Save A Wet Cellphone

There was a time when the best place to charge our cellphone was near an open window in our apartment. One day, it stopped working and we took it into the Verizon store to get it fixed. The first thing they did was open up the battery case. On top of the Verizon LG phone battery was a small dot, normally white, that changes color when the battery has been exposed to water. As such, they phone was no longer covered under warranty and we ended up signing a new contract just so we didn’t have to pay full retail for their phone. We wished that instead we had known about these neat tips (again, at WikiHow) on saving your wet cell phone.

The best way to dry out your phone is to place it in front of an air conditioner or air conditioning vent… cold air is better than heat for two reasons: it won’t damage your phone (heat melts plastic) & cold air is dry (hot air contains moisture).

Their advice on placing a piece of tape over the aforementioned water damage sticker is apt as well.

How to Save a Wet Cell Phone” [WikiHow]


Edit Your Comment

  1. He says:

    Couldn’t you replace the white dot with a white dot sticker that isn’t moisture activated? A white dot isn’t that unique and it’s not like they’d want to get it wet to make sure it’s a real moisture detector.

  2. Ben Popken says:

    Technically, yes, but finding a sticker of the right size or cutting one and fitting it in would be a very time consuming process for the average user.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Plus, if they detect your fraud, you can kiss your chances of getting a replacement goodbye.

  4. Daytonna says:

    This is an good idea, except for the fact that it is blatently dishonest, and no different than stealing. There is no difference between doing this and the customer who returns one patty from a 12 pack of frozen patties, saying they were rotten, after eating the other 11.

    It is theft, period.
    This is not being a “smart” or “informed” consumer, it is being a theif.

    If your phone has failed because it got wet, then the fault is yours, it was not a manfacturer defect, it was not covered under any waranty. (Unless you purchased the phone replacement policy, which most cellular companies do have for a very reasonalbe price.)

    Just because a company may use dishonest, or blatent untruths to sell contracts, may attempt to change policies after the fact, or any of the underhanded things they have done in the past. You do not have the right to steal from them, and the original manafacturer of the phone.

  5. TVarmy says:

    I heard a tip from a friend on how to save any solid state (few or no moving parts) electronic device that you’ve dropped in water. Dunk it in rubbing alcohol. The alcohol displaces the water out of the case, and it evaporates faster and is non-conductive, or so he said. I have no idea how well it works. He claimed it also works for saltwater.

    I’d like to try it on something I don’t care about that much, but it goes against my thrift to drop a working device in water.

  6. clarity says:

    I’d love to read some suggestions on places that do data retrieval on phones that don’t make it through the recovery process. (in my case, a Treo.)

  7. ColoradoShark says:

    Since it is already wet, it will only do good if you wet it more with either de-ionized or distilled water. A lot of damage comes from the ions, dissolved minerals, turning into a weak acid as the water evaporates. Seriously, this is how electronics are cleaned as one of the manufacturing steps.

  8. Baz says:

    Just buy a new battery! Red sticker be damned…

  9. Mr. Gunn says:

    Now this is news I can use! Also, I can confirm the tip about deionized water. A dip in deionized water, then a dunk in electronics grade ethanol will do the trick. You’ll probably have to beg/borrow/steal the ethanol, because it’s not readily available.

  10. jlou says:

    I once accidentally dropped my Nokia in a puddle next to my car and didn’t find it until two hours later. The speaker sounded a little warped for a few hours, but it dried out on its own and worked perfectly for nearly a year afterwards, until I got my free upgrade. Indestructible.

    I doubt my Motorola is quite as stalwart, though, so I’m sure I’ll be glad for these tips at some point in the future.

  11. Wow – the relative humidity of all cold air is zero! Who knew?!

    (I think I feel a little wiki-edit coming on… :-)

  12. lpranal says:

    jlou- I actually dropped my moto in a stream once, and it never even turned off. I have a friend who left hers (motorola v5xx, mine was a v505) out in the rain overnight and it was fine after taking it apart to air dry for a day or two.

  13. Myron says:

    “cold air is dry (hot air contains moisture)”

    Not true. I think the relevant point is that air coming out of an air conditioner is dry.

  14. non-meat-stick says:

    Try all you want, but your cell phone is a walking POS after it gets wet. It can go at any moment, and it will most likely be at a very inconvienent time. And when this happens, don’t go back to your provider, dumbass.

    Buy a new phone or be more responsible, jerk face!

  15. Metschick says:

    Yup, don’t be like me, who tried to scam my provider. After a fun dunk in the toilet (thanks to my daughter), I called up and said that the phone just flat out stopped working. The cust. rep. tells me to take out the battery and tell him what color the circle is. I tell him red, and he tells me, there was water damage, and that I was responsible for getting a new phone. I was played. Never again…

  16. My wife has a Samsung that ended up in the washing machine one day. I dissasembled as much of it as I could and left it to dry overnight next to the vent (it was summer, so the air was on). The next day it was as good as new and has worked since.

    Frankly, water damage is the most common cause of malfunction on cell phones, and is also the one thing not covered by providers’ warranties. The providers know this, and purposefully don’t cover it. This is dirty to me and not helpful to the consumer, so these tips are gold…pure gold.

    *applies tape to moisture sticker*

  17. rachmanut says:

    my lg6100 works fine, and hasn’t been wet to my knowledge. i don’t see anything that looks like a moisture dot on the phone itself, but on the edge of the battery, in between the terminal contacts, is a little rectangular sticker that is pink with red polka-dots. as far as i know, it’s always looked like that. is that the moisture sensor? do you think there’s anything i can do?

  18. Keter says:

    1. Ethanol: get the 100% anhydrous laboratory grade stuff at scientific supply stores. If you are over 21, you can buy up to a pint by just showing your driver’s license in all areas I know of. They start wanting forms filled out for larger sizes; I guess they worry that you’re going to make drugs or blow stuff up with it. Be sure to wear gloves; this stuff will dry your hands out like crazy.

    2. CorrosionX: my husband did a promo for CorrosionX in which he used it to revive cell phones that had been dropped in toilets, the lake, etc. It doesn’t work if the water shorted out something in the microprocessor, but if it’s just wet, a good soaking in CorrosionX will revive it. Remove the battery. Dampen the contacts with CorrosionX. The battery is sealed; water should not have gotten into it. Take the back off the phone and pour/spray the CorrosionX in there. Use plenty. Let soak overnight, then dry with paper towels. If the phone doesn’t start once the battery is reinstalled, try charging the battery, it might just be discharged.
    WARNING: CorrosionX may get inside LCDs, and it almost certainly WILL RUIN cameras. You will still be able to read the LCD screen, but you’ll be able to see that their is liquid in there. The effect on CCDs is even worse. IMO, a phone that works with a funky “custom!” screen and no camera is better than a phone that doesn’t work at all.

    Regarding that “black dot” – more than likely this is not a moisture detector. It is probably an overheat detector that indicates the battery has been shorted out. It’s probably just thermal printing paper. Things other than water can trigger an overheating event, as laptop computers have adequately demonstrated.

  19. MeOhMy says:

    “Frankly, water damage is the most common cause of malfunction on cell phones, and is also the one thing not covered by providers’ warranties. The providers know this, and purposefully don’t cover it. This is dirty to me and not helpful to the consumer, so these tips are gold…pure gold.”

    Warranties are traditionally intended to cover defects, not accidents. Unless the phone is supposed to be waterproof, there is never a case where liquid damage to the phone is caused by any defect. Why would it be replaced under warranty?

    Fair warning before you put tape over the moisture indicator – there are often others elsewhere in the phone.

  20. ALF says:

    My daughter dropped her cell phone in our dogs water bowl. She took the battery out and dried it the best she could.

    I told her to get the can of Dust Off that we use to blow dust out of the computer and key board and use it to dry out her phone. It worked and her phone was fine. I think it was the pressurized cold air in the Dust Off that dried her phone so quickly.

  21. phill_nz says:

    this is a design farce driven by marketing and sales .. i fish a lot .. which means boats and water .. im also a rural / bush fire fighter .. these activities cause the destruction of many phones … you never know when you are going to get wet .. but .. you know when you do your mobile is going to die .. this item is the most usefull safety contact item both at sea and in the middle of a fire .. if the walkie talkies are out of range .. the phone normally still works .. even if they just coat the circuit board so it doesnt short and fry the componants ( easy and cheap to do ) most phones will survive a dunking with little or no repair needed …