, gets left in a pocket and run through the washing machine, or if the phone gets dropped in a bowl of soup or the dogs water bowl, or goes swimming in the pool, or tries to go fishing, or whatever the reason; you will have that kit handy and you will be ready to try and revive your phone if you need to.  

It’s never a bad idea to be prepared for the unexpected, especially when it comes to our cell phones. Speaking of preparing for the unexpected, remember to try and get into a good habit of backing up your phone on a regular basis as well. It can certainly be a time saver and rescue you from a ton of grief and frustration. You wouldn’t want to lose any important information to any unforeseen circumstances.

Thanks for the terrific question Jamie, good luck and enjoy your working cell phone.

You could try a couple of things…

Hi Buf,

It’s going to depend on what is causing the issue… It may be a damaged SD card port, a dirty port (make sure to TRY and give it a good cleaning with alcohol, although this can be hard as it’s a really tight space to try and clean), it could be a damaged memory card (many memory cards are waterproof but not all of them), or something may have been left behind that’s causing a communication issue between the card and the phone (so give the card a wipe down with alcohol too).

Have you had a chance to try a different memory card yet? If another card doesn’t seem to want to work either then it’s likely the phone (obviously) and vise versa. This should hopefully help you narrow down the cause a little bit and hopefully allow you to resolve your problem.

I dropped my New Nokia Lumia 520 in toilet's pothole :(

Here is the most horrible thing I’ve ever done in my whole life! I was in a great hurry and while I was rushing to the toilet my phone popped out of my pocket and jumped in the pothole… I immediately removed all of its removable parts and let them dry naturally! But as I switched it on there was an exclamation mark on the screen! I panicked and immediately took it to Nokia Care!! I found out that the water reached the board -_- I'm just worried as I bought the phone from Snapdeal just a month ago and can't afford to let it die :( They said the minimum charge is 900 INR Approx. 14.90 $ I need urgent help!! Please!!

There is still hope, and here is why…

Hi Namita,

Believe it or not that unfortunate incident actually happens quite often, more often than you might think. Try not to be too hard on yourself.

I think for your specific situation though there is hope and here is why. Your phone is still turning on and that is something to be happy about, whether or not the water reached the motherboard might be irrelevant as it may not have caused any serious damage. In fact I think that you might even be able to get your phone to turn on properly again.

Here is what I think is happening… I think that the water has affected one of your hard keys and is causing it to malfunction; most likely the Volume Down button. Many smartphones (including the Nokia Lumia) allow you to send or carry out commands by pressing and holding specific keys while the phone is powered off.

So let’s say for example that your phone had a software bug or virus and it was not letting you power your cell phone on correctly. It would start to turn on and then it would freeze and wouldn’t do anything. Well you couldn’t perform a hard reset by accessing the Settings then going to About and then selecting Reset your phone because the phone is freezing and won’t let you turn it on much less access the settings.

You could still perform a hard reset using the Alternative Reset method. By disconnecting your Nokia from the charger, pressing and holding the Power and Volume Down keys simultaneously then releasing those keys after the phone vibrates and then immediately pressing and holding the Volume down button until the phone displayed an exclamation mark (!) on the screen. You could then release the volume down key and then press the volume up, volume down, power, and volume down buttons in that order to force the phone to reset. Some gears would appear on the screen for a few minutes the phone would restart and be back to factory default. This hard reset method could help resolve many software issues and would remove any third party apps or programs added to the phone, including any viruses that might have found their way onto your phone.

But I digress.

So what I think is happening is that your Volume Down key is malfunctioning, your phone thinks that it is being pressed down (even though it’s not) and the phone thinks that you are trying to access this feature and is doing exactly what it is programmed to do and taking you to that exclamation mark (!) screen. The only problem is your key is stuck down so your Nokia is stuck on that screen. If you can get your key to respond correctly then you should be able to get your Nokia Lumia 520 to turn on properly.

I recommend that you try to repeatedly press that Volume Down key for a few minutes in order to attempt to dislodge anything that might have gotten underneath it. After a few minutes of pressing and then releasing that volume key over and over you could then try to restart the phone and see if it will boot up correctly. If not then you might be able to remove that key (yes, it’s not made to be taken off but… you got to do what you got to do) and then give it a thorough cleaning. Make sure to clean the Volume button itself and that area of the phone where the volume key sits into place. You can even attempt to power the phone on without the key too, I bet it would boot up properly.

In any case, as far as water damage is concerned, I think that your situation could have definitely been a lot worse and I hope that this long reply helps you to fix it. Good luck Namita, don’t hesitate to let me know if you end fixing it and what you did to do so. I hope to hear back from you soon.

You are like an Angel to my Lumia 520

Hi James,
Thank you for your reply! It was of much help.. Though I had to take my cell to Nokia Care to follow your instructions, it finally revived my dead phone :) You are like an Angel to my Lumia 520.. Thanks Again! :D

Dropped SG SII down loo

Hi James,

Dropped my Samsung Galaxy SII down loo last night after having gone but before flushing (!), pulled it out (loo paper helped stop it getting submerged (!!), dried it off, took case off, washed it, sprayed some cleaner onto bit of loo roll moistened with water to wipe phone clean best I could without using too much water (I probably shouldn't have done this, but it was all a bit yucky!). Took back off and battery out, left to dry. Tried turning it on some hours later. Came on, sounded funny, and then went off. So I removed SD card and SIM card and left the whole lot to dry overnight.

I was able to turn it on late this morning and the sound was a little better. The screen came on with all icons and notification info including new text messages. It flickered somewhat and the screen was very bright. The black background of the notification area was very dark grey rather than the usual black. The date and time on the weather widget was 1 Jan, can’t recall the year. I turned it off again and tried a spare battery, which I think was flat so I went back to other battery.

Phone came on as before. Charged it up for while. Date and time on weather widget eventually normalized, but was still impossible to open any icon or notification panel. So the phone looks like its ok but can’t use any of it. I can’t answer anything the phone is asking me, such as Samsung account update, so it’s stuck on screen. Seems ‘touch’ function disturbed. I have backed everything up to KIES in the meantime. Seems to have worked. Charge is very low now, (it's charging via my laptop, which is slower than using the phone charger).

So, do I turn the phone off again and put it in a rice bag or charge it up properly using the phone charger? If I use a rice bag, it's unclear to me whether I am meant to take the cards and battery out and the back off and place these things in the bag, or should I place the phone in the rice with everything intact? Or do I follow your link to trying to fix a water-damaged phone? Or is it time to buy a new phone?

Many thanks for your advice and your site is great!

Trying to fix a Samsung that was dropped in the toilet

Hi Jackie,

I have gotten a rush of inquiries about bathroom related cell phone accidents lately. I think that our cell phones might be rebelling or something. I decided to keep my Samsung Galaxy S4 away from porcelain for the time being, just to play it safe.

Bathroom incidents can be a tad different than normal circumstances because the phone can be yucky afterwards and when you put something against your face multiple times a day you want that object to be clean.

I personally think that it is a good thing that you wiped the phone down, maybe not the best idea to use water on the toilet paper but at least you were able to resist the urge to rinse your cell phone in the sink there by exposing the phone to even more moisture, so good job. I am not sure what “cleaner” you used to wipe the phone after words but it will probably be ok… depending on the strength and chemicals used in the cleaner. Alcohol is a good solvent to use on electronics and to have a bottle of 99% Isopropyl alcohol available around the house for these types of situations is not a bad idea either.

Now for your particular situation… A few hours was probably not long enough to let the phone dry out completely. That funny sound you heard might have been water in the external speaker which means that the phone hadn’t had enough time to dry yet… and if it powered itself off… that might have pointed to the possibility of an electrical short, which wouldn’t be good.

After drying overnight much of the moisture was probably gone. Display screen is working (which is good, except for the “flicker” you mentioned and he discoloration as you might have more serious issues with your screen later) but it sounds like the touch screen is malfunctioning and a smartphone without a working touch screen is going to be really difficult if not impossible to use.

So yes, I would try the link mentioned at the bottom of the article on trying to fix a water damaged phone. It might help to get your touch screen, and hopefully everything else working properly again.

The point of the rice is that rice is great at absorbing moisture and so it helps the phone dry quicker and more completely. The point of the Ziploc bag is to keep it in a sealed container so the rice draws the moisture out of the phone as opposed to the air. I would take all of the removable pieces off of the phone like the battery, the back cover, the memory card, the SIM card (if your phone has one) etc. that way they can all dry separately. Just try not to let any rice get into any ports though. Don’t let any pieces of rice get in the charging port, SD card slot, SIM card try, etc. It could be time consuming trying to get the rice out of those places after the phone has dried.

I hope that helps Jackie, if you have any more questions or if there is anything else that I can try and help you with just let me know.

Thank you

Thank you, James

Samsung S4

I am another one that dropped my phone in the toilet - took it out right away - dried it with a towel and it has been sitting in a bowl of oats and rice since the morning - I did a quick test and it switches on, let's me put in my pin and let's me unlock the screen but then it switches off ... I have not yet been able to test with another battery - could this be battery related?

More Porcelain Misfortune

Hi Tammy,

It’s hard to say whether it’s the battery or the phone itself. Power issues like the one you described can be hard to pinpoint especially if you are unable to try a different working battery or if you are unable to use the questionable battery in a different cell phone.

You might even get lucky if you let it dry out some more, maybe it wasn’t completely dried out yet and once all of the moisture is gone perhaps your Samsung Galaxy S4 will start up properly (*fingers crossed*).

When it comes to water damage sometimes all you can do is wait and see. In your case though the Samsung Galaxy S4 is still a newish device and you might even be able to go into a local store and barrow a battery from one of the stores display phones and see if it works or not… if you insert a new working battery into the phone and it works then you’ll know its an issue with your battery and you can order a replacement online. Sites like Amazon or eBay are good places to start looking for the most affordable replacement batteries.

I hope that helps Tammy, sorry to hear about your S4 and I wish you the best of luck.

Nokia Lumina 530

I inadvertantly dropped by Nokia Lumina 530 down the toilet yesterday (In my defence I was rushing through the airport and forgot my phone was in my pocket!). I did some of the things you are not supposed to do - like at the time when I retrieved it I held it in the hand drier :-( I took it apart when we got home, and allowed it to dry overnight in the airing cupboard. This morning it comes on but then I can't answer any calls as the screen won't scroll. Help!! This is my spare phone as I broke the screen on my Lumina 720 and its away being repaired. I know I am such a klutz.

Nokia Lumia 530 flew into the toilet

An airport is a place where people often rush, it happens; and even when people are not in a rush this can happen so try not to be too hard on yourself.

It sounds like the touch screen on your Nokia Lumia 530 is malfunctioning which may or may not be repairable depending on the circumstances. It could be that the phone still has moisture inside of it and requires more time to dry, or it could mean that the water got into the phone and caused damage to the touch screen, or possibly even heat damage caused by the hot air of the hand dryer…

I would try to dry it a little longer in a bag of rice or with a silica gel pack (if possible) to make sure that your Lumia is completely dry. You don’t want to use it if there is a chance of moisture anyways as it could result in an electrical short which could cause even more problems to occur. If all else fails and your cell phone is still acting up then you can try the advice HERE. If that doesn’t work then you might have to consider finding another temporary replacement until your Nokia Lumina 720 is done being repaired.

Thanks James. I left my Nokia...

Thanks James. I left my Nokia in the airing cupboard, in pieces all of last week - and guess what, when I turned it on on Friday it worked!! I was amazed but really pleased that I hadn't completely wrecked it. My Lumina 720 has been sorted so I am now one happy bunny with a spare phone :-)

Another Moto G that think its water proof

My Moto G fell on the toilet this morning. I took it out right away, dried and now it is working apparently normally.

The led light blinked for a while and it reinitialized once. But now it is working properly. I haven't charged it yet.

The only problem is that both cameras now have evaporated water on it.

Any ideas?

That’s a tough one…

If the evaporated water was on the outside then it wouldn’t be much of an issue but I have a feeling that it is on the inside of the lens which might prove very difficult to clean. I am not sure if you can to be perfectly honest… I have been trying to think of ways you could do it without the risk of making the situation worse. Maybe alcohol as it dries quickly and it may not leave anything (or as much residue) behind once it dries. I am not sure…

You stumped me my friend, and I don’t get stumped very easily. Good luck and if you do think of a way please come back and let me know what you ended up using or what you ended up doing to try and clean it.

Hey! Thanks for the reply!

Hey! Thanks for the reply!

Actually now my phone is working perfectly! I left it inside a rice package for around 10 hours and now the lens are good to go and all the others problems vanished.

The only thing that stopped working was the led lens, but that's a minor issue haha

Rice does work!

Rice is Nice

Your welcome Gabriela,

Rice is awesome no doubt about it. I am happy to hear that there is no left over mineral deposits or residue after all. Enjoy your working cell phone and thank you for coming back to the site to post a follow up.

If my touch screen cant feel

If my touch screen cant feel my taps, i have to change only touch screen or display too? Picture on the screen is fine.

You should be able to replace just the touch screen itself

Good question Petersilsi. If the display screen seems to be functioning properly and your phone looks like it’s running correctly but the phones touch screen is unresponsive and simply will not recognize your touch then yes you should be able to replace the touch screen as opposed to the display screen and the touch screen. Provided that you can find a replacement for just one or the other that is; sometimes it can be a challenge to find the two pieces sold separately while other times it can be a piece of cake.

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