How do you fix a wet phone that won’t turn on?

What to do if your phone gets wet

Getting your phone wet is a common problem that can cause serious damage if not addressed quickly. If your phone has been exposed to moisture, whether from rain, a spill or being fully submerged, the most important thing is to act fast before corrosion sets in. Here are some quick tips on what to do if your phone gets wet:

  • Remove it from the water source immediately and turn the phone off. This can help prevent short circuiting.
  • Do not try to turn it on or charge it. Attempting to power on a wet phone can cause permanent damage.
  • Dry the phone off with a clean towel or cloth. Try to absorb as much moisture as possible.
  • Do not use a hairdryer or any other heat source to dry the phone, as this can melt internal components.
  • Remove any cases, covers or accessories and dry thoroughly.
  • Use a can of compressed air to blow out any water in the ports, headphone jack, speakers etc.
  • Place the phone in a bag or container of dry rice. Rice will help absorb any residual moisture.
  • Leave the phone in rice for at least 24 hours. 48 hours or more is better for very wet phones.

Following these steps right after getting your phone wet is crucial to try and revive it. The longer moisture sits inside, the more likely it is to cause corrosion and permanent damage.

How to check a wet phone for water damage

After drying out your wet phone for at least a day, the next step is to inspect it for any water damage. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Remove the phone from the rice and wipe away any remaining grains. Look for moisture under the screen, around the camera, buttons, ports etc.
  • Check for condensation or fogging under the screen glass. This indicates water got inside.
  • Try removing the SIM card tray. Look for any water, corrosion or residue inside the SIM card slot.
  • Check if the phone makes any unusual noises when you shake it gently. Sloshing or rattling could mean water is still inside.
  • Inspect the charging port and headphone jack for any moisture or corrosion.
  • Power on the phone and test the speakers, microphones, camera, buttons etc. for faulty functioning which may indicate water damage.
  • Check for any swollen battery bulging out of the phone casing.

If upon inspection you find water ingress, corrosion or components not working properly, it’s likely the phone has sustained water damage and will need repair or replacement.

How to dry out a phone with rice

One of the most effective ways to dry out a wet phone is to submerge it in uncooked dry rice. Here are some tips on using the rice method:

  • Use uncooked white rice. Rice absorbs moisture well while being a gentler desiccant than silica gel packs.
  • Fully submerge the phone in a sealable bag or airtight container filled with rice. Ensure the phone is covered on all sides.
  • For very wet phones, repeatedly replace the rice over 2-3 days to maximize moisture absorption.
  • Check on the phone and shake the bag occasionally to move the rice around.
  • Be patient and leave the phone powered off in rice for at least 48-72 hours until completely dry.
  • When ready to remove, gently brush off any rice particles before turning on.
  • You can also use a can of compressed air to blow out any remaining grains in the ports.

Rice is inexpensive, widely available and safe for electronics. Just ensure you give the phone ample time to dry out before attempting to turn it on again.

Other drying options

In addition to rice, there are some other effective options for drying out a wet phone:

  • Silica gel packs – These moisture-absorbing packs work similarly to rice and are reusable. Ensure phones are fully surrounded.
  • Compressed air – Use short bursts to blow out liquid from ports, speakers, microphone etc. Remove all external moisture first.
  • Absorbent cloth – Dry microfiber cloths can absorb excess moisture. Avoid scrubbing the screen.
  • Sunlight – Warm dry sunlight can help evaporate moisture. Take care to avoid overheating the device.
  • A fan – Use a fan to circulate the air. The airflow will help moisture evaporate.

Avoid other heat sources like hairdryers or ovens which may overheat and damage the phone’s components. The goal is controlled drying to draw moisture away gently but thoroughly.

How to turn on a phone after water exposure

After thoroughly drying out your phone, the big moment comes when you attempt to switch it on. Follow these precautions:

  • Make sure all moisture has evaporated before powering on. No sloshing or wetness.
  • Reinsert the SIM card but leave the phone unplugged from any charger or cable.
  • Press and hold the Power button to turn it on without connecting charge.
  • If the phone turns on, leave it running on battery power only for a while to check it is functioning normally before charging.
  • If it fails to power on, repeat drying and inspection before attempting to turn on again.
  • Even if the phone powers on, it’s a good idea to continue drying for several hours to avoid any leftover moisture shorting the motherboard.

Take it slow at first. If the phone shows signs of functioning normally without charge, the internal components likely avoided permanent water damage.

How to fix water damaged phones

If turning on your phone reveals issues like flickering display, unresponsive buttons, faulty microphone or speaker, it likely sustained water damage internally. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Open the phone and inspect for corrosion on the logic board and connectors. Check for visible melt marks, mineral deposits or white chalky residue.
  • Clean corrosion off the logic board gently using 90% isopropyl alcohol and a soft brush. Ensure no fibres are left behind.
  • Use an air duster to blow out any leftover moisture in crevices and connectors.
  • Inspect ribbon cables for signs of damage. Replace any corroded cables.
  • Check the battery contacts for rust or corrosion. Clean with isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs.
  • If the ports are damaged, replace USB charging port and headphone jack.

For optimal results, take your water damaged phone to a professional phone repair shop. They have specialized tools and expertise to fully revive phones using techniques like:

  • Ultrasonic cleaning – High frequency sound waves dissolve deposits and clean interior phone components.
  • Reflow soldering – This resolders and reforms loose solder joints on the logic board.
  • Water damage stickers – These indicate the extent of liquid exposure with color-changing tabs.
  • Moisture detectors – These detect exactly where moisture penetrated the phone.

With professional phone revival services, there is a good chance of salvaging even badly waterlogged phones.

Water damage repair cost

The cost to repair a water damaged phone can range from $50 to $500+ depending on the extent of the damage:

  • Minor cleaning and troubleshooting – $50-$100
  • Charging port or headphone jack replacement – $100-$150
  • Screen or battery replacement – $100-$200
  • Motherboard level soldering and component replacement – $200-$350
  • Completely rebuilding phone with new logic board – $300-$500+

Here are some factors that affect water damage repair costs:

  • Level of water exposure – Partial splash vs complete submersion
  • Speed of drying out – Faster is better to prevent corrosion
  • Phone model – More complex construction is pricier to take apart and rebuild
  • Access to repair parts – Common phones like iPhones have readily available components
  • Diagnostics needed – Extensive troubleshooting bumps up costs
  • Data recovery – This can add $100-$300 to repair costs if needed

While not cheap, professional phone revival services are often worth the investment given the costs of replacing entire water damaged phones.

How to keep phones dry and waterproof

Here are some good practices to keep your phone dry and prevent water damage in the future:

  • Use a protective case or pouch made of waterproof material when going out in the rain or near water.
  • Never use phones near sinks, bathtubs or pools where they can easily get splashed.
  • Turn off phones and remove from hand before washing hands or doing dishes.
  • Take extra care at the beach or on boats. Keep phones safely zipped in waterproof bags.
  • Invest in a waterproof phone if you regularly snorkel or spend time poolside.
  • Avoid placing phones in loose pockets where they can fall into water.
  • Back up data regularly so it can be restored if water damage occurs.
  • Consider water damage insurance offered by carriers or phone brands.

While accidents happen, following best practices can dramatically reduce the chances of your phone taking an unexpected soak or splash.

Can you fix a phone after water damage?

In many cases, yes, water damaged phones can be revived:

– If dried out quickly, phones may escape permanent water damage, especially if moisture didn’t penetrate internally.

– Water damage is often repairable with professional cleaning, troubleshooting and component-level repair.

– As long as the main logic board is intact, damaged ports, connectors and cables can be replaced to restore phone functioning.

– Data recovery is also often possible from water damaged phones even if other components are faulty.

– Completely dead phones may need extensive rebuilding but specialized repair shops have the tools and expertise to replace any damaged parts.

With prompt drying and access to professional phone repair services, there is a good chance of salvaging phones after most types of water exposure. The less time moisture sits inside, the greater the likelihood of success.


Getting a phone wet can definitely cause problems but doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your device. By quickly drying it out with rice or other desiccants and taking it for professional water damage repair, there are very good chances your phone can be revived. Just be sure to take immediate action at the first sign of water exposure and avoid attempting to charge or turn on the phone before it has fully dried out. With some care and patience, you can recover from a wet phone mishap and save the hassle and expense of having to purchase a costly replacement.