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Help! I dropped my phone in the toilet

Category: Information redux Smartphones

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Maybe you're a parent and the bathroom is the only place you can go to check your updates in peace. Maybe your employer does not allow you to have your phone while working, so you sneak it into the bathroom with you. Maybe you just need an excuse to stay in the bathroom a little bit longer, and scrolling through Facebook is your answer. No matter the reason, and even if you may not readily admit it, there is a very good chance that you use your phone while you're in the bathroom.

open toilet lid

In fact, entrepreneur and investor John Rampton conducted a study and found that you are not the only one using your smartphone in the bathroom:

  • 61% of people have used their mobile phone in the bathroom
  • 43% do it at least a few times a month
  • While in the bathroom, 49% of phone users read text messages and 92% of social media users checked Facebook
  • 31% of those surveyed stayed in the bathroom longer than needed in order to finish a mobile phone activity

Of course, the biggest danger of using your phone in the bathroom is that you could drop it in the toilet. At the time of Rampton's study, 9% of people admitted to having dropped a phone in a toilet, while another study found that 19% of people report having experienced this very mishap. But these numbers may be a little low, because people find it difficult to admit they have dropped their phones into such an unsavory place.

The question is not how many people have dropped their phones in the toilet. The true question is: what do you do if it happens to you? There definitely are some things you shouldn't do, and only one tried and true method for saving your wet phone.

The problem with dropping your smartphone in the toilet

toilet water

Of course, the worst problem you will have if you drop your phone in the toilet is water damage. Most people think that the water is a problem only while the phone is wet, but that is an incorrect assumption. Anytime that a smartphone is submerged in liquid, the water easily works its way into the internal components and under the screen. Water damage is even worse if your phone is on when it falls in the toilet, because the water will make its way to the circuits, acts as a conductor that carries the current, and creates shorts. The water ultimately damages the internal systems of the phone by overloading them with energy.

Some people think that allowing their phone to dry naturally is the best course of action to take, but without the proper drying method the water inside the phone will eventually lead to corrosion - the minerals from the water slowly begin to affect the phone's internal components, much like rust on a car. Water damage also leads to corrosion of the circuits, coils, and resistors. Damage to just one of these will lead to a damaged phone.

And even if the phone was off when you dropped it in the toilet, it can suffer electrical damage.

Don't attempt these phone drying hacks

toilet bathroom

People are so desperate to dry their phones after they fall in the toilet, they will try just about any method they can find online. But some of these methods actually cause more harm to the phone than the initial water damage.

Do not, under any circumstances, place your smartphone in a microwave to dry it after it drops in a toilet. No metal object should ever be placed in a microwave because it will start a fire. Smartphones have a great deal of metal in them, and placing them in a microwave is a serious fire hazard.

Do not put your wet phone into uncooked rice. The rice myth has been around for a very long time, but Gazelle found that uncooked rice was the worst of the seven options they tested to dry a phone. If the rice does absorb some of the water on the exterior of your phone, it becomes sticky and gums up your ports, which leads to more damage.

Do not put your wet phone in a freezer. The first problem with putting a wet phone in the freezer is that it simply will turn the water to ice, which will melt as soon as you remove the phone from the freezer. The water then can spread to other parts of your phone that may not have been damaged initially. It's also important to note that the extremely cold temperature can decrease your battery life and damage your LCD screen, as it contains liquid that should not freeze.

The best method for saving your phone

empty bathroom stalls

The best thing to do after you drop your phone in the toilet is immediately turn the phone off (if it is on), and dry it off with clean, dry towels. Remove the battery (if you can), SIM card, and any other external components, such as headphones. Dry off your battery as quickly as you can, too. Removing as many components as possible helps your phone to begin drying out naturally, as air makes its way inside the open ports. If your phone doesn't have a removable battery (many newer devices don't), sit it in an upright position which allows excess water to drain.

It's also critical that you avoid pushing your phone's buttons. While it may be tempting to try to turn it on to see if it still works, do not do so. Pushing buttons increases your risk of forcing water further into the phone.

Finally, get your phone to a location that features a Redux machine. These machines are specially engineered to dry your phone by removing all liquid from it. Redux provides an electronic drying process that involves heat and pressure, and it will not damage your phone, melt it, or burn it. The process typically takes less than an hour and removes 100% of the liquid 100% of the time. Best of all, Redux preserves your data, photos, and contacts so that your phone can completely survive its unexpected and unfortunate dunk in the toilet.

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