No matter how safe you think you are, you stand a decent chance of getting your phone wet somehow. After the panic subsides, most people who face this crisis will attempt to submerge their phone in rice to keep it working. Unfortunately, while this is a popular practice, you have been misled about its safety and effectiveness. Instead of using rice, experts say you should use airflow to keep your phone working after it gets wet. Read on for more on the expert-preferred method to save your phone, and for more safety advice, If You're Using This to Charge Your Phone, Stop Immediately.
"The idea that rice can fix a dry iPhone has been a persistent myth," says David Lynch, a phone expert and the content lead for UpPhone. "The truth is that air is just as good as rice at removing moisture from an iPhone."
In fact, Apple's website touts airflow as a wet phone fix instead of dry rice. According to Apple, you should leave your phone in a dry area with some airflow to help remove moisture. You can even place it in front of a fan blowing cool air to "help the drying process," the company says.
However, it's not just that airflow is an effective way to dry your device out. According to Sarah McConomy, a phone expert and the chief operating officer for SellCell, putting your phone in rice can damage it.
"The starch in rice can actually speed up the corrosion process inside your device that occurs when liquid seeps into the device and starts to rust," McConomy explains. "In addition to this, small particles of rice can actually get stuck in any of the charging apertures of your phone, which can break down the charging port."
Ian Kelly, a former employee in the mobile communications sector and current vice president of operations for NuLeaf Naturals, says he saw more phones damaged by rice than by water during his time working with mobile phones.
"The issue, of course, is that grains of rice can easily get lodged in the charging port and the headphone jack, which can cause temporary inconvenience or permanent damage depending on how stuck it is and how much the owner has fiddled with it," Kelly explains.
Many people turn to this method, however, because they think it will provide the fastest results, he notes. According to Kelly, evaporation through regular airflow can take an entire week or two depending on where you live, so "while it isn't as quick as the rice method, there are really no potential side effects or collateral damage caused by lodged grains or debris."
But while experts encourage the use of airflow, there are some other methods you can try that also don't have the risks associated with the rice method. Keep reading for some other items that may help you salvage a wet phone, and for more words of caution, If You Have This on Your Phone, Delete It Now, Experts Warn.
If you have any leftover silica gel desiccants from packages or pill bottles, Lynch says you can try using these to dry your phone. All you have to do is lay a few packets on your wet cell phone. And for more myths you need to ditch, discover The One Myth About Drinking Water You Need to Stop Believing.
Lint-free microfiber cloths
Don't stress if you have no silica gel packets on hand. Oliver Baker, a technology expert and co-founder of Intelvita, says you can use a lint-free microfiber cloth, like one you would use on your glasses or a DSLR camera. Use this to wipe down your phone and "make sure to really get into the nooks and crannies of your phone and remove as much water as possible," he says. And for more useful advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
If you're without silica get packets and microfiber cloths, try a vacuum bag. Baker say this may be able to vacuum the water out of your phone over time by causing water to evaporate faster. And for more phone help, find out The Best Way to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill, Experts Say.
Kelly advises following Apple's instructions of letting your phone air-dry or dry with a cool fan. But he says you can also try putting your phone in a room next to a dehumidifier, as this could speed up the drying time. And for more things you may be messing up, learn The One Way You're Making Your Medicine Less Effective.