How to Dry Out Electronics

Not all hope is lost when electronics get water damage. Learn what to do when your electronics take a dunk, as well as what not to do and how to dry them out.

Did your phone take a dunk? Don’t worry; not all hope is lost. You may be surprised by how well water-soaked electronics can come back to life. Success rates vary, depending on how long the device was submerged. The sooner you act, the better chance the device has to be rescued.

Remove the Battery

Turn the device off as soon as possible, and keep it powered off. If possible, remove the battery, SIM card and any SD cards. Remove accessories such as camera lenses or cords. If you feel comfortable, remove the port covers and the shell to allow moisture to escape. Otherwise, leave everything intact. Keep the battery cover off, and remove the phone from the case if it has one.

Remove Excess Moisture

If the device fell in saltwater or muddy water, rinse it off carefully with fresh water. Use a vacuum to suck any remaining water droplets from the headphone jack or accessory ports. Use the smallest vacuum nozzle you can find. Try to create an airtight seal around these ports for maximum suction. Next, use a can of compressed air or an air compressor to blow out any moisture the vacuum couldn’t reach.

Use White Rice or a Desiccant

Grab an airtight container or bag that fits the device. Fill the container or bag with uncooked white rice. Alternately, drop in a few packs of desiccant, which you can find at your local hardware store. Submerge the device in the white rice, or arrange the desiccant packets around it inside the container. Seal the lid or bag. Keep the device inside this container for at least 24 hours. If the device was submerged for some time, it wouldn’t hurt to leave it in there for up to a week.

Remove the device; resist the temptation to turn it on. Find a source of gentle, indirect heat (e.g., the sun). Place the device near this indirect heat for a day to remove remaining moisture.

Repower the Device

Get fresh batteries to repower the device. Before replacing the batteries, remove any corrosion on the battery terminals with a cotton swab dipped in white or apple cider vinegar. Then put in the new batteries, and try to power on the device. Hopefully, everything is back to normal.

You may see discoloration or damage on LCD screens. This means there is still moisture inside the device – this may be permanent. Repeat the steps above if you want to try again, or let the damage serve as a reminder to be more careful with your electronics when around water.

Professional Water Damage Restoration

If your entire home suffered water damage, you need professional help. Rainbow International’s water damage restoration services use rapid structural drying techniques to remove all moisture and standing water. Our content pack-out services can restore water-damaged electronics and personal belongings with specialized drying chambers at an off-site facility. Just call 855-724-6269, or schedule an appointment online.

Once your electronics are back in working order, show them some love with help from Mr. Electric. Learn how to clean your electronics, protect them from electrical surges and more. Mr. Electric is part of Neighborly’s network of home service providers and is your local resource for electrical repair and installation services.