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Can rice really save your wet smartphone?

Can rice really save your wet smartphone?

putting a wet smartphone on rice is not the solution

Putting a wet smartphone on rice is an age-old technique. A lot of people claim that it actually works. After all, rice absorbs water. So, it should be able to absorb the water out of a wet smartphone, right? Well… yes, and no. Sure, rice absorbs water for sure. However, it is not effective in saving a drowned smartphone. 

The main reason behind this revolves around rice having a very low moisture capacity. Aside from that, you need a huge amount of it to create any significant effect in keeping out moisture.

While it can absorb water, rice remains the least absorbent. Gazelle proves this in an informal test. Gazelle proves this in an informal test. Uncooked rice ranked the lowest against cat litter, couscous, oatmeal, instant rice, and silica gel. 

Saving your wet smartphone with uncooked rice: where did the method come from?

In 1946, Popular Photography wrote an issue about rice, tea, and brown paper being a substitute for silica in keeping exposed film dry. The correlation also comes from that since rice can absorb water. Then, it should be able to absorb water in a wet smartphone as well. 

However, people only think that the rice method works because they got lucky. Wrapping your wet smartphone in a towel or letting it sit by the window have as much probability of working.

The thing with the rice method refers to looking like the rice helped because the smartphone managed to dry out safely. It could also revive while it was submerged in rice. The reality settles that sometimes rice just does not do much to help at all.

So, what should you do in case you accidentally drop your phone in the water?

Definitely, do not put it in rice.

putting a wet smartphone on rice does not help
Photo from Pinterest

Aside from being ineffective in drawing out water from a wet smartphone, chucking your phone in a rice container with the hope of saving it might just cause more damage. When you submerge your phone in rice, your smartphone will likely get scratches.

Rice can also get stuck inside the headphone jack or the charging port. Dust can also get into the various ports of your phone and eventually into the internals of the smartphone. The introduction of starch to the circuitry will also aid and accelerate the corrosion process of the internals.

Do this instead:

There are quite a few techniques for saving a wet smartphone without using rice. One famous method includes displacing the water in your phone using 90%+ isopropyl alcohol. This can also prevent any short circuit from happening. But, then, again, the rubbing alcohol can also damage the adhesives inside the phone. So, it still won’t be a 100% safe bet.

Instead, you shouldn’t panic and take your phone out of the water as fast as you can. The longer it stays submerged, the fewer chances of survival it has. Then, proceed to turn off the device and remove anything you can from the wet smartphone.

This includes the case, sim-tray, or even the battery if you can still do that on your smartphone. This makes it so that the water won’t stay trapped inside. Then, you can drain as much water as you can out of the smartphone.

Wiping and drying out a wet smartphone is better than putting it on rice
Photo from Pexels

The next thing you should do is to get a microfiber towel and dry your phone as best as you can. Then you can proceed to air dry or dry out your wet smartphone so, find a well-ventilated place with good air movement. You can also enlist the help of a clean fan.

When drying out your wet smartphone, be sure to prop up the device at an angle. The speaker and ports should be facing down to prevent the water from pooling inside. You may also put a towel under the smartphone to absorb the water that will drain out.

Resist the urge to power up your smartphone and give it at least 24 to 48 hours to dry out. If you are lucky then your smartphone should revive. That is the time for you to test out any damage that your phone retained.

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When drying out a wet smartphone, there are things that you should never do:

Don’t ever use a hairdryer or charge your phone. Heat will damage the electronics inside the phone. Plugging the wet smartphone into a wall charger will cause a short circuit that will effectively damage or kill your smartphone. Blowing air inside the phone will only push the water further inside the phone. Shaking the wet smartphone and pressing the buttons repeatedly will also cause water to make its way further into the device. 

Your best bet at saving your phone is to follow the steps we mentioned and just let it air dry. Apple supports this. According to Apple, you should just leave your wet phone in a dry area and let airflow do its job in removing the moisture from the phone. 

Here’s the thing with wet smartphones…

A wet smartphone
Photo from Pexels

Wet smartphones are never the same after being revived. Maybe not terminal, but there will be some degree of water damage inside the smartphone. That water will likely cause problems in the future. Corrosion happens in an instant once the smartphone’s internals makes contact with water. And, this happens faster when there is starch from rice or if saltwater is involved.

If you accidentally submerged your phone in water for a long period of time, expect your phone to fail gradually. It might probably become unresponsive or have a major failure in the very near future. To save yourself from having to deal with the headache caused by a wet smartphone, take extra precautions when using your device near water. It is also a good idea to buy a phone with water resistance, preferably one with an IP67 or IP68 water resistance.

Should you find yourself in a situation where your smartphone ends up under the water, remain calm and hope for the best as you try to follow the steps we shared. And save your rice for dinner, It’s for you to cook and eat, it is not for your smartphone.

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