Can I revive my cell phone after washing it by mistake?
October 24, 2004 1:42 PM   Subscribe

We just ran my cell phone through the washing machine, accidentally, of course. Is there any hope of reviving it? How?
posted by pjhagop to Technology (11 answers total)
I did this once. I placed the phone in a ziplock bag with uncooked rice, and placed the bag under an incandescent bulb. The rice absorbed the moisture. The phone worked, after about a day of drying.

Of course, YMMV. You might also want to try a desiccant, swiped from a closet somewhere.

Good luck.
posted by funkbrain at 1:51 PM on October 24, 2004

Yes, dry it out. Take out the battery right away. Don't try to turn it on until it's really dry. My Sony Ericsson T616 survived the washer.
posted by Nelson at 1:55 PM on October 24, 2004

Hopefully you have not turned it on. DO NOT turn it on. As funkbrain said, use a bunch of desiccants, and let it dry for a good week. If you have hard water, and depending on what you use to clean your close you might be SOL. The chemicals could have caused corrosion to the delicates inside the phone. I'd give the desiccant and time a try at least before spending whatever it costs to replace a phone.
posted by geoff. at 1:58 PM on October 24, 2004

I have a Sony/Ericsson T610/T616 that stayed in my hand while talking in a pool! (I am idiot prime) as I slipped and fell underwater. The phone went under the water with me. As it was off when I came out of the water, I feared the worst, but after separating SIM card and battery and leaving it out in the sun for a full day it got all better. I am amazed. I checked it every hour (stupid again) but it didn't turn on until 24 hours later. It now works perfectly.

I bring this to you as a message of hope.
posted by neustile at 2:55 PM on October 24, 2004

It's in a baggie with some left over desiccant from a pair of shoes and bunch of rice. I have a lamp about 3 inches away, and the inside of the bag is already covered with moisture, so we've got magic happening here.

Thanks for all of the advice, and I'll post again in a few days to let you know how things turn out.
posted by pjhagop at 4:10 PM on October 24, 2004

I got dunked in a northern Minnesota lake with cellphone last summer. Phone was toast. But--the SIM card snapped into a newer (and nicer) phone, and carried over my account info, contacts, etc.
posted by gimonca at 4:57 PM on October 24, 2004

A co-worker dropped hers in the toilet. It never worked again, so I wish I'd known these tips.
posted by GriffX at 7:49 PM on October 24, 2004

Just as another datapoint, my digicam stopped working after being splashed a bit a couple years ago. As this was before the AskMe days, I put my own brain in charge, and it failed me, as expected. Basically, I did not take the battery out immediately, I tried to power it up multiple times, I disassembled it for faster drying, and I dunked everything in alcohol, thinking that would displace the water. Nothing worked.'

My best advice here is to get your small, expensive electronics "scheduled" by your homeowners' insurer (if you have one). For $2 a year, my agent tells me I can throw my $300 camera out the car window in a fit of pique, and he'll happily send me a check to replace it.

Now that I'm thinking about it, as a tribute to AskMe I will offer the remains of my old, abused camera up to the MeFi community. It's a Canon s110 Digital Elph (2.1 mp) that has been through the medical malpractice detailed above. No accessories of any kind included. First one to email me can have it for S&H.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:27 AM on October 25, 2004

Veering off-topic, but personally I'd be *very* cautious about making small claims on my homeowner's policy, for fear of major rate hikes or getting dropped by the insurer all together. Maybe SSF won't have any problems, but I look at my homeowner's insurance as catastrophe coverage.
posted by mojohand at 8:22 AM on October 25, 2004

and the inside of the bag is already covered with moisture

This suggests to me that the desiccant and rice aren't working. (Perhaps, too old, already absorbed their capacity of water from the atmosphere long before you used them.) The condensation on the inside of the bag indicates that you're at 100% humidity in there, and the phone isn't likely to dry out any more than it already has.

I'd try new rice and/or desiccant. If those aren't available, just take the phone out of the bag and let it dry that way.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:34 AM on October 25, 2004

mjhand - great point
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:02 AM on October 25, 2004

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