What Do I Do If My Cellphone Fell into the Water?

Taking quick action is critical when your phone falls into water. The phone should be shut off immediately and any removable parts removed before blotting the phone dry. Putting the phone into a sealed bag of desiccant material can also minimize the chance of permanent damage. If your phone doesn't operate properly after taking these steps, you may have to take it in for professional repair.

Splash! the sound of your cell phone getting soaked is always distressing. Whether it's your cat knocking over a cup of coffee onto your iPhone or accidentally dropping your Android into the kitchen sink, a soaked cell phone is at risk of being permanently out of commission.

Fortunately, cell phone manufacturers understand that life happens and that there is a risk of a phone occasionally being subject to wet conditions. In some cases, the phone will operate just fine because it is water resistant or even waterproof. But not all phones will survive being submerged in water. . .unless you take immediate action.

Here's what to do:

Turn Your Phone Off

As soon as you fish your phone out of the water, turn it off. Much of the damage caused by getting a cell phone wet is due to water getting into running electric circuitry. By immediately turning off your phone, you may be able to stop this from happening before water actually soaks into the body of your phone.

If you are able to do so, open your phone after you've powered it down and remove the battery. (Keep in mind, however, that many phones, such as the Apple iPhone, don't have removable batteries.) Use a paper towel to blot any water that has gotten into the phone, and do the same for the outside of your handset.

Retrieve Your SIM Card

Next, remove the SIM card and put it somewhere safe. You can use the SIM card tool that may have come with your phone, or a pin or unbent paper clip. Just get the SIM card out and safe. Even if your phone is toast, a functioning SIM card can reduce headaches when you purchase a replacement.

Disinfect Your Phone

This step isn't always necessary, but if your phone fell into your toilet, you'll want to clean and disinfect your phone using an anti-bacterial wipe such as those sold by Lysol or Clorox. No wipes? Spray an anti-bacterial cleaner onto a paper towel and wipe your phone down. Be sure to thouroughly wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.

Dry Your Phone

Use a lint-free towel (or just paper towels) to dry your phone. If you were able to remove the battery from your phone, prop your phone up at an angle so that water drains from it.

After towel drying your phone, place the phone into a bag filled with desiccant, a material that draws moisture from its vicinity. While you have perhaps heard that it is a good idea to plunge your phone into a sealed container of rice as a way of drying it out, some experts disagree. Small particles of the rice can get into your phone, causing further problems. Rice can also become moist and sticky as it absorbs moisture. A better option is a commercial dessiccant such as Nine Lives, made by PackFresh USA, which can be ordered online through companies like Amazon.

Keep the phone in the desiccant for 24-48 hours before switching it back on to see if it works.

Warning: Never use heat to dry your phone. This includes hair dryers, space heaters, an (especially) microwave ovens. Doing so can just make matters worse.

Other Options

The above self-help steps can work well in many cases, but sometimes you may feel the need to seek professional help with a soaked cell phone. Here are some options:

  • Some companies, such as Best Buy (and Geek Squad), offer cell phone repair services. The same may also be true for independent and corporate retail cell phone shops in your neighborhood.
  • Contact your cell phone provider: If you have purchased handset protection, you may be covered for phone repair or replacement.
  • If you recently purchased your phone using a credit card, check to see if the card issuer offers purchase protection for your phone. Purchase protection may cover a replacement or the cost of repairing your phone.
  • Check your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. As with purchase protection, you m ay be entitled to reimbursement for the cost of replacing or repairing your phone.
  • If your phone is damaged and cannot be repaired, check to see if your cell phone retailer or provider is willling to offer trade-in credit on damaged phones. You can at least get a discount on your next handset.

Preventing Water Damage to Your Phone

Of course, you won't have to worry about saving your water-logged phone if you take care to protect it from accidental splashes and submersions. All cell phones on the market right now are water resistant, which means that they provide at least some protection against accidental slashes and brief submersion in water. Some phones offer a greater level of water protection, but it is still essential that you get your phone dried out and cared for as quickly as possible after being exposed to water.

Purchase a Case for Your Phone

When you get your phone, purchase a sturdy case and a screen protector. Both can provide substantial protection against water damage. In addition, cases and screen protectors also protect your phone against other mishaps, such as being dropped or scratched.

Keep Your Phone Out of the Bathroom

This is a tough one for many people, but one really good way to protect your phone is to keep it out of the bathroom. This is easy enough to do at home or at the office, simply leave it at your desk if you were at work or wherever you wish while at home. If you are out and about, keep your phone in your purse or in a zip or button to pocket where it is less likely to fall out.

Be Careful in the Kitchen

The kitchen is another place where your phone might be vulnerable to water damage. This is particularly true if you follow recipes that are on your phone. There are smartphone stands that you can purchase from companies like Amazon, Walmart or Wayfair. These are designed to hold your phones upright for convenient referencing while cooking, while also protecting it against accidental spills or being dropped into the sink.

Protect Your Phone Around Bodies of Water

If you are planning a fishing trip, are going boating, or simply feel like spending the day around a pool, take care to protect your phone. In addition to keeping it in a case with a screen protector, put it in a Ziploc bag before heading out. If you need to use your phone, take it out of the bag and then put it right back in after you've done what you need to with your phone. If you are fishing or boating and don't anticipate getting into the water, keep your bagged phone in a zippered pocket.

Final Word

Many of us depend heavily on our phones. If your phone is damaged by water, taking quick action can get your phone up and running while also saving you the cost of repair or replacement. Knowing these tips, and keeping a cool head after realizing that your phone has been splashed or has fallen into water, can go a long way in minimizing the damage and getting your phone up and running again quickly.

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After thousands of Verizon Wireless customers came to GetHuman in search of an answer to this problem (and many others), we decided it was time to publish instructions. So we put together What Do I Do If My Cellphone Fell into the Water? to try to help. It takes time to get through these steps according to other users, including time spent working through each step and contacting Verizon Wireless if necessary. Best of luck and please let us know if you successfully resolve your issue with guidance from this page.

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Verizon Wireless
Amazon
Apple
Geek Squad
Best Buy
Walmart
Wayfair
Pack Fresh USA
Lysol
Clorox

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