If you’ve ever accidentally dropped your smartphone into water or any other liquid, you’ve probably heard that the best thing to do is put it in a bag of raw rice. However, this well-known method is no longer considered the best option for repairing a water-damaged phone. In this article, we will examine why this rice myth persists and what are the effective alternatives to save your smartphone.
The limits of raw rice grains to dry a phone
The popularity of the rice technique is based on the idea that raw rice grains have absorbent properties that will help remove moisture from the phone. Although rice can indeed absorb some moisture, it has several drawbacks when it comes to completely drying out an electronic device:
- Rice is not absorbent enough: Rice grains can have a hard time absorbing all the water inside a phone, especially if the phone has been submerged for a long time.
- Debris Hazard: By putting your phone in a bag of rice, you also risk introducing fine particles of rice inside the device, which can cause blockages or short circuits.
- The time needed to dry: Leaving a phone in rice for 24-48 hours may not be enough to remove all the moisture inside, leaving the risk of corrosion or electrical damage.
Because of these limitations, it’s clear that rice isn’t the magic bullet to save your wet smartphone.
The alternatives to dry and repair a water damaged phone
Luckily, there are more effective methods to attempt to salvage a water-damaged smartphone. Here are some options to explore:
Turn off the device immediately and remove the battery if possible
The crucial first step to minimizing water damage is to immediately turn off your phone and remove the battery if possible. This will reduce the risk of short circuits and electrical damage.
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove excess water
If you have access to a vacuum, use it to suck as much water out of your phone as possible. This method is more effective than rice because it quickly removes a large amount of water without introducing additional debris inside the device.
Dry the phone with an absorbent material
After removing as much water as possible with a vacuum, wrap your phone in an absorbent material, such as a paper towel or soft cloth. Allow it to dry for several hours, or even overnight, to remove as much moisture as possible.
Use more effective desiccants than rice
Instead of resorting to rice, opt for stronger desiccants such as:
- Silica gel: These small sachets contain silica gel beads which are much more effective at absorbing moisture than raw rice grains. You can use salvaged sachets from other products or purchase ones specifically for this use.
- Cat sand: Silica-based cat sand is also very absorbent and can be used as an alternative to rice. Just be sure to wrap your phone in a clean piece of cloth before placing it in the sand to prevent particles from entering the device.
When to consult a smartphone repairer?
Even if you have followed all the recommended steps to dry and clean your phone after contact with water, internal damage may remain. If your phone does not work properly after trying these drying methods, it is best to consult a professional smartphone repairer. They will be able to assess the extent of the damage and offer you appropriate solutions to restore your device to working order.
In sum, although the raw rice technique is widely used, it is no longer considered the best option for drying a wet phone. More effective alternatives exist, such as using a vacuum cleaner or more efficient desiccants. Do not hesitate to consult a professional if you have any doubts about the condition of your smartphone after an incident with water.