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How to dry out and rescue a wet phone: Does rice actually work?

Dropping your Android phone or iPhone in the toilet, bath, swimming pool or a pint of beer isn’t necessarily the end. Here’s our full instructions for how to try and save a wet mobile phone by drying it out, and a look at how effective 

If your mobile phone has just taken an unexpected trip into a body of water, and it isn’t water resistant, there’s still a chance that it can be fully rescued. To give your iPhone or Android phone the best chance of survival, you’ll want to follow these instructions.

Does rice really help to dry out a wet phone?

Yes, but saving a damp mobile isn’t as simple as chucking it in a bag of rice for a few minutes and hoping for the best. You will have to try and remove as much water as possible from the device before placing it inside a bag filled with uncooked rice, which simply helps to soak up any lingering residue.

In fact, there are more effective desiccants out there, many of which can be found in your typical homestead. These include couscous, cat litter and instant or classic oatmeal. Covering your dried-off phone with these will help to completely dry the device, although there’s no guarantee that your handset will work when it’s removed.

How do I dry out a wet phone? Full instructions

As soon as your handset comes into contact with the water, you’ll want to fish it out and immediately switch it off. Follow these instructions as soon as possible, to limit the damage done.

  • First, shake the phone vigorously to get as much water as possible out of any exposed ports, such as the USB charging port and the headphone jack. You can also dry the exterior with whatever is at hand, including your clothes at a pinch. Towels obviously work better.
  • If you can prise off the back of your phone to access the battery and card slots, then do so. Again, shake off your mobile and pad down any moist surfaces inside. Remove the battery if possible and repeat.
  • Now leave your phone in a well-ventilated room to air-dry, for at least a couple of hours. If the back and the battery can be removed, leave them separated.
  • Finally, place your phone and components into a bag filled with cat litter, uncooked couscous, uncooked rice or instant/classic oatmeal. These are the best drying agents available in the majority of homes, which can help to remove any lingering water residue.
  • Leave your mobile for a few days just to be sure and, with a bit of luck, the water will all be gone and it’ll spring back to life when turned on.
  • If your luck is dead in the water, then check out our guide to the best affordable phones you can buy right now. Hopefully you’ll find a cheap replacement.

Should I get a water resistant smartphone?

A lot of mobile phones these days are fully water resistant, which means you can dunk them in a full bath, take them in the shower or even take some pics in your swimming pool with no ill effect. Recent flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium all boast some form of waterproofing, so they can survive for around half an hour or so submerged in a metre of fresh water.

Of course, a lot of waterproof handsets come with a premium asking price, as the general construction costs more. That said, you can pick up some quite affordable water resistant mobiles in 2017. Samsung’s cheaper Galaxy A-series mobiles, such as the Galaxy A5 2017, can tolerate a serious splashing without any harm.

Check out our round-up of the best waterproof phones right now to see which handsets we like the most.


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