10-05-2018 10:26 PM
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  1. Rukbat's Avatar
    If your phone fell in the water, or got wet some other way, and you're reading this - STOP! Pull the battery out NOW! If your phone doesn't have a removable battery (iPhone, HTC, etc) you have a fast decision to make. "Do I spend a few dollars to repair the damage I'm about to do by following this advice, or do I throw the phone into the garbage?" TAKE THE BATTERY OUT!

    (I tell people that if your pants fall down as your phone hits the water, get the battery out of the phone and do the rest of the steps in this post, then pull your pants up. Five seconds can mean the difference between "oh, my phone got wet" and "which new phone can I afford to buy?")

    If that means cracking the back cover off the phone, that's what you do. (Batteries unplug now, so just ease the plug out - but don't take more than a couple of seconds. The longer the battery stays in the phone, the more damage occurs.)

    It will cost a few dollars to have the back replaced but, unless the phone is an old one worth only a few dollars, you're still ahead of the game.

    The worst thing you can do to a wet phone is charge it. You just electrocuted your phone. R. I. P.

    The second worst thing you can do is leave (or put) the battery in. Leaving the battery in a wet phone causes current to flow where it's not supposed to (across wet places), causing damage. It also causes electrolysis, taking metal from one place and plating it onto another, causing more damage. The chemicals in the water slowly erode the phone. Even if you dry it, every humid day wets them again, causing more erosion, corrosion and electrolysis.

    The next worst thing you can do is turn it on. If it's turned off, only a small portion of the phone (on some phones) gets destroyed. On others, all the circuits get fried.

    The fourth worst thing you can do is just dry the phone off, or dry it off and put it in rice. (Whoever invented the "bag of dry rice" trick should be sentenced to life in a bag of dried rice. He's destroyed more phones than a crusher in a landfill.) (Or maybe that's the very worst thing you can do. All 4 things are pretty closely tied for first place.)


    Get a non-metallic pan large enough to hold about a quart of alcohol, plain old 70% rubbing alcohol. (A glass meat loaf pan is about ideal for most phones, but a Tupperware or other plastic container is fine.) 90% alcohol is fine too (it's been reported that 90% alcohol will remove the coating on the back of a MotoG, so you might want to stick to 70%), if that's what you have. Plain old rubbing alcohol, surgical spirit - ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. (Don't use drinking alcohol - the esters and flavors and colors are about as bad for the phone as sea water.) Put the phone (the battery has been removed) in the alcohol and swish it around vigorously for about 5 minutes. You want to wash any minerals, dirt, impurities, etc., out into the alcohol. Don't worry about wetting the phone - alcohol isn't water, it absorbs water (I've been corrected by a chemist - it's not adsorbtion, it's absorbtion in this case). It's actually drying the phone. (It's also why you get hangovers - alcohol dries your cells out. If you drink 3 times as much water as alcohol, you'll wake up feeling a lot better the next morning.)

    After about 5 minutes of this, drain the phone, dump the alcohol (it's got water, dirt, minerals, etc. from the phone in it), replace it with fresh alcohol and repeat for another 5 minutes. Then one more time. Three baths in all.

    If the phone has an SD card or SIM card in it, take them out now and give the phone one final wash in clean alcohol (to clean out the card ports), and put the cards into the alcohol and gently rub the contacts with your fingers to get any film of chemicals off.

    Wipe the battery down with alcohol on a paper towel or cloth, or just dump it into fresh alcohol and wipe it down. The battery is sealed, you just want to keep from putting any crap into the phone when you put the battery back in. If it's a plug-in battery, give the plug and cable the same treatment you gave the phone, just shorter - a few 15 second vigorous washings will do - then hold the whole thing with the open end of the plug facing away from you and whip your arm a few times. You want centrifugal force to throw out any remaining dirt, or any drops of any liquid, from the holes in the plug.

    Put the battery and the phone into a container of UNCOOKED rice (or silica gel if you happen to have some that's dry [freshly heated, but then cooled]. Some people use a plastic bag, but I prefer a gallon jar or a LARGE plastic container that can be sealed. (Five pounds of rice all over the kitchen floor because the plastic bag ripped and you'd better live alone - or you will be.) Make sure the phone is completely covered on all sided by the rice. Put the battery in there too - not touching the phone, but covered by some rice. Seal the container. Leave it for a week. (After that, seal the rice in 2 heavy duty plastic bags [freezer bags should be thick enough] and throw it out. The alcohol it absorbed makes it poisonous to animal life [and bacterial life too]. Check with your local drug store (Chemist in Old Blighty) about local laws regarding disposing of rubbing alcohol-soaked absorbents. Some places require you to contact your sanitation people, so it doesn't end up in the landfill, killing hundreds of birds.)

    The reason for the rice at this point is to get any remaining water molecules out of the phone. You've dried it with the alcohol, but any remaining water drops, even if it's triple-distilled, deionized water, will be ionized by any electricity flowing through it, cause a short, which can char the motherboard, which leads to more current flow (char is a decent conductor), causing more current flow - and the phone will eventually fail.

    If you immediately remove the battery, you have a 50-50 chance of saving the phone, but I've saved phones that were in a lot worse places than a lake or a washing machine. Toilets are some of the cleaner places I've rescued phones from (wearing 2 pairs of surgical gloves, shoulder-length rubber gloves and goggles). If the water is clean, and you remove the battery within seconds of the phone getting wet, your chances are about 99%. If it's ocean water, sorry, but if the phone fell into the ocean without having a battery in it, it's probably too late. Ocean water (any water with a lot of electrolytes in it) is as bad as charging a wet phone - it does the same damage. By the time you get home, even 5 minutes, the phone is well on its way to being electronic scrap.

    After a week in rice, the phone may turn on and seem to work, only to start failing over the coming weeks. That means that there was still some impurity that started causing a short and eventually something got fried. That usually means a new motherboard and other new parts, maybe a screen. Then you have to get a repair estimate and decide whether it's worth putting that much money into that phone. New motherboard in an S5? Sure. $50 into a Samsung Precedent? You can buy a better phone for that price. Compare the price of the repair to the price of outright purchase of the phone. (It's not the subsidized price you paid, if you're in the US. That $49 phone actually costs a few hundred dollars. Even one of those "free" phones is about $100.) If you're up for a new phone in a couple of weeks, you can pick up a cheap feature phone on Craig's List for #20, so you have a phone in case you need one, and wait it out. If you need a larger SIM card, or it's a CDMA phone, just go to your carrier, tell them wha happened, and that you need to do an "equipment swap" until you're eligible to get the new phone. (Don't be surprised if the sales associate goes into the back, then comes out and tells you that he or she got your renewal date shortened, so you can get the new phone now with no penalty or additional charge. Some carriers are great that way.)

    If you're going to be near water, not only on a boat, but in a downpour, or hiking near a stream, get 2 zip-lock bags large enough to put the phone in. Put the phone into one of them and zip it shut. Put that one into the second bag, zipper-first. Leave some air in the second bag - not blown up, just not all sucked out either. Zip the second bag. (The best ones are the ones in which the plastic of the bag itself is the zipper, not the ones with the little plastic "zipper" you run from one end to the other - those are NOT waterproof.) You can hear, talk, read the screen, press the screen and press the buttons through the bags. You may drown, but your phone will be safe. (They sell waterproof cellphone bags for about $10, but I'll sell you 2 zip lock bags for only $5 if you want to waste your money.)

    If you're really going to be around deep water - like on a boat - use an old boater's trick. Wrap some thin wire around a corner of the bags - tightly. Put the end through a "popper" or fishing float or some other large piece of cork. They make them for keys, and boating stores sell them. Use one for the bags on your phone. (Do not punch a hole in the bags to hold the wire.) Experiment with how much buoyancy you need for that phone before you drop it into 250 feet of water filled with feeding whales. You want the cork to stay at the surface when the phone is in the water. If it sinks in the 2 feet in the bathtub, you can reach in and get it back - and use a larger float.

    Or you can just leave the outside bag filled with air. If your phone floats like that in the bathtub, it'll float like that in the middle of the Pacific. (Better, even, since salt water provides more buoyancy.)

    (Permission is granted to link to this or repost it anywhere on the internet, as long as credit is given to Rukbat as the author.)
    01-01-2015 05:03 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Awesome.
    01-02-2015 01:25 AM
  3. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    Great write up! Thanks!
    01-02-2015 08:38 AM
  4. STARGATE's Avatar
    Yup, alcohol helps, unfortunately, many people don't believe it...

    I have told many people about it, when they don't believe, I just tell them to put their phone in a bag or container with rice or silica packets.
    01-04-2015 04:37 PM
  5. ednewmy's Avatar
    This is great advice, thank you! I just purchased a water damaged samsung galaxy tab s using some ebay vouchers I had kicking about. It was filthy cheap so if I can't get it back to life and the previous owner fried it by trying to charge it/using it when still wet then so be it, but I'm going to give the 99% alcohol bath thing followed by being sealed in a plastic air tight container with silica pouches a go. I also have a replacement battery that I may try with it.

    Failing that I'll take it to a repair person who may tell me it's dead. In which case, I'll just sell what I can for spares.
    Golfdriver97 likes this.
    01-06-2015 07:28 PM
  6. Octaviannn's Avatar
    Please do not give an alcohol "bath" to your screen. It will mess up everything inside it. You will have to buy a new digitizer, and stuff inside there. Your touchscreen won't work properly. i have to spend now more than 50€ on screen parts.
    The mainboad and the other stuff won't get damaged, but your screen will.
    02-07-2015 12:13 PM
  7. Rukbat's Avatar
    How badly warped or damaged was the screen at the time you put it into alcohol? What was it dropped into? (A high enough chemical concentration will eat pinholes through sealants.) (Or is this a screen you replaces the digitizer on yourself, and left enough gaps for water to get in and damage the digitizer before it ever saw ay alcohol?)

    The screen should be sealed against moisture. If it isn't, bringing a cold phone into a warm humid house would damage the digitizer. There shouldn't be any parts of the digitizer that are alcohol-soluble.

    And a new digitizer doesn't cost 50€ in parts. More like 1/10 of that.

    If alcohol had damaged screens, I think more than a few of the customers whose phones I saved with alcohol, over the years, would have mentioned it.

    (Just in case the particular phone doesn't have a sealed screen, why don't you post the make and model? Some cheap Chinese phones may be that bad. Glue costs money when you buy it enough to do 1,000 screens, so "don't bother gluing the glass down that well" can save a few Yuan.)
    02-07-2015 12:36 PM
  8. Octaviannn's Avatar
    Hello Rukbat.
    see my post: http://forums.androidcentral.com/goo...ml#post4215828
    There are some photos there. You can see there white "deep" points in the screen, and also orange stripes on the edge of the screen. BTW it's a Nexus 4.
    The phone was wet, i dried it with a towel, then took it apart, and gave it an alcohol bath. It stood some days in rice and also in silica gel...
    02-07-2015 12:58 PM
  9. Rukbat's Avatar
    The stripes would appear to be in the LCD layer, or the diffuser. The white spot appears to be something cut through the LCD layer (so it's not blocking any light at that point) or some electrical short or open in the layer. It could have been done by some chemical in the water. Alcohol doesn't totally dissolve a little hole in an LCD layer or dissolve or short wires

    However, if you take a wet phone completely apart, all you should do is wash each part (motherboard, switch, etc.) in alcohol, then wipe everything down with an alcohol swab or 5. Bathing the phone is to get all the impurities out for people who don't have the skill and experience to take their phones apart.

    (BTW, drying the phone with alcohol is faster, it dries better and it dries the inside as well as the outside, Drying the outside with a towel is just wasting time and letting the impurities work longer.) And a day in silica gel (assuming it was recently baked, so it's dry), is better than a couple of weeks in rice.
    Games4life2016 likes this.
    02-07-2015 01:13 PM
  10. Octaviannn's Avatar
    So i assume there were some chemicals in the toilet water... I am actually experienced, and did the alcohol baths like 3 times... What would you recommend me to do? Take the digitizer and screen apart? try to dry it? buy a new one? I really don't want to invest much money in it. And actually yes, digitizer is 30€ in Germany, glue 5€ plus 4€ and i don't know what things i need ...(UV-Light which i don't have... bla bla)
    02-07-2015 01:31 PM
  11. Rukbat's Avatar
    I've only once saved a phone that was dropped in the toilet for a long enough time that the owner wanted to replace the phone because it was too old. Most of them didn't last more than a year. The bowl cleaner (if you use one) just about destroys phones, and if the toilet wasn't flushed when the phone fell in, who knows what chemicals were in the mix?

    As for the digitizer, try this or this or some other American source. (Both say they'll ship to Grmany, that there's no import duty, and that priority shipping is about the same price as the glass (which includes tools and tape). So the whole thing would run you about 28 €.

    But I'd replace the whole screen if it were mine, because I really don't think it's the digitizer. this would cost about 70 € with shipping. Expensive. Maybe not worth it on a 3 generation old phone.

    Your decision.
    02-07-2015 01:51 PM
  12. Octaviannn's Avatar
    None of the links work, they just redirect ti ebay.com, but that's not important... i also think it's not worth paying 70€ for this phone, but i just love it so i'm trying to find a "not so expensive" way.
    I will try to find something, thank you very much for your oppinion.
    But what do you think that there really happened? Alcohol between the glass and digitizer? I think the alcohol dissolved the glue on the edge of the glass and there went some alcohol between the glass and digitizer. I suppose the digitizer is made of some kind of plastic (i dont know). Becuase plastic rubbed with alcohol = plastic turns white, not more transparent.
    02-07-2015 02:52 PM
  13. Rukbat's Avatar
    None of the links work, they just redirect ti ebay.com, but that's not important.
    Not important, but strange. (I usually check links I post, and I apoloogize for not checking these.)

    But what do you think that there really happened? Alcohol between the glass and digitizer?
    The digitizer is usually bonded to the glass, so even sitting the glass in alcohol for a few days shouldn't cause any problem, unless there's some material in there that absorvs liquid, swells, then doesn't shrink when dry. But the symptom of a bad digitizer is lack of touch response on the screen - the digitizer has nothing to do with the display.

    I think the alcohol dissolved the glue on the edge of the glass and there went some alcohol between the glass and digitizer. I suppose the digitizer is made of some kind of plastic (i dont know). Becuase plastic rubbed with alcohol = plastic turns white, not more transparent.
    It would depend on the type of plastic. In the US, alcohol is sold in plastic bottles, so the plastic used wouldn't be affected in any way by alcohol (since the alcohol has to be pharmaceutically pure). I haven't seen a glass bottle of alcohol in years (other than the kind intended to be drunk).

    Even so, the glue shouldn't dissolve in alcohol. It would make it MUCH easier to replace the glass if it did. (The normal method is heating and scraping. Rubbing it with a finger dipped in alcohol would save about an hour of labor for the beginner. Even if it had to soak in alcohol for a few minutes to soften it, it would probably be on every Youtube video about replacing the glass on a phone.)
    02-07-2015 03:06 PM
  14. Octaviannn's Avatar
    But the symptom of a bad digitizer is lack of touch response on the screen
    there is a lack of touch response on the screen. The part by the home and back button doesn't work.
    Do you recommend to change the whole top part with the plastic body like this LG E960 Nexus 4 Display LCD Touch Screen Glas Rahmen Bildschirm Original Neu Bla | eBay or only the glass part like this Neu LCD Display Displayeinheit Touchscreen Digitizer FÜR LG Google Nexus 4 E960 | eBay
    02-07-2015 03:23 PM
  15. Rukbat's Avatar
    The second one appears to be (not because Google can't translate German well, but because the seller isn't specific - but the picture seems to be) the entire display, which is what I'd replace. Those yellow lines and the white spot aren't coming from the glass or the digitizer, which is all you get with the first link.
    02-07-2015 03:33 PM
  16. Octaviannn's Avatar
    The second one appears to be (not because Google can't translate German well, but because the seller isn't specific - but the picture seems to be) the entire display, which is what I'd replace. Those yellow lines and the white spot aren't coming from the glass or the digitizer, which is all you get with the first link.
    Okay, thank you i appreciate your help!
    02-07-2015 03:59 PM
  17. Rukbat's Avatar
    Keine Problem. (Ich spreche sehr wenig Deutsch -.. Ich habe das meiste, was ich verwendet, um das Teil in Klammern mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Google kennen vergessen)
    02-07-2015 04:16 PM
  18. Octaviannn's Avatar
    Keine Problem. (Ich spreche sehr wenig Deutsch -.. Ich habe das meiste, was ich verwendet, um das Teil in Klammern mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Google kennen vergessen)
    Google is not a good translator haha the phrase doesn't make any sense but nice that you tried
    02-07-2015 04:21 PM
  19. Rukbat's Avatar
    I think Google put part of one phrase in the middle of another one. Keine Problem I remember. I've forgotten so much since the last time I actually spoke German (I was in Schwaben for business for a little over a month in 1979) that I had to use Google to try to tell you that. (I spoke it as a child, so when I was there in 1979 I started remembering it quickly, since almost no one in the tiny town we were in spoke any other language.)
    Claude Speed likes this.
    02-07-2015 04:27 PM
  20. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    If it's ocean water, sorry, but if the phone fell into the ocean without having a battery in it, it's probably too late. Ocean water (any water with a lot of electrolytes in it) is as bad as charging a wet phone - it does the same damage. By the time you get home, even 5 minutes, the phone is well on its way to being electronic scrap.
    Question, Professor: Is any other impurity, like soda pop (or any other simple syrup) similar to ocean water?
    03-25-2015 09:58 PM
  21. Rukbat's Avatar
    Any sugar, dissolved in almost any liquid, will carbonize when current flows through the liquid, causing shorts. Sugar-free drinks have other chemicals that will cause shorts or eat through copper. Carbonic acid, created when water is carbonized, is a weak etchant, but over enough time, it'll eat through enough copper that the board will fail. Even just carbonized de-ionized, absolutely pure water is slightly acidic.

    Anything that gets into the phone should be washed out fast. (It's like crossing a busy highway blindfolded - it might work, but you also might get killed. Just drying the phone may let it last for years, and you trade it on another phone in 6 months, so you'll never know that it would have gone bad. Or it could go bad in 2 weeks. I only gamble on sure things. Will the sun rise tomorrow morning? Sure, I'll take that bet. [If it doesn't, I won't be around to have to pay anyway.] Will my wet phone keep working if I just put it into a bag of rice? I won't try that unless I was planning on tossing the phone anyway - and the only phones I'd toss are those not worth fixing. Even a Nokia 5110 with a decent battery can be used to call 911, so I donate any working phone to battered women's shelters. And if it's already not working, I can't tell if dipping it into maple syrup would have killed it.)
    anon8380037 and Golfdriver97 like this.
    03-26-2015 11:11 PM
  22. ejcrossl's Avatar
    Will the alcohol set off the water indicators?
    03-30-2015 05:46 PM
  23. Rukbat's Avatar
    Why would it? It's not water. If it does, the indicators are defective. Humid air should set them off easier than alcohol should. (Alcohol will suck all the water out of them.)
    03-30-2015 05:49 PM
  24. yy_0160's Avatar
    I got a little water in my phone and I charged it as I didn't know with the battery.It wasn't charging although it indicated that it was charging,and after 3 hours it turned off.Now it won't turn on.Now there is no way I can save my phone?
    04-10-2015 06:15 PM
  25. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    I got a little water in my phone and I charged it as I didn't know with the battery.It wasn't charging although it indicated that it was charging,and after 3 hours it turned off.Now it won't turn on.Now there is no way I can save my phone?
    Welcome to Android Central. I am not entirely sure, but it is very likely that the phone may have shorted out. I think the only thing that can bring it back to life is replacing all the boards and the battery, but by the time you do that, it is probably just as cost effective to get a new device or use your insurance.
    04-11-2015 08:24 AM
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