How to deal with a wet phone

How to deal with a wet phone
How to deal with a wet phone
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The news of catastrophic floods across Pakistan had barely subsided when a similar situation near Bangalore grabbed the headlines. A common strain observed during these natural calamities is an instinct of grabbing the handset or mobile phone first and only then moving to rescue other household goods and items. What is so important about the handheld device that its loss would be devastating and even feel unrecoverable?

When compared to their western counterparts, where the connectivity over desktops or laptops is prized over mobile phones, people in south Asia, perhaps on account of more pronounced economic disparity have a greater tendency to carry out their online businesses and other activities through mobile phones.

Given its significance, a mobile phone getting wet puts an indefinite break on day-to-day life. Replacing the existing model may not be a feasible option for most, and authorised service centres are few and sparsely located. Dubious service centres available at every nook and corner may leave a big hole in your wallet without any significant improvement in the phone's condition.

So what are the options available at hand to deal with a situation like this? Let’s check out a few, highly recommended by experts and alike.

Dry the Phone

  1. Remove water, using a dry towel or fiberless rag

Use the cloth to wipe off as much moisture as you can from your phone. The best option is an ultrafine fibre cloth if you have one. A clean towel, even a paper one, will suffice in a pinch. Be careful not to get the card slots, charging port, or headphone jack wet.

Avoid the following!

  • • Heating the phone using electrical devices such as blow drier, oven, microwave, and clothes drier.
  • • Excessively shaking the phone to prevent the water from getting inside.
  1. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the water

A regular vacuum cleaner will suffice provided you don’t leave it for too long. That is why a wet/dry vacuum cleaner stands out in this situation. You need to turn on the highest level of the vacuum cleaner and cover the area, especially around the phone’s openings with the help of the hose.

Additionally, the steps listed below could help:

  • • Using your mouth, suck the water out. This needs to be done gently and you need to exercise utmost caution so that your saliva doesn’t get over the phone. 
  • • If the phone had been in the water for a longer duration, then you may be able to hear the trapped water’s sound. You need to remove the water till that sound disappears.
  1. Use Compressed Air

An air compressor tuned to low psi (pounds per square inch) settings can be helpful to blow out any residual liquid inside the phone. If you don’t have one, then pressurised air from a can could be used to blow air in quick bursts over your phone's surface and the ports.

Be careful and avoid the high psi setting of the compressor as it might harm the inner parts and components of the phone.

Use a Desiccant or a Drying Agent

  1. Silica Gel Packets

Refurbished phone merchant Gazelle had conducted tests that revealed the superiority of silica gel packets over much popular use of rice and other drying methods. Put your phone along with the battery into a bowl, and cover it with several silica gel packets. Don’t disturb the phone for the next 48 to 72 hours, giving enough time for the gel to soak up any moisture.

Silica gel can be purchased offline or online, and need not be opened. Do remember that time is of utmost essence if you want a wet phone to be saved.

  1. Crystal Kitty Litter

Silica-based crystal cat litter rather than ones made up of materials such as clay goes a long way in taking moisture out of the air. Add a layer of crystal kitty litter to a vessel. Next, open the phone and put it on the kitty litter layer without removing the battery. The phone should not be disturbed for the next 48 to 72 hours and add the remainder of the litter to completely cover it. 

  • • Most stores, supermarkets, and even pet supply shops sell crystal cat litter.
  • • In case of failing to get the crystal litter, other desiccants, such as quick oatmeal and couscous pearls, can also be suitable alternatives.
  1. Uncooked bowl of quick rice, couscous, or oatmeal 

Pour 4 cups or roughly 900 g of rice or couscous, or oatmeal into a large bowl, then put the phone with the battery in it. If all three items are available, then pick oatmeal or couscous since they stand better in absorption than rice. All these food options aid in removing any remaining moisture from the phone.

  • • Couscous with larger beads or kernels should be used instead of the finer variety which might seep into the phone through ports. 
  • • Likewise, use plain oats rather than packets with different flavours. Above all, crystal kitty litter should be preferable over any food item. Also, the results would be much better.
  1. Leave the phone outside or under a fan

Put your phone down over a dry towel or other absorbent material while setting up a fan to blast air across the device's surface. The phone needs to stay there for 48 to 72.

  1. After two to four days, reassemble and switch on

Clean and dry up the phone before switching it on. It is crucial to wait until the phone is dry and switched on, improving the chances of a phone’s survival greatly.

  • • Remove the shell of the phone to clean the water seeping out every few minutes. Put the parts back and switch on the phone and try using it. Repeat the steps until all the water has been drained out. 
  • • Re-seal the desiccant with the phone and wait for roughly a day or two if there is no improvement. Switch it on and check again. It might be necessary to repeat this several times.

Steps to minimise water exposure

  1. Even if functioning, turn off the right away

Leaving the wet phone on risks a short circuit. Even in the scenario of being functional, unplug the cord at the outlet if the phone is underwater and plugged. There’s always a risk of receiving a shock if the phone is removed while still plugged in.

Nowadays, most of the latest models have "IP6, "ratings followed by the 7 or 8. The IP rating of a phone indicates its water resistance.

  • • Phones with an IP67 rating can withstand water for roughly 30 minutes at a time or be in water up to one metre deep.
  • • IP68 rating means that these phones can remain in the water for up to 30 minutes or at a depth of up to 1.5 metres. 

Never switch on the phone and check any apps at this stage

  1. Get rid of any additional accessories 

Place the phone and other components over some paper towels or fibreless cloths. Any component still connected to a wet phone has the potential to get damaged or to trap more water inside

  1. Carefully detach the battery and pull out the SIM

Take out the battery of your phone if there is an option, by pulling out the lid. Pull out the SIM from the phone's SIM tray. 

  • • Wipe down the SIM, memory card if attached, and the SIM tray with a piece of dry cloth or a paper towel. It has been noted that these parts can be easily saved for restoration because they rarely sustain water damage.
  • • Phones are having a water damage indicator either at the back of a battery or on it and on a SIM tray, that detects how much water has entered the phone with the aid of a pink or red dot. 

Winding Up

Your phone has a high chance of surviving the unfortunate spill if some of the methods discussed above are applied on time. However, if it stays submerged for too long, then the chances of you running out of any possibilities become bleak. Perhaps presenting a perfect moment to purchase a waterproof phone. 

Here’s where a mobile insurance policy, which is available on Bajaj MARKETS under pocket insurance plans, can be very useful. With this kind of insurance, you can enjoy various benefits like claiming accidental damage and more.

Disclaimer: This article is published in association with Bajaj MARKETS and not created by TNM Editorial.

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