Water is kryptonite to electronics. No matter how well you have your phone padded in a case of armor, just one accidental dunk in the toilet or your morning cup of coffee and your phone is toast. Or is it?
There may be a way to save your phone and your precious contacts if you make the unfortunate mistake or washing your jeans with your phone in it, or if your friends start feeling like pranksters and decide to push you in the pool with all your clothes — and your phone — on. The next time you spill your drink on your laptop, drop your phone in your soup, or find your e-reader in the toilet after it disappeared with your toddler, try these steps to see if you can save them from an electronic graveyard:
If you find that your phone, tablet or computer has been sprayed, sprinkled, or flooded with water, don’t wait to act. Immediately take the battery out of your phone or tablet or unplug your computer. Any power to the device or attempts to turn on the device could spark something and cause a short that leads to permanent damage.
Once the power is out, take everything apart and blot out any visible water or moisture. For a phone or tablet, just take the battery out. For a computer, take off the case and dismantle whatever parts you know how to put back together later. Water has a way of hiding in the crevices, so break it down as far as you can.
Let it Dry Completely
Now you wait. Let your device dry completely for as much as several days. Any attempts to turn it back on before it is completely dry can lead to a short. Some people report success after leaving their device to dry for only a few hours. Don’t risk it. At least a full day is needed, and sometimes two or three days.
Do not apply heat to your device to speed the drying process. Any heat could warp the components. If you must try to accelerate the drying process, you can use a fan or a bottle of compressed air.
Lay It In Rice
You read that right: Rice. No, you aren’t going to make a cell phone stir fry. You are going to let the rice’s natural absorbent properties do the dirty work for you and speed up the drying process by drying out your phone or tablet (a computer may be too big and intricate for this).
Simply fill a bag, bowl, or canister with brown rice, and submerge your device in it. Make sure your phone or tablet is completely covered. Leave it for a day or two, and you are likely to find that your device is as good as new.
If you have them, small packs of silica gel work just as good as the rice. These are packets that you find in boxes of new shoes and other products to keep out moisture.
If you happen to get your phone or tablet wet when you are at the beach, or it is submerged in another source of salt water, be sure to give it a quick dunk in fresh water before leaving it to dry. Salt can crust on the components and corrode them.
Use windex or rubbing alcohol to clean computer components or other electronic parts that have been subjected to flooding or other dirty waters. This will ensure that no mineral deposits are left on the electric components that will corrode them.
What other tricks have you found to bring your electronics back to life after a brush with a watery death? Tell us your ideas in the comments!