Wet Cellphone? There Are Alternatives to the Rice ‘Fix’

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If you’ve ever dropped your cellphone in a lake, a bathtub or even a toilet, you’re not alone. According to TekDry, more than 22 million Americans give their phone an accidental bath each year. But can you save your soggy phone?

TekDry, a Denver-based startup, says it can fix wet cellphones and many other electronic devices (including laptops and tablets) in just 20 minutes – no rice required.

In fact, TekDry co-founder Craig Beinecke doesn’t have much regard for that old standby, placing the waterlogged phone in a bag of rice, according to The Associated Press.

“Our biggest competitor is rice,” Beinecke said. “It’s no joke. The Internet has spawned that as your only hope.”

The problem is, putting your phone in rice is even less effective than just leaving it on the counter to air-dry, according to a recent test commissioned by Beinecke and his co-founders, Adam Cookson and Eric Jones. And because the drying is slow and usually incomplete, the water inside has more time to cause corrosion and other damage.

TekDry also said using a blow-dryer to attempt to dry your phone is a no-go. “It actually pushes the water in and creates a worse outcome,” Natalie Dunn, TekDry’s manager of sales and business development, told the AP.

Electronics experts agree that you need to quickly turn off the phone, remove the battery and SIM card if you can, and leave the wet phone off (don’t try to turn it on or charge it) if you want the best shot at restoring it.

After that, you can pack it up and send it to TekDry in Denver if you choose. The AP explains how the TekDry process works:

The patented TekDry process uses a combination of negative pressure (a vacuum) and low heat to draw water out of a device. Sensors on the machine keep track of the humidity in the drying chamber.

TekDry charges $69.99 to repair a wet cellphone, $149.99 for a tablet and $249.99 for a computer. If the company can’t fix it, you won’t be charged anything.

Another option is DryBox Rescue, which rapidly extracts water from your phone. According to its website, DryBox is available in several locations across the U.S. The service usually costs between $20 and $50 and works in 30 minutes. It’s one of the options mentioned in this post on Wired.

If you have a wet phone and you’re low on cash, CNET said one of the cheapest and most effective DIY repairs uses moisture-absorbing silica gel packets, like those found in boxes of new shoes or beef jerky. You can also buy them online.

I’ve dropped my phone in a toilet and in a lake. Fortunately, I retrieved my phone quickly both times, so I didn’t have any issues with it working afterward. My husband took his cellphone for a swim in the lake a few years back, and it didn’t make it (and we did try the rice fix).

Have you accidentally given your cellphone a bath? How did you fix it? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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