Last Updated on September 26, 2020
Nowadays, almost every new flagship smartphone is water-proof, with many other cheaper models being water-resistant. These two terms have two completely different meanings. Being water-proof means that the product is impervious to water.
On the other hand, being water-resistant means that the product is able to resist water penetration… to a certain degree.
With that being said, using a water-resistant smartphone to take pictures underwater is most likely an awful idea. But it will probably be just fine if you use it for brief moments while standing in the rain.
Smartphones are the electronic equipment most prone to be involved in water accidents because we use them everywhere at all times (we even take them to the toilet – it would be fun to know how many smartphones sink into the toilet every year on average), but that doesn’t mean that accidents won’t happen to any of your other devices.
In this article, we will teach you how to act in case one of your electronic devices becomes waterlogged. Knowing what to do and doing it quickly can be decisive in preventing irreparable damage to your device!
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1. Shut it off
As soon as you realize that your electronic has come into contact with dangerous amounts of water (or any other liquid for that matter), quickly pick it up and shut it down if it is still on – if it automatically turns off, don’t try to turn it on to check if it’s still working. Please. This is valid for every piece of equipment with an electronic circuit and is the best way to avoid permanent damage from a short circuit.
In electronic devices that you can shut down via a physical button – such as computer peripherals, for example –, unplug the cable from the source they are connected to.
2. Take the battery out
After turning it off, remove the battery and place it on paper towels. Almost all modern smartphones have non-removable lithium-ion batteries, so you might need a screwdriver to remove the cover and access the battery.
Don’t worry, this is a very simple procedure and there are dozens of tutorials available on Youtube – just search your specific smartphone model or read the manual if you still have it.
Usually, there is a water damage indicator in the battery compartment: a small white square or circle that turns red when it comes in contact with water. However, it is possible that your battery is functional even if the indicator points to the contrary. Don’t lose hope just yet.
If you have an iPhone, we have both good and bad news. The bad news is that you might need specific tools to access its interior and remove the battery, but unless it is an old model (like an iPhone 7 or older), you shouldn’t worry as they are water-proof – and that’s the good news.
3. Disassemble it as much as you possibly can
Don’t forget to remove the protective cover, the SIM card, the micro SD card, and the screen protector! You should also leave all of the device’s crevices exposed to the open air, so don’t bother closing them after removing the cards.
Even if your smartphone or laptop is broken, there’s a good chance you can still use your SIM card and access the data on your micro SD card, so not all is lost.
4. Rinse it
This step might sound like something that can destroy your electronics, but this might actually save them. If you spill anything other than clean water (beer, soda, coffee, etc.) you should absolutely carefully rinse it off.
These liquids that we have mentioned contain substances that can permanently damage your device, so it is important not to give them time to corrode the internal electronic components and dry out. Do it as fast as you possibly can!
5. Dry it properly
Drying out wet electronics requires a lot of time and patience. And unlike what you might think, burying them in a large bowl of uncooked rice is not the most effective technique.
Instead, use a can of compressed air to remove the excess of water from the different parts (be extremely careful not to use too much pressure) and gather the silica gel packets you probably have collected in a drawer somewhere.
Place all of those in a container over the electronic device’s parts and let them sit for at least 48 hours. Silica gel packets are much more effective in absorbing water because of their high porosity.
6. Wait and pray
After those initial 48 hours, place everything on top of a dry towel and leave it in a room with the windows opened for another day. In the meantime, you can start praying to the tech gods.
Finally, 72 hours after the incident (you can wait one more day just to be 200% sure everything is properly dry), it is time to find out if your electronic device survived. Wipe the dust away and start assembling everything. Cross your fingers and power it on.
We have focused on your smartphone and computer because they are valuable assets that store precious information such as photos and files. Most people also need them for work-related tasks. And they are expensive! These are also the reasons why you should avoid bad habits that can damage them irreversibly.
Accidents with liquids can happen, sure. But one of the most common mistakes that might kill both these devices is related to how people clean their screens. You would be surprised by the number of people that use household cleaning products, alcohol, and other evasive substances to clean smartphone screens, TVs, and laptop screens.
The best way to clean a screen is by using a plain simple microfiber cloth. Period. If your device is really dirty and you want something more effective, you can use a cleaning kit specially designed for that purpose: there are dozens of options in the market for as cheap as 7$.