Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Water Damage 101

In three years selling cell phones, I can't tell you how many times I saw customers come in, looking forlorn, with a wet phone in my hand. It is my experience that phones are susceptible to coffee, toilets, apple juice, puddles, ponds, and every other form of liquid out there. In the event of water damage, there is a correct response, and an incorrect response. The incorrect response is the one I saw more often.

When they see their phone, dripping wet from the coffee they just dropped it in, the first thing most people want to do is try to turn it on. Time and time again, my soul ached as I listened to people tell me that this was exactly what they did. I can say, as a mobile professional, that this is the WORST THING YOU COULD EVER DO.

The correct response is to immediately pull out the phone's battery. The faster you stop electricity from coursing through the wrong circuits, the better. Once the electricity is stopped, open the phone as much as you can. Flip it open, slide it open, whatever your phone does, you want it open. Fill a ziplock baggie with long grain, enriched white rice, and put your phone, in its many pieces, into the baggie. Seal it shut, and leave it overnight, at least. The longer your phone stays in the rice, the better. The rice will, over time, pull any moisture out of your phone, preventing further damage.

This advice is only useful immediately after the phone getting wet, to wait overnight before trying this, especially if you try to leave the phone on ("because it works"), is to risk shorting out your phone in an utterly preventable manner.

So again, if you get your phone wet. Rice should be the second thing you do, right after pulling the battery. With any luck, you could have saved your expensive toy from a needless death.

On a side note, make sure the rice is not cooked. I only say this because I once had a customer come in with her phone stuck in the gummy mess of a baggie full of cooked minute rice. Don't do that...