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How to Get Water Out of Your Phone: 3 Methods

a cell phone and spilled glass of water on a table

Consider this nightmare scenario. You can't find your cell phone. It's not in your pockets, bag, or the usual spots in your home.

Meanwhile, the spin cycle of your washing machine lurches to a stop. Is it your imagination, or does it sound like something is stuck in the agitator? Sure enough, your  phone is in there, completely waterlogged from having gone through a full wash cycle. And, of course, the screen is blank.

Your cell phone is wet. Now what?

It could happen to anyone. Phones find their way into washing machines, swimming pools, kitchen sinks, and even toilets (yuck). Luckily, if you take immediate action, there's still a chance of saving your phone. Just follow these steps to get water out of your phone.

And if all else fails, our free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder below can help you find the best phone deals on a new phone.

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How to Get Water Out of Your Phone: Key Considerations

Here are the basic steps to get water out of your phone.

  1. If your cell phone gets seriously wet, step one is to turn it off immediately. Wet components can short-circuit and cause irreparable damage.
  2. Dry the phone completely with a soft cloth. 
  3. Next, move the phone to a dry area with plenty of ventilation.
  4. We know it’s tempting, but whatever you do, resist the urge to plug it into anything. Again, you don't want energized circuits getting fried.
  5. Remove any attached headphones, the phone case, and removable internal components, including the SIM card.
  6. Finally, gently tap your phone to dislodge water droplets from the ports. This will help it dry faster.

Remember that fully drying your cell phone can take hours—or even days—so patience is definitely a virtue in this situation. While we understand you might be dying to turn your phone back on and check your notifications, you should wait at least 24 hours, and ideally a full 48 hours before switching it back on. 

Remove Water From Your Phone With These Methods

You may be able to speed up the drying process with some additional steps. The best method, hands down, is the air-dry method – it’s manufacturer-approved and the safest, most effective way to remove water from your phone.

We’ll also cover two popular alternative methods to get water out of your phone – the famous rice trick as well as using desiccants. Note that these have been demonstrated to be less effective at getting water out of your phone, and aren’t recommended by phone manufacturers, so pursue those options at your own risk. 

The Air-Dry Method

​​The air-dry method is simple but effective, and only requires you to put your phone in a well-ventilated place with airflow and wait.

Here is a step-by-step process to get water out of your phone with this method:

  • Remove the phone from the water immediately, turn it off, and use a soft, lint-free cloth to dry it. 
  • Tap the phone gently with the charging port facing downwards to remove excess water.
  • Put the phone in a dry area with good air circulation and wait.
  • Pointing a fan at the phone's charging port might help the process. (But don't use a hair dryer as heated or compressed air can cause further damage.)

Air drying might not feel as effective, but research shows it’s faster and safer than other methods. 

The Rice Method

We want to quickly address the rice method if only to warn you against it. 

The rice method is considered an oldie but goldie by some diehard adherents. Unfortunately, Samsung and Apple advise against putting your phone in rice, as it could cause more problems by getting grains stuck in the charging port. Plus, some research has shown that it doesn't work. Sealing a phone in a bag of uncooked rice actually dries it out more slowly than the air-dry method.

Given the research and manufacturer advice on the rice method, our advice is: don't do it. Instead, follow the steps to get water from your phone without rice, which we detailed above.

The Desiccant Method (AKA How to Get Water Out of Your Phone Without Rice)

You may be wondering, what is a desiccant? You know those little packets found in the packaging of new purchases? That’s an example of what we’re talking about here. Desiccants are substances that absorb excess water and help keep things dry.

This method is safer than rice, but still not as effective as the air-dry method. If you're really set on trying it though, the best – and really, only — desiccant to use is silica gel. You can find typically packets of silica gel in boxes of new electronics, food, and other consumer items that manufacturers want to keep free of water damage. You can also order them online. In a pinch, you may even be able to find them at your local hardware store.

If kept in its packaging, silica gel avoids the dangers of the rice method by keeping potentially harmful substances contained. It functions the way rice is supposed to – by absorbing water from inside your phone. Note that the silica method still is slower than the air-dry method, so again, our recommendation is to use the manufacturer-approved process we detailed above.

However, if you are truly committed to the silica method, here’s how you do it:

  • You'll need an airtight container so the silica doesn't just absorb moisture from the air but from your phone. 
  • Place your phone and silica gel packets in the container. And, again, wait.

How to Get Water Out of Your Phone Speaker

What if you notice the sound coming out of your phone is garbled? If your phone has recently taken a dip, there might be water in your speakers. To get water out of a phone speaker after total or partial submersion, try these additional steps:

  • Go to a water ejection website like Fix My Speakers or use a water ejection app. These services use sound waves to drive water out of your speakers (pretty cool, right?).
  • Try a vacuum cleaner on the lowest possible setting to suck water out of the opening.

How to Get Water Out of Your Phone Charging Port

What about a wet charging port? Here's the process you should follow to get water out of your charging port:

  • Heed any warnings your phone may give you about possible water in the charge port, and follow the directions.
  • Gently tap your phone, with the charger port facing down, against a surface. 
  • Leave it to air-dry following the steps we detailed above.
  • Warning: Avoid inserting anything in the charge port, such as paper towels or cotton swabs, as this can damage the pins on the internal connector.

IP Ratings of Modern Smartphones 

You might be wondering if all this hassle is really necessary since modern smartphones tend to be water-resistant. This is true to some extent – today’s smartphones are far more resilient to water damage than those of a few years ago. If you’ve recently shopped for a new phone, you may have noticed gadgets boasting about the IP rating, which is short for the ingress protection (IP) rating. A gadget's IP rating measures its resistance to dust and water.

What does the IP rating indicate, exactly? The first number in a two-digit rating refers to dust resistance. The second number describes water resistance. Higher numbers are better. A high IP rating won't make your phone bulletproof, but it's a good safety net against the inevitable fumbles or occasional absent-mindedness. 

Popular new smartphones with high IP ratings include the Samsung Galaxy S24, the Apple iPhone 15, and the Google Pixel 8. For example, the Samsung Galaxy 24 has an IP rating of IP68, which means the dust rating is 6 (highest level of protection), and the water resistance rating is 8, indicating the phone is water resistant up to 5 feet for up to 30 minutes. If you have a phone with this IP rating, an accidental drop in the sink or a surprise rain shower is unlikely to kill your phone. 

There's no such thing as a truly waterproof phone because of its speakers, microphones, and other openings. Future phones could eliminate charging ports, increasing water resistance with wireless-only charging, but they are still just talk.

The Bottom Line

Water doesn't have to mean the death of your smartphone. These steps can keep it functional even after taking a dunk.

But if your mobile is truly a goner even after following our guide on how to get water out of your phone, our unbiased Phone Deal Finder can help you find and compare the best deals on a new cell phone.

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