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Everything You Need To Know About Liquid Damage To Your Phone

Monday, April 5, 2021

One of the most common reasons our customers bring their iPhones, Pixels, and Samsung phones in for repair is liquid damage. We’ve all been there. You spilled a drink on your phone or it fell into a puddle or it simply slipped out of your hands and into a sink (or toilet). 

We’ve even had people bring their phones in because they went swimming and forgot it was in their pocket. We’ve seen it all when it comes to liquid damage to your phone!

What To Do When Your Phone Gets Wet

Don’t panic.

There are so many “home remedies” out there that not only won’t dry out your phone, they might actually damage it more than the liquid itself did. 

If your phone has taken an unintentional swim, do the following:

  1. Remove your phone from the liquid as quickly as possible.
  2. If your phone is still turned on, turn it off. If it is turned off, DO NOT attempt to turn it on.
  3. Hold your phone upright and gently tip it from side to side. This will help drain the liquid inside through the bottom.
  4. Gently use a microfiber cloth to wipe off any visible moisture from the outside of your phone.

At this point, we recommend you bring your phone into The Lab so our repair experts can safely examine your phone. We have specialized tools designed to safely disassemble your phone without damaging it and can let you know if it can be repaired, rather than need to be completely replaced.

Repairing A Wet Phone At Home Is Risky

The reason we recommend bringing a wet smartphone into The Lab is because there are serious risks when you try to repair a wet electronic device at home.

Most people don’t have the appropriate tools for delicate electronic repair in their homes, and using the wrong tool can damage the delicate components of your phone.

Rice Is For Eating, Not Repairing Liquid Damage To Your Phone

It might be the most popular home remedy for repairing a wet smartphone, but it doesn’t actually work! Jessa Jones of iPad Rehab Repair says it this way:

“When we put a phone in rice, it is the same thing as doing nothing. It just FEELS like we’re actively trying something. Corrosion is instant when a phone hits water. Sometimes the corrosion hits important components, and sometimes not. If we resist turning the phone on until it dries on the counter, in the rice bag, or anywhere else, sometimes we get lucky. If we had the phone in the rice bag, we think the rice saved the phone. But it didn’t! Even if the phone seems to be working, it will have oxidized solder joints that are weakened and brittle. Corrosion will continue to spread inside the phone. We have done nothing but experienced temporary luck.”

According to an experiment done by Gazelle, rice is actually the worst household substance to use to dry your phone! 

No Phone Is Really Waterproof

If you purchased your phone because it claimed to be “waterproof”, you might want to check the fine print on your phone. Even with phones like Samsung’s Galaxy series that show people using them underwater in their advertisements, the devices aren’t really waterproof. 

For example, Samsung warns in the fine print against “beach or pool use” for its phones and their warranty won’t cover any water damage. Claims of phones being water-resistant for certain amounts of times in certain water depths can get confusing. The best way to avoid damaging your phone with liquid is to just assume it isn’t waterproof!

How The Lab Can Help

If you follow the steps outlined above to gently remove excess water from your phone, by the time you bring it to us at The Lab, we can help. Once we get your phone, we typically take the following steps to dry it out and repair it:

  • Gently drain your phone to remove as much liquid as possible
  • Open your phone and remove the battery. For most phones, the battery will need to be completely replaced after it’s been exposed to liquid.
  • Remove the logic board and any other internal parts that appear corroded before cleaning them.
  • Gently clean corroded components using a sonic cleaner and electronic clean solution.
  • Dry every component before meticulously reassembling your phone and turning it on again.

The Lab is located in the heart of downtown Warsaw at 120 E. Center Street, Suite A. We’re open until 5pm Monday-Friday and until 2pm on Saturday. We love walk-ins and are always here to help!

This blog post was originally published in April of 2020. It has been updated with the latest information and resources available.

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