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Water damaged phone? What to do if you get your phone wet

handy giff-staffer

However careful you are, it’s easy to get your phone wet. Perhaps dropping it in a puddle, or spilling water on it - ask around, you’ll be surprised at the number of people it’s happened to. 


If your phone does get wet don’t panic; follow these simple steps and act quickly.


1: Instantly remove the phone from the water; an extra second submerged, means water has more chance of getting into the phone. 


2: Do not turn your phone on. This will cause it to short circuit and cause irreparable damage. Take out the battery and SIM card, keeping it as still as possible to avoid the chance of water moving around the body.


3: If your phone has been dropped in salt water, dunk it in fresh water. You might think you want to dry your phone not get it wetter, but salt corrodes the components inside so you need to get rid of it with fresh water.  Use judgement here; the longer its been submerged in salt water, the more fresh water is needed to rinse it thoroughly.


4: Remove any excess water ideally with a soft cloth, or piece of kitchen paper. The latter is more absorbent, just make sure it doesn’t get too soggy and stick to the phone.


5: If you are at home try using a vacuum cleaner with an appropriate nozzle to remove any excess water. This will suck (rather than blow) water away, just keep it a safe distance from the phone.


6: Put the phone and battery in an airproof container and fill it with dried rice until it’s completely covered. Rice will draw out any excess water, but it needs a secure and airtight lid, a kitchen jar or tupperware box are good choice, if not use a resealable plastic bag.




7: Alternatively, pop it in a sealable bag or container with silica gel sachets - those little packets you get with new handbags and wallets.




8: If you don’t have any rice then wrap the phone in a towel, put it in a box and put it somewhere warm, but not hot. However if your phone has been totally submerged we’d suggest going out and getting some rice anyway.


9: Put the box somewhere warm for at least 24 hours or 48 hours if it’s been dropped in salt water.


10: Put back in the battery and SIM card and turn the phone on. Do not plug it into the mains. If your phone still doesn’t work put it back in the box and leave it for another 24 hours, if it’s still dead there’s a good chance it is permanently damaged and you may have to get it fixed.


Do not....


Use a hair dryer, because this blows the water further into the phone and heats the phone up.


Place it in the sun. Yes you want to warm up your phone, you don’t want it to become too hot.


Pop it in the microwave, it’s dangerous to put metal in the microwave and can damage both devices.


Put it in the freezer, because the reduction in temperature can damage the LCD screen.


Water damage and insurance.


If your phone is still under manufactures warranty (such as Apple Care) from before you joined giffgaff, you will find that unfortunately water damage is not normally covered. 


Phone manufacturers can easily tell if a phone has been damaged by water by looking at the damage indicators, these are little stickers inside the phone or attached to the battery that turn pink or red when they come into contact with water.




You can send it to them anyway, and they may be able to let you know what parts need replacing and offer to do it at a cost.


If you’ve got insurance there’s a good chance you are covered for what’s classified as ‘liquid damage’ depending on the term of your policy. Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Three and Orange all cover for liquid damage. ProtectYourBubble covers liquid damage in all policies and Insurance2Go includes liquid damage in its Lite Cover not Basic Cover.


Even if your phone has not been damaged by water, it’s well-worth considering insurance anyway - accidents can happen at any time.


Have you had experience of a water damaged phone?  Did you try the described methods, how did it go? If you have any little gems we've missed, tell us in the comments below.

giffgaff pensioner
great advise victoria
Awesome advice.. And gents no one handed phone texting whilst having a 'No 1'!! :-)

Usefull thanks.. good to know.Smiley Wink

Do you have any advice for when a data centre gets water damage?
interesting, some good facts here, would never have thought to put it in rice!
Lol run xxx

A useful article, thanks.

I'm right...

Thanks for the advice Victoria.



Iv fished my phone out of a pint of larger after it manage to do a triple tucked back flip hence its nickname tom daley, the rice defo works , nice work vic
handy giff-staffer

I've managed to knock my phone off the bed into a pint glass - good aim, if only I'd known about the rice then Smiley Sad