Blackberry Keypad by Mark Iafrate vs.   toilet by István Benedek

Dear Techlife,

I was in my office, my second office, and it happened.

My precious smartphone, tumbled out of my hands, bounced off my leg, I reached for it and it grazed my fingers.  I watched in horror as it gyrated like a diver in the Olympics and did a perfect entry, with little splash at all, but a resounding, plop into the watery depths.

I shut my eyes, muscled up the courage and reached my hand into….the toilet.  My goal, rescue my precious smartphone from what must be a Blackberry grave.  Wow that water was ice cold.

As I expected the poor baby was dead.  I am distraught, what can I do?  How can I dry my wet phone?


Deep Bowl Diver aka Fumble fingers

Dear Fumble Diver…

It’s not as bad as you would think.  As you might imagine you aren’t the first to drop an electronic item in water, or more specifically a phone into a toilet.  Shh…it happens, to everybody, well not me, but everybody else.

Even better there is a solution to easily and cheaply dry out your phone!

Will the solution work for you or any of our other readers is clearly a case by case basis, but the solution is pretty simple.  Rice.  Yes, rice.

Blackberry Keypad by Mark Iafrate +  toilet by István Benedek =  Rice bowl by Lali Masriera

Rice cooks in water by absorbing the moisture it is sitting in, like a sponge.  To dry your smartphone try these simple steps:

  1. Open the phone, if possible (iPhones exluded.)
  2. Remove the battery, SIM card and storage card.
  3. If it is a clamshell, open it fully.
  4. Pour uncooked white rice into a bowl.
  5. Submerge phone, battery, sim and storage cards in bowl of dry rice completely for 3 full days.
  6. Remove, reassemble and power on.

Your luck will vary based on many factors, including the length of time the item was submerged.  Also before you call your carrier and claim, “It just stopped working. I don’t know what happened.”  All mobile phones have liquid activated stickers inside them in a few places.  This helps a technician know if you have had water damage normally not covered by your warranty.  So Fumble Diver, try the rice first, you already voided your warranty.

Finally, a quick comment about the bathroom referred to as your second office.  I am sure there are plenty of readers who nod their head in acknowledgment of that reference.  Newspapers, books, magazines are commonly brought to the office bathroom as a place to get some reading down.  You might call it multi-tasking.  A bit of office bathroom smartphone etiquette:

  • silence your smartphone in the bathroom
  • no calls in the bathroom

Follow these two simple rules and we won’t have any problems.  No one wants to hear you jabbering away about how some widget will be delivered on time or how your weekend drinking binge turned out.  We also don’t want to hear you playing Pac-man or Bejeweled.  Spare us your awesome dexterity.

Author’s note: Great news!  Fumble Diver reported back before we went to press.  After just 1 day, the phone was powering up and working but had water spots on the LCD screen.  That’s when we reminded Fumble Diver about step 5, part 2 – 3 full days.  Do you have a way to beat the smartphone blues?  Tell us.