Tips & Tricks

I can confirm: Rice does heal water-damaged cellphones


Seeing your cellphone die is one of the worst things that can happen to you, especially if you were really close to it. It happened to me recently, on a day that seemed like just any other.

It’s ridiculously hot, with the temperature well over 40 degrees centigrade (over 104 degree Fahrenheit), and I’m sweating profusely while returning from college. After spending some time on a call, I notice that the device is heating up, and the screen’s pretty wet. I just wiped it with a tissue, and on reaching home saw the battery’s dead. That was expected, as I never got to juice it up before leaving. Connecting it to the charger, I just went about doing some chores.

When I tried to boot it up after an hour or so, it refused to. I tried again and again, but it just gave me a few vibrates and the LED blinked. I looked around XDA and everywhere else trying to find out what the problem was, but had to soon accept that the phone was water-damaged. The phone’s a T-Mobile myTouch 4G, and I’m in India. There wasn’t even a chance to get it repaired.

I soon came across the old rice tip, which I had read before but just brushed it aside thinking it to be on par with some of the ridiculous alternative therapies we read about. However, since the phone was nothing more than a paper weight, I decided I pretty much had nothing better to do with it. Taking out the battery, I buried it in a rice bowl and kept it away for a few days. The initial plan was to not touch it for 3-4 days, but I could resist after 36 hours.

IT WORKED! My phone booted right up and there’s no glitch whatsoever. And I’m sure if I saw myself in the mirror, this is what I would have seen myself doing.

Rice is now officially my favorite carbohydrate of all time.

DISCLAIMER: it also depends on extent of water damage. A friend of mine decided to go swimming with his Galaxy S2 (don’t ask me why). Rice couldn’t work it’s magic in that case.

Raveesh Bhalla

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  1. My friend went swimming with his phone 3 times and got the battery out in time every time for rice to work :)

    1. I don’t mean to be rude, but how the hell did he repeat that mistake 3 times!

      1. I wouldn’t be able to tell you lol. I always take mine out before, and still have mini panic attacks while I’m swimming, patting on my pockets lol

        1. been there, done that

          1. It’s everyone phones symptom of what I call pocket checks. I do it when I stand up, before I sit down, during activities. Always making sure Phone, Wallet. Phone, Wallet lol

  2. Next step: Wet two phones, stick one in rice, and see what happens.

  3. Your friend needs to be shot.

  4. It doesn’t have to mean that the rice helped, maybe the phone just dried as it was in my case. Many years ago when I had Sony Ericsson K500i I forgot it in my pocket of pants and I put it in the washing machine :) After that the phone didn’t work at all, and when I tried to boot it again after 2-3 days it worked! Screen looked kinda damaged but even the screen got back to normal the next day!

    1. physics tells us that liquids will evaporate until the volume in which it exists is fully saturated with the vapor form of that liquid, otherwise known as the liquid-vapor equilibrium. because uncooked rice has been dehydrated, the moisture content of each grain of rice is next to zero. the rice helps the “drying” (actually evaporating) by lowering the moisture content outside of the phone, causing whatever liquid in the phone to evaporate quicker (and more efficiently, to minimize water/mineral damage) to meet the liquid-vapor equilibrium of the container.
      and like he said, it depends on the extent of the liquid exposure. it won’t work every time.

      1. oh ok, thanks for the info.

  5. Im not trying to be negative here, but my completely non-expert opinion here is that your phone overheated from the temperature, as opposed to your perspiration. Used to happen to my G2 when I used it as my gps on long road trips and it would be in the sun for long periods.

    1. It’s subjected to the same heat pretty much every day, and didn’t boot up even several hours after cooling down in an air-conditioned room. I was worried about that, and maybe something went wrong with the battery all of a sudden, but all things pointed to water damage.

  6. I can confirm this method works. My brother dunked his LG into a toilet LOL and after the rice method, it worked. Except he put the bowl of rice and phone into direct sunlight, i’m not sure if that is an added benefit, but the phone worked perfectly afterwards!

  7. It’s a good thing you were able to find rice in India;) lol

  8. Dude! Who the hell sweats enough to do water damage to their phone? Honestly it sounds like your phone overheated. Sitting in the rice for 2 days gave it the rest it needed. Extensive water damage from sweating with your phone against your face seems incredible unlikely. Maybe if you were running and had it on a chest band.

    1. 105 degrees. And I often have to walk quite significant distances in it. It’s a common problem in this country. You have no idea how much money Nokia makes from water damage repairs (my Nokia N95 had to be repaired 3 times in 2 years because of it).

      PS: It’s worse with the Nokia N95 because of the manner in which the screen is built for it.

    2. It is also possible that the water damage came from the rapid temperature change from the humid outdoors to the cool, air conditioned inside and caused some internal condensation.

  9. Mine did exactly this when it overheated. I know people who have done the rice thing and it seemed to work. It just gets the water out faster. If the damage is already done when you put it in it’s too late.

  10. Easy way to find out if it was water damage: All phones have moisture sensors for just that purpose. A quick google search will tell you where it is for you phone :)

    1. they aren’t sensors, they are stickers. And they are not very accurate. You can activate it by having your phone sit next to a hot cup of coffee while outdoors in the fog. Trust me….

  11. Rice does work, Made the mistake of getting out of the car one with the phone on my lap. It’s actually common I see this happen to a lot of people but it happened to be during a very bad snow storm. Realized two hours later I had no phone and called it and dug it out of the snow. The screen was black took the battery out stuck it in rice and presto the next day we were good to go.

  12. Of course rice works been fixing water damaged shit sense I was a young boy rice or lettuce does the trick as for the LCDs u will get water marks and the back ground will look 3d :P

  13. Can you still eat the rice?

    1. sure, why not….just put some Cholula on it, it will be fine…….

  14. Wow!!! I’d love to see the reaction on the face of the idiot that sticks his wet phone in a wet head of lettuce expecting a cure.

  15. Yea just little late on that

  16. I always suggest it, I revived my old LG Dare twice with it. Thankfully by the time I got my Incredible I was more responsible with my phone.

  17. I’ve tried the rice method on my blackberry storm after it fell in a bowl of captain crunch…..wouldn’t cut on and put it in riced for a day in a heated place or in sunlight and she turned on the next day

  18. My son washed his Samsung as well…it’s been in the rice past 48 hours…we’ll see.

  19. This happened to me as well, but I went swimming with my phone for about 15 minutes before noticing that it was in my pocket (I am a dummy). It was the OG G1 and I heard the rice trick works. At the time read to do it for 2 weeks. So I did and it worked.

    I also had the same problem with my G2 overheating on a long road trip. It died. A couple of times after I noticed how hot it was since we were driving through Arizona when it was over 100 outside and my phone was in direct sunlight. It wouldn’t even accept a charge due to overheating. So I repositioned the phone holder so that the coo AC would hit it and that did the trick.

  20. I once left my PSP in my pocket then got in a pool. I just left it out in the sun and it worked.

    On the other hand, my dad left his android (I forget which model) in his pocket when he did laundry. He ran through the house yelling “shit, shit, shit!” when he realized what he did. It was dead. Device 1, water damage 1.

    1. forgot to mention he tried the rice thing and it didn’t work.

  21. Clothes dryer exhaust vent + low heat.

  22. Raman noodles work even better. I think they are freeze dried…

  23. Japp.. I am also one of the ‘unlucky’ guys that had water-damag, and more interestingly it was because I forgot it in pocket of my swimming trunks, so my poor HTC Desire drowned in 5 minutes.. I also had given a try to rice-bowl as remedy for abt 40 hrs, but unfortunately no any life symptom was appeared. (Now I have -again- an HTC phone, namely a OneX.. and between this and the Desire a SGS-1 covered the gap :)

  24. I have successfully executed the rice technique twice but I am not completely convinced that the phone only survived due to the rice accelerated evaporation, it may have turned on regardless.

  25. Or you can just pull out the batteries and blow your cellphone with hair dryer for one hour, then put it under incandescent bulb for a night

    1. Don’t do that. A hair dryer will force the moisture into every cranny it can find. Hair dryers tend to cause problems that evaporation doesn’t.

  26. I actually just had success with this as well. I was in Mexico for my wedding and my father -in-law threw me in the pool with my Evo 4G in my pocket. Left the phone in rice for the next week or so (in Mexico, didn’t need/use it). Put it together as I was walking out the house on my way to order the Evo 4G LTE from my local Sprint and to my surprise it booted and works as new. The phone is a beast.

  27. There is a company that sells silica packs to stick your phone in if you get water damage, will work much better than rice.

  28. Wow, I see alot of people in this thread who’ve had thirsty cellphones o_O

  29. I think your solution for this problem is to buy a bluetooth or wired headset. Water problem, solved.

  30. It’s much easier and quicker to blow dry it, or blast it with heat from your heat vent. Only takes 5 minutes.

  31. The other one that works, a bath in 99% isopropyl alcohol 5 minutes should do the trick. You can actually try using it during the bath as well(it isnt conductive) saved a phone that went through the washer, it was gummed up with water and detergent the alcohol cleaned it perfectly. ONLY USE 99% not the more common 97%.

  32. a hair dryer type device is what we used to use to dry circuit boards after they went thought a wave solder then washed with water. Hair dryer works well for removing moisture and is similar to the devices used at the plant.

    1. A circuit board is not a finished product with a screen. Depending on the model, a hair dryer can force water up between the screen / digitizer / glass layers and then you have a puddle that can stay trapped there for months. I have seen it happen.

  33. Rice is always handy, as close as your closet and the closest grocery story…I’ve used this on my teenager’s ZuneHD mp3 player… one year later, the thing is still playing music and vids perfectly.

  34. I thought I might also comment that this technique also works on condensation on the inside of watch faces. Works best if you can pop the back off the watch, give it a day or so in the sun, condensation gone!

  35. it worked for me

  36. Or you could have, you know, just let it sit for a couple days and dry out which was probably all that was needed.

  37. Rice will help absorb some of the moisture and will probably be helpful if you are in a humid climate, silica gel packets would obviously work as well.

    My son just recently boneheadedly got in the pool with his LG Optimus in his pocket, he was smart enough to quickly pull the battery (this is THE most critical thing) and I made the executive decision to rinse it out thoroughly with water from our Reverse Osmosis filter (closest we have to distilled), let it sit for a few hours until I couldn’t see any liquid in the screen and then left it on top of our U-Verse set to box (warm but not hot) for 4 days.

    I was pleased that it seemed to boot normally, it was a little wonky getting on the network at first but that seemed to get better after a few minutes.

    I don’t doubt that the phone will never be quite right anymore but getting it to work at all is pretty nice.

  38. Yes it does definitely work, my son dropped his in a deep mudhole on accident and brought it home and put it in some rice and left it for 8 hrs and he tried his phone and it worked.

  39. My wife’s phone fell in the toilet, try the rice trick right now.

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