Tips & Tricks

Spilled Water On Your Phone? Rice To The Rescue!


b3dispatch11About 10 minutes ago my friend posted an explicative riddled Facebook status about spilling a glass of water on his BlackBerry. About 9 minutes ago I got a “Tip This” submission from AndroidForums about a solution for those who spill water on their phone – or even drop it fully submerged into a sink or toilet:

Remove the battery cover, battery, and SD Card and submerge the Eris in a bowl of uncooked white rice for a day. The rice will absorb all the moisture and it should work fine. Do not use a hair dryer to dry it, as you will damage the circuitry.

Urban legend? Maybe not… several AFers including the OP (gridbug) reported that this worked wonders for them:

UPDATE: These tears you see are tears of joy. The uncooked rice treatment resurrected my Droid Eris from its accidental soaking. Battery is good, all system settings are intact, volume rockers operational, controls are responsive, headphone jack still good. Extra special thanks to Mahatma brand rice… best 1.50 I ever spent!

Initially I recommended my friend use a hair dryer (but not too close) but others in the thread say this can affect the phone’s circuitry. Another member suggested that putting your phone in the freezer can work although I’m most skeptical about this one.

Have you tried any of these solutions to your water submerged phone? Did they work?

[Via AndroidForums, Thanks Gridbug!]

Remove the battery cover, battery, and SD Card and submerge the Eris in a bowl of uncooked white rice for a day. The rice will absorb all the moisture and it should work fine. Do not use a hair dryer to dry it, as you will damage the circuitry.
Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. The problem with water damage is that it usually is ok for a while, but then the residual water starts to corrode the circuitry and days, weeks or months later, you get system failure.

    Hopefully the rice gets it ALL out.

    Another very effective way is to go to Wal-Mart’s sandal or show aisle and get as many silicate gel packs as you can find and put your phone in a container sealed with a ton of them. They will remove all of the moisture from your phone, I bet.

  2. Raw rice doesn’t absorb moisture like that. If it did, you could cook rice by leaving it out in a humid room.

    The phone dried out on its own, luckily.

  3. this is some old news. my family has been doing this for years

  4. You can buy containers of that silica stuff in the crafts aisle as well. People use it to dry out flowers and such. Plus, it’s reusable!

    Unfortunately, this probably won’t cause the water damage indicator sticker in your battery compartment to go back to normal, so you’re still SOL if you want to make a warranty claim for it later.

  5. I’ve had at least 4-5 friends use the rice trick within the past year and all said it worked perfectly!

  6. Blackberry in rice, maybe throw a little curry and steamed broccoli in there, I like the sweet and savory…

    Hopefully I will never have to attempt this little trick.

  7. I have saved several phones by taking the battery cover and battery out and putting the whole thing in the return air plenum of my central air conditioning unit. Leave it for about 2 days and it will dehumidify everything and work like new.

  8. I saw this same tip on Lifehacker a couple of years back.

    Luckily I haven’t had to test the theory out yet.

  9. Rice works. G1 completely submerged to the point of powering off, bowl of uncooked rice for 24 hours (phone separated as much as possible, but no unscrewing), did exactly as advertised. This happened last August it’s still working 100% today. Of course the water indicators are blown out (no more warranty), but it works (and it’s almost 18 mos old anyway).

  10. this does work!…i dropped my droid eris in the toilet so i put it in rice for about 2 days and it didn’t work so i just thought it was broken but then i checked it like a week later just for the heck of it and it worked perfectly

  11. Lifehacker did an article on this back in December. Thankfully I haven’t had the need to try it yet.

  12. @ Keith
    Raw rice does absorb moisture, but it won’t make the rice more moist then the air around it. The reason you can’t cook rice in a humid room is because there is no way the room would be humid enough to bring the moisture level of the rice up to the level necessary to cook it. Unless the room was a really intense steam room. Then you would have steamed rice.

  13. I’ve done worse. Submerged G1 in salt water for about 15 seconds. After about 3 weeks in a box with a cup of rice in the fridge (I was told the low humidity section of the fridge was good) and it’s… well, not good as new. There are brighter speckles and patches on the screen and the external speaker works intermittently (I opened up to check and this is because the speaker/pcb contact, which is some sort of fine steel wool, has rusted away) but otherwise it works.

  14. @Keith
    “Raw” rice has had all it’s moisture removed in a drying process to prepare it for shipment and long term storage. In it’s state as purchased in the store it is hygroscopic (i.e moisture absorbing for everyone that did not take thermodynamic).
    If you were to leave rice on a kitchen counter on a humid day it would absorb ambient moisture until equilibrium is reached. At room temperature this is a very slow process. Increasing moisture levels (i.e. submerging in water) and increasing ambient energy levels (i.e. boiling said water) will speed up the process. The high heat of boiling allows the rice to become super-saturated with moisture, leaving rice out in ambient air will never get it as soft as cooking it but the rice will try to reach equilibrium with the air (i.e. same amount of moisture % in the air and rice). This equilibrium is also why cooked saturated rice will eventually dry out.
    In a nut shell, if something will absorb boiling water it will also absorb ambient moisture too…it would just take longer because the amount of moisture is less and the energy involved is lower.
    I have never tried the cell phone trick myself but in theory it should work, but the silica packets should work better because they are more absorbent then the rice. Just $0.02 from a bored mechanical engineer.

  15. sorry “Hydroscopic”…damn spellcheck

  16. It does work, but there are catches.

    First the water indicators are still going to show so no way of hidding that.

    Second you have to take the battery out ASAP so that the chance of shorting something is reduced.

    Third Leave it open and totally submerge it in the rice for a lot longer than a day to ensure that all the water is gone.

    Shake the rice out of any nooks and crannies. You dont want that rattle.

    There is always a chance that the circuits will corode if all the moisture is not taken out.

    Longer the better.

    I have saved 3 phones 2 of my daughters and one of a friends with this method.

    Off topic but just as old wives tale-ish

    When you have sugar or brown sugar that is hard as a brick from being in the cabinet too long,just put it in a ziplock bag with a piece of white bread. After a few days the sugar will be soft loose crystals and the bread will be the brick.

    Works the reverse of the rice trick. For sugar only

  17. Yep, it works. I took a Moto RAZR into a hot tub a couple of years back. I took the battery out, left it in a bowl of rice for 24 hours, and it was fine for quite some time after that.

    Like others have said, the indicator stickers will show that it’s been in water, but other than that I had no problems using that phone for another 16 months until I got my G1.

  18. just did this with my ipod (put it through the wash) I let it sit for a week though. Going back to the person that said you could cook rice in a really humid room…you can, you just have to wait a really long time…but who wants to wait that long for rice ;)

  19. if my cookies get hard, I put some white bread in there. and if you leave too much bread/too long, the cookies end up almost getting soggy….

  20. Rice trick absolutely works. I’ve used it several times on my video camera, on my Data Access card (that my wife washed with my jeans), and it worked perfectly. Rice will absorb water. Another tip is dip your wet device in rubbing alcohol. If water doesn’t dry fast enough you may get some rusting going and it will damage your device. Alcohol will remove that water.

  21. yup salt is often used in the restaurant business in salt container to keep the salt from clumping.

  22. It works by the process of equalization.

    Dry absorbs moist until both things are the same level.

    There is not enough moisture in a device that has been dropped into water to equal out. Thus the dry rice totally absorbs the moisture over time.

  23. I can attest to how effective this can be. My girlfriend’s Q9c took a dive into the toilet and was very stubborn about starting up (when it did, the speakers produced a frightening noise). I removed the case, battery cover, battery and SD card and placed it face-down on a paper towel in a sandwich container. I covered the phone in rice and put it in the fridge (the fridge will de-humidify the insides of the phone and pull the moisture into the rice) for about 24 hours, and there haven’t been any problems in the 18 months since then.

  24. Here in Florida, you will see the salt shakers in restaurants have dry rice added into them to absorb moisture and keep the salt from caking up.

  25. A faster method is a jerky/food dehydrator. If you don’t have one just ask someone who deer hunts and most likely they will have one. The phone/device should be dry in a couple hours. The dehydrators with adjustable temperatures are the safest because you can turn the temperature down below 100 deg.

  26. The most overlooked problem with the rice trick is that there is no control phone. If you place the phone in rice and a few days later it’s dry and works, you have no idea if the same exact phone would have worked if left on the counter for the same amount of time.

  27. I’m not sure the rice makes a difference or not. I resurrected a camera dropped in a river that wouldn’t even turn on, by soaking it in filtered water for a few hours to get the salt out. Then after letting it air dry for 24 hours it works like new.

  28. if you put it in the freezer and take it back out to room temp., moisture will condense within the device.


    Am a Verizon Wireless dealer , And I repair phones for a living . to truely fix a watered down phone , you have to take it down to board level and clean it with a contact cleaner ( Blowoff is the brand we use ) and scrub the board with a brush . The problem is not really the water but the sugar or hard minerals in the water. This rice thing is not new it has been around as long as cell phones and is nothing but a joke to a real repair person .

  30. @ HOSS789

    The correct term was hygroscopic. I had to look it up because I thought it would be hydro, but you were correct the first time.

    @ everyone else

    Continue with your ricey banter….

  31. The rice trick definitely does work.I dropped my phone in the toilet a few years back and thought it was toast but a friend informed me of the rice method and in a couple days everything worked perfectly again. Not saying it’s gonna work every time but I have witnessed it for myself.

  32. My friend’s dad dropped his cellphone in a river once (~3 feet of water), and placed it in a food dehydrator with little or no heat overnight. Apparently that works.

  33. I’m really surprised no one has mentioned this yet. The rice, heat sources, gel packs, all revolve on one thing. Getting the electronic item dry as fast as possible. The problem with this, and even the rice, is that the water is pulled/evaporated from the device, but any impurities in the water (salt, dirt, minerals, etc) are left behind which can still cause problems (either right away or later down the road). The best method for getting the water out of your electronic device, and fast, is to put it in bag with the highest percent rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol you can find. You can also poor it over the device but you’ll end up using a lot more. The alcohol then rinses/displaces the water (and its impurities) and when the device is pulled from the bag and left to dry, all that is liquid that is left is the alcohol which quickly evaporates and leaves your phone dry and free of impurities. Most rubbing alcohol comes in ~70% but if you look for it at places like Walgreens you can sometimes find up to 91%. The higher alcohol the better. I’ve used this method for years on electronic devices including cleaning things like the Mass Air Flow Sensor in my car. There is no cheaper and effective method than alcohol.

  34. Also forgot to mention a couple things. Best to remove the battery, rinse it also with alcohol and dry it. When in the bag, shake vigorously, in order to get the alchohol in all parts of the device and moving in and out of the device, thereby rinsing away the water/impurities

  35. Rice didn’t work for my old V3m but a couple of days on the dash of my truck in the sun did. BTW, replacement moisture indicators are available for many phones on ebay. ;)

  36. Lol, this article is stupid. For years I have done this without Rice. You just take off all of the pieces you can and the water will dry out. No rice needed.

    @Todd, every time I buy a phone I put a small piece of scotch tape on the moisture indicator stickers. The scotch tape will keep the water out. If you do drop it in water, remove the scotch tape and send in the phone. Proven to work.

  37. If rice could absorb water like this at room temperature, it would cook while sitting on the shelf. The only real part about this is leaving the circuits with no power until the moisture dries. as long as there is no power going through the phone nothing can fry so if you pull the battery quick enough it’s just a waiting game.

  38. My phone landed in the washing machine and then the drier. It stopped working.
    CAN I NOW PUT IT IN RICE (and get it to work again)?

  39. Shoulda just used a Sham-Wow!

  40. Generally, the rice or silica plus warming things up will help dry things more quickly and thoroughly. It’s an old paint and glue drying trick. A 75 or 100 watt light bulb shined close (but not too close) to the object in the rice container will also speed things up and encourage any bigger drops of water inside to evaporate more quickly. It’s a poor man’s dehydrator. This should keep it under 110 deg or so. Say, overnight. I often use one of those clamp on desk lamps with the spring loaded arms. Actually just the light warming it up will also dry it out.

    The fridge, like the freezer, will dry things, but makes everything cold, so when you pull it out, just like a can of Coke, the cold surfaces will attract condensation from your room air, working against you.

    None of these tricks is guaranteed to always work. On a cell phone, maybe so, but I had an SLR dig. camera that got splashed and could not be revived.

  41. Just like #7 Cliff said take the battery cover off and the battery out and place it in or near the vent of the air conditioning unit. This will work. Leave it for 24 to 48 hours.

  42. is there some way to backup personal phone info before a problem and put that new info into insurance issued phone.

  43. I did the same thing when my SAMSUNG BLACKJACK II got soaked. It was out in the rain with the battery cover off for 2 hours. I put it in a bowl with a 50/50 mix of COARSE salt and rice over night. The very next day it was dry as a bone! Even the H20 droplets behind the screen were gone.

  44. you can also put it at the top of a TV. The warm heat will slow dry up the device without affecting internal circuits.

    Sorry LCD TV users, no soup for you!

  45. My HTC Eris fell into the pond last night, and I didn’t realize it until this morning. It was still on and working (trackball, touchscreen, everything) when I discovered it in the pond. I took it apart and put it in a bowl of rice (and the battery in a separate bowl). Was planning to leave it for 24 hours. It did have a rubber cover on it which appears to have kept SOME of the water out. Since it was still working, do I have a chance of saving it?

  46. last night i dropped my htc eris in the toilet. i pulled it out fairly quickly but it turned off right away. i put it in the microwave for like 2 seconds. am i screwed? i have it in a bag of rice rite now pulled apart.

  47. i dropped my htc eris in the toilet last night. put it in the microwave(dumb i kno now) for a couple seconds. its apart and in a bag of rice right now. am i completely screwed?

  48. Ok so I dropped my nexus one in the toilet the other day and
    I put it in rice and everything works
    Except the camera!
    what do I do????

  49. Droid got a bottle of water leaked on it. Water indicators are still intact. After wiping off outside- removed battery and it compartment cover- it was dry inside. Will not start. Completely blank but camera flash goes on and stays on. Removed battery. Overnight in rice in baggie with one end open in airy place. Still same problem today. Think the issue is a short in the camera end. have been leaving keyboard open. Is there a way to remove keyboard to be sure its completely dry under there? Any way to use an aerosol alcohol cleaning/drying product to blow out small spaces? Not sure what to do next except go back to Verizon with head held low and wallet loaded…

  50. Continued from #50 above… My Droid is still devoid…. :( Was leaving it to dry with keyboard open, but now it does not close properly and I can see a small swelling of the keyboard in the center. Its Thursday and incident was Sunday- so its 4 days. I went to the Verizon store and the nice woman was useless. Apparently they do not even have a repairperson to look at this! She is definitely sales.

    She says unless it finally dries out on its own and starts working- its toast. So I might as well try every self help I can. Does anyone repair stuff like this on the side? I honestly think it needs to be only partially opened and blown out with alcohol! This thing barely got damp! All stickers intact. It’s ridiculous. I am not sure if I am repurchasing one or not. Droid— avoid? Ugh

  51. Use white-out on your color strip, it completely covers up the pink. They only glance at the strip anyways. So,if you still want to use your warranty, I suggest you do this. I juuuust dropped my Eris in water. Cross your fingers for me, okay. My dad failed to get the insurance anyway so it doesn’t matter if I color in the strip. I’ll report back and tell you if it works.

  52. Well Today my phone just fell in the toilet
    So now i’m drying it wit rice.
    iHope it works though.

  53. I dropped my Samsung touchscreen phone in the toilet :-( after fishing it out i turned it off and removed the battery and sim – its been in the airing cupboard in a bowl of rice for 2days now – i just tested it and everything is working apart from the damn screen!!! Speakers and buttons are fine. Can anything else be done to fix the screen? its just black.

  54. Should have done this to my N1 when it got soaked with jurassic park water at universal studios last time. Resorted to using hair dryer and leaving the battery compartment exposed under the car dashboard for an entire day to dry it all out.

  55. i tried the rice trick a couple of months ago. Didnt resolve my water damage.

    I had no choice but to research repair services because my warranty was over.

    I found this site:

    GREAT! life savioR! check them out.

  56. The other day,
    My pants were quite damp and I had my phone in my pockets I took my iphone out and realized that there was water in the inside of my case on the back and I looked in the camera lense and it was foggy. So it went all wierd and the screen was getting lines on it and stuff. So I used the blowdryer I dunno if it ruined it but now its been in rice for 2 days now I hope it works because I got it for christmas and It broke on the sameday!

  57. So my Android Incredible was placed in the washing machine at the laundry mat last night. It was turned on by accident. Screen is still wet with condensation. Reading all the posts about rice, alcohol, etc…. My screen is black, I hope this works. Any sugestions???

  58. I dropped my Samsung Vibrant in the toilet! Im putting it in rice overnightt…..I hope it works….Im not paying $500 for a friggin phone…. D:

  59. My Verizon Fascinate a Galaxy S model was washed through the washer and discovered before putting into the dryer. It was on when entering the washer and was off after the cycle. Took it out, removed battery door, battery and microsd card and physically shook the phone to remove out all the water I could by hand. Next, put it in a ziplock back of rice and let it sit for 3.5 days before popping the battery back in and microsd and was presented with a fully working phone. Battery showed 55% charge and it is now charging. All hardware checked, all in perfect condition.

    Hope this helps somebody :)

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