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Tips for drying out a soaking wet phone

Wednesday - 2/12/2014, 2:56pm  ET

phone in rice (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Sticking a wet phone in a bowl of rice may result in a gummy mess (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Marissa Paiano, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Nothing is worse than the feeling of panic that ensues when you find your phone soaked in water. Whether it fell out of your pocket into the toilet or you spilled a drink on it, the idea of not having a phone, or paying a few hundred dollars to buy a new one, can make your stomach drop.

While your initial reaction may be to scorch your phone with a blow-dryer and keep pressing buttons to see whether it's still working, that's not what you should do.

Instead, according to Wired, in order to avoid a short circuit, first pull the battery out. If your device is difficult to take apart - for example, an iPhone - quickly power it off.

Next, quickly wipe the phone with a clean and dry towel, being careful that no water gets pushed into ports or other cracks. If there is water caught in any crevices, use compressed air to blow it out, not further into the phone.

Next, put your phone into one of the following:

  • The commonly used bag of dry rice. Many people let their phone sit in it for 24 to 36 hours or more. While this method is cheap and easy, there is a possibility of being left with mushy rice filling the ports and openings. To avoid this, loosely wrap the phone in a paper towel before putting it in the rice.

  • For a more reliable and less-messy method, try synthetic desiccants.

    The Bheestie Bag is an airtight plastic bag that costs about $20 and that you can use periodically if your water bottle leaks a little in your bag, or if your phone was completely submerged in water.

    Dry-All is a similar product that can be found for $6 on Amazon. Set your phone inside the pouch and wait 24 to 48 hours for the desiccant to dry it out.

  • The third option is Drybox. While there are only locations in a few cities, check their website to see whether there is one near you. After you have turned your phone off, you can bring it to a Drybox and the device should be back to normal in minutes.

You can make your own desiccant pack at home. Start collecting the desiccant packs that come with new pairs of shoes and other products. Put them all in an airtight container, and after your phone encounters a liquid emergency, just place it inside. The results should be the same as any of the other options. But an airtight container is key - without it, the desiccant won't work.

With these tricks to beat water's touch of death, your phone has a chance of surviving the plunge. However, the worse the spill, the slimmer the chance - you may just be out of luck.

At least it's an excuse to upgrade to the newest version of your gadget.

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Tags: iphonecell phone