Wet Electronics & The Rice Myth

When your phone gets wet, many people immediately rush to get a bag of rice. Please don’t do this. Resting a soaked phone among dry grains of rice does very little to draw out moisture. And it can encourage starch to get up inside your device, worsening its condition.

I know this may hard to swallow. The Rice Myth has been passed along for many years now, and by well-respected tech publications, but it doesn’t hold up with pragmatic technicians. Look into the history of the myth and check out how some people have run tests with dunked phones and you may gain some new perspective.

What should you do or not do, if you’ve had a water-emergency with your phone?

  • Do NOT power on the device. Do NOT connect the phone to its power cable.
  • Turn the phone off and keep it off.
  • Remove the battery (if possible).
  • Do NOT heat the device. Do NOT put the device in the freezer.
  • Do NOT shake the device.
  • Gently wipe or blot away excess water.

OK, so what next? I see two ways forward:

  1. You can pack your cellphone in a bag with desiccant packets. Or park your device next to a dehumidifier. And wait. After some days, you can take your chances at a power-on. But if moisture remains trapped in the tight confines of the phone chassis, it may short out and die anyway. Your main tool here is Hope, and she is just as fickle as her sister, Luck.
  2. Call a company that specializes in saving wet technology. If you choose this option, waste no time in calling them, as they say that internal corrosion may set in quickly. Depending on your brand of device, your preferences and service availability, consider contacting:

Companies like those listed above really know what they’re doing with wet devices. They may use vacuum & heating techniques to wick away water, or they may displace the H²O with alcohol solutions, after disassembling the device. Your chances with one of their methods are much better than a home-remedy. And many of them offer a No-Charge-Unless-It’s-Fixed policy!

Lastly, please know that cellphones have hidden sensors that show if they’ve gotten wet. And most warranties are void once the wetness sensor has been tripped. So don’t make a warranty claim on a cellphone that went swimming. They’ll call you on it, and leave you wishing you’d been honest about it.

1 Comment

  1. Bonnie!

    Hi Jesse!

    That is so disappointing about the Rice Myth! It was an important pivotal point on several of my favorite detective shows. LOL !

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