Saving a wet cell phone with dry rice… Holy crap, it actually works!

I’ve always wondered about that fix for a wet cell phone — you know, the one where you bury it in dry rice for 24 hours? Turns out that yours truly got a chance to try out that very procedure when he somehow managed to drop his beloved Motorola Spice straight into a cup of hot coffee.

I know.

I immediately powered down, cracked open the back cover and popped out the battery, then tightly wrapped napkins around each the separate parts. Fortunately my local Chinatown was on the way home, so securing some dry rice wasn’t a problem.

The next morning I had visual proof that the rice was doing what it was supposed to…

The good news is that rice had expanded to soak up coffee from deep within my headphone jack; the bad news is that getting it out required breaking up the grains into smaller pieces with a paper clip.

And more bad news: upon opening the slider mechanism a few drips of coffee appeared — my bad for not burying it in the open position, so back in the rice it went.

The morning after that, with no remnants of moisture to be found, I replaced the battery and powered up — only to find that my Moto was stuck in a cycle of reboots, as you can see above. Not good.

I figured there was something fatally wrong with the wireless radio. End of story. But the weird thing is, after sitting on the counter for one more day…

… Everything suddenly works again, even the headphone jack!

I’ve no idea what transpired between days two and three, but I’m glad to have my cheap and cheerful Android handset back in service.

Through my harrowing experience I learned some important things about this procedure. Though everything went better than expected I screwed up twice along the way — thrice if you count dousing my Moto in coffee in the first place:

  1. Pull that battery ASAP — don’t even bother with the power button like I did; sever the flow of power quick as you can.
  2. Expose as much surface area as possible to the rice — had I opened up the slider before dumping it in rice it might have been back in service a day sooner.

But even with two big rookie mistakes my phone was still saved from an early grave. If I only had a rice cooker this would be a double win!

31 Responses to “Saving a wet cell phone with dry rice… Holy crap, it actually works!”


  • As the kids say, “w00t!!1!” — glad to hear this works and thanks for sharing the added cautions. I will share this out on Frugal Victoria since it is much cheaper than a new phone. :)

  • They actually make stuff for this now.
    http://www.save-a-phone.com

  • If it costs less then my bag of rice ($1.75 CAD) I’ll certainly consider it. ;)

  • AC:
    What an awesome technique! I lost a Palm Tungsten to water once–no way to get the battery out so it was toast.

    The bonus with rice is that a lot of poeple already have it on hand, but I’d be reluctant to buy Save a Phone unless it was good with salmon…

    Ed

  • Rice is not a sure way to dry your phone and could do more harm than good by leaving moisture behind in your phone which can cause a short when you turn it back on. The best way to dry a wet cell phone is to use a proffesional product like the wet cell phone emergency kit. It is tested by independent labratories and proven to work. You can find it at Radio Shack

  • And of course you wouldn’t have any kind of vested interest in said product available at Radio Shack, would you?

    I call bullshit.

    “… and could do more harm than good by leaving moisture behind in your phone…”

    Dry rice, you say? Again, bullshit.

    My readers are smarter than this. Try harder.

  • Not trying to argue just trying to suggest a better way for your readers to save their phones. Rice is NOT an absorbent in does not absorb water this is such a crazy urban legend.The only reason rice absorbs water when you cook it is heated to reach gelatinization. the breaking down of the starch chain that allows for water absorption and disruption of the crystalline structure of the starch. Rice with out being heated does not and will not absorb anything.
    We have tested rice it may appear to dry your phone but the reality is your phone may only work “fine” for a few days or weeks before somethiong goes weird.
    Rice is easy and it is something people have on hand but the cost to replace a phone isnt quite worth the risk of it not actually working.

  • “Rice is NOT an absorbent in does not absorb water this is such a crazy urban legend.”

    Clearly you didn’t even bother to read my post, so fuck you and your shit product too. You are now officially banned from commenting on this site. Have a great day!

  • People, this is NOT bullsh*t. I just tried it on my Galaxy S (Samsung Vibrant) phone and it works. I had dropped my phone in running gutter water as I got out of my car yesterday and I didn’t realize for a good 3 minutes or so, then I looked down and realized the phone was in the water. I pulled it out, turned it around, it was still on, but it shut off on its own, then I freaked and pulled out the battery.

    I tried the hair-dryer on it, for about 30 minutes, did not work, the phone was stuck on a boot loop at the Vibrant screen, apparently there was still moisture in it.

    I came across this post so I put it in dry rice in a tupperware container, along with the battery (removed of course). I sealed it and went to sleep. That was roughly 12 hours ago. Now I tried it again, and the phone booted with no problems. So this method actually works.

    As to rice not being a desiccant: It may not be as aggressive as those clear beads that dry out the air, but it certainly works, and I think I may know why.

    Dry rice is covered in a fine white powder, I’m assuming it’s the rice itself that has been pulverized due to constant friction between the grains. I believe it is the powder coating around the rice grains that absorbs the moisture from its surroundings.

    Sort of like talcum powder (which really is starch or pulverized corn grains that has been bleached). One of talcum powder’s many uses is used to absorb moisture away from the skin. So in essence, the powder coating around the rice grains is what seems to be acting as a desiccant in the cell phone drying technique.

  • My phone fell in the toilet 2 days ago, long story. My phone was working for a while after I dried it up but started to turn on and off. So I immediately looked it up on google and tried the rice method. I got a 3 cups of rice and placed it on a big zip lock and placed my phone in for about 20-24 hrs. I kept checking my phone if everything was fine. The first time, it wouldn’t let me charge it, and keep going off/on. So I placed it back in the rice. Second time I checked it, it was 5 hrs later and I could charge it again BUT the buttons wouldn’t work. So I have it another try, so I placed it back in the rice and after 5-6 hrs, viola! Everything works again. Im glad and surprised it worked! Plus, I’ve only have my phone for 2 months. It’d kill me buy a new phone. I was close to buying a new battery, but glad I didn’t! Patience and confidence is the key! Goodluck!

  • Vacuum some water out of the ports before using the rice.

    Also, shake the rice in its own bag to settle the rice dust at the bottom. Then SCOOP the rice OVER the phone, in another Ziplok bag. This will avoid forcing rice grains into your phone ports, and reduce the rice dust.

    After, can vacuum off the loose rice dust.

  • What if i charged the fone.Actually it was just kept in a wet atmosphere(in this case my bag was wet).So it worked.Later i charged my phone and it was all fone.the following next morning i could see my screen flicker and divided into two.though my touch was working as before
    Can u help???

  • It even works for iPod’s too! i was a little skeptical since I’ve only heard it working for phones and they say you must do it immediately , but i thought what the heck my iPod’s back light was already damaged what could go wrong i got a small zip lock bag filled it with rice put it in and left it for two days. When i plugged it back into my computer the apple logo appeared fully lit and i was freaking ecstatic that it worked!

  • i just dropped my phone in the toilet 2 hours ago attempting to put my phone down while i washed my hands and missed the counter n into the toilet it went, i grabbed it as soon as i could and its been in the rice ever since im hoping it works ill be lost without my phone

  • i was just giving myself a pedicure about 10 minutes ago & i dropped my phone into the foot massager & panicked bc i’ve only had it for like a month.. i ran to the kitchen dried it off real good & let it sit on the counter & ran to my laptop & looked this up.. it is sitting in the rice now.. i hope this works !!!

  • just returned from the 31st annual kansas state fiddling competition. everything was free except my htc evo which landed in my full beer cup. i have it taking a nap in a bag of brown uncle ben’s. will keep you posted.

  • I dove in the pool with my Palm Centro phone and electronic car key in my pocket. I was in the water a good three minutes before I realized it. A fellow swimmer enjoying the spectacle suggested putting the phone in rice. I removed the batteries from the key and the phone. The key works. The phone’s in a box of Uncle Ben’s now. Time will tell.

  • i dropped my phone in a cup of water about 2 hrs ago, i forgot to remove the battery for 2 hrs, i put my phone in rice, do you think it will still work even though i didnt remove the battery ASAP.

  • Ok my boyfriend left his MP3 player in his training bag, he emptied it and threw everything in the washing machine and then the dryer. Devastated he’d broken another MP3 player I suggested the rice method and he literally told me not to waste my time. I did try the rice method anyway buy completely sub merging the MP3 in a cup of rice… Left of for 24 hours and voila! I served my boyfriend a nice big slice of humble pie! Why? Because it bloody worked!!! LOL

  • My phone fell in the toilet yesterday and I freaked out. I immediately drying it and I started trying to turn it on and it didn’t work.So then I tried to charge it. The text letters were lighted up, but the screen was black.I didn’t know and I searched “how to fix a wet phone” and they said if i tried turning it on or charging it it would do something to the circuits so I thought I was screwed.Do you think my phone will be fixed in a bowl of rice???

  • My new HTC Inspire is currently sitting in rice, and have just located the battery which has been removed, and hoping that my phone will still work. I just wanted to reply to those who state that rice doesn’t absorb liquid. Have you never seen several grains of rice in salt shakers in humid locations? Pay attention next time. Thanks for all the posts everyone. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • I left my phone in my pocket and ran it through the wash and didn’t realize it until after the washer was done! I had also heard this worked but wasn’t quite sure whether or not to trust it so I typed this in and I’m sure it will work. I just put it in the rice ten minutes ago and I’m positive it will be okay in a couple of days!

  • Okay the Rice does work!!! My Android was faceing death by toilet about 5 hours ago! I got it out of the toilet removed the battery dried it with a hair dryer then tried to turn it on and nothing! I tried some more heat and got the power to come on with no screen. Then put it in a bag of rice after only 1 hour I could see the screen perfectly clear! A few things are still a little wacky so its back in the rice and I will check it in the morning. THANK YOU for saveing my Android from near death! This method should be called CPR for Cell phones!!

  • will brown rice work??? was under the impression whit rice worked maybe because of the starch; obviously, there’s no starch in brown rice… got my phone little wet and now no one can hear me on a phone call, although i can hear them… hoping this resurrects the problem.

  • a couple hours ago i dropped my Samsung Focus in the toilet. (smartphone users’ worst nightmare) i immediately powered it down and dried the outside off with a towel. but made a rookie mistake. i tried turning it back on afterwards in a panic. a few minutes later i let it sit under a fan. i heard that too wasn’t a smart idea. i read up that rice was a good idea but was still skeptical. however, not willing to lose my phone that i’ve grown so dependent on, i caved in and put it in a bag of rice. now only time will tell if i was able to resuscitate my phone.

  • so 2 days ago i dropped my driodX2 in the toilet. i am an idiot so i lied to my parents, told them there musta been a bug from some app i downloaded. yesterday my dad took it to verizon while i was at school, when i got home it was sitting in a bag of rice. it is still in it right now, 24hours later. do you think it will work even though it sat for an entire day? i did remove the battery immediately but i made the mistake of putting it back in and trying to power it on, please tell me my phone will be okay, ive only had for a month

  • OK…I am trying the rice remedy as we speak. Thank you Andrew and everyone else for the advice. I dropped it in the toilet and snatched it as a reflex (2 seconds maybe). I immediately wiped the outside off with napkins and the keyboard but I didn’t think to open it up and wipe the battery dry. Luckily, once I remembered, there were only a few drops in the battery compartment of the phone.

    So, I dried that completely, used a few alcohol wipes to disinfect it all because it did come out of the toilet but I made sure to wipe the alcohol dry rigth away too. I found what I think is the strip that the cell phone repairmen use to tell if the phone had gotten wet or not and it did not show any signs of having gotten wet (it had not turned pink or gotten a red stripe on it or anything so I think I may be able to get it replaced if all this does not fix it).

    So, luckily my boyfriend and I had bought 2 bags of rice to make something we never got around to making, so I put the cell phone, battery, and battery cover i a big bowl and they are completely covered with rice now.

    So, thanks again for the advice and I will let you guys know how it worked out tomorrow. I don’t know if anyone cares, but I like this forum and it has helped me a lot. Thanks again!

  • 0MG…!!
    IT WORKED I THOUGHT IT WAS A STUPID IDEA BUT IT SAVED MY BABY :D
    OH YOU RICE CAME IN HANDY..!!! LOL

  • so yesterday my cell got wet so i tried to dry it with a blow dryer first it worked then it didn’t. like my fone will turn on and the screen says verizon but it starts flashing a white light and does’t turn on. i tried rice it worked and i got really happy but then one letter was still messed up so i decided to take out the battery and put it back on and it stopped working:[[[ i put it in rice for a day but nothing (however rice did save my fone once) so now i put it into rice againa and ill check it tomorrow again.. do you guys think it will work ?://

  • Gee, I dunno… WHAT DOES THE TITLE OF THIS POST SAY?!!

    Ordinarily I welcome comments, but unfortunately this is not a support group for people who’ve dropped their phones in the toilet. Follow the instructions I’ve written, and you should be fine.

    Comments are now closed.

Comments are currently closed.