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Does the Rice Trick for Saving Your Phone Really Work?

If you’ve ever been around someone who dropped their phone in a puddle—or even in the toilet—then you’ve probably heard of the rice trick for saving a phone from water damage. But does it really work? Here is a brief look at the “science” behind the rice trick, along with a few key things that you should know about your phone and water damage.

The Process

The idea behind the rice trick is rather simple. Place a waterlogged gadget in some uncooked rice, wait at least 24 hours for the dry rice to draw out the moisture, and then turn on your phone again as normal. If all goes according to plan, your phone should turn on and work as well as it did before the water incident.

The Verdict

So, does the rice trick really work? Most experts will say ‘no’, and chances are many fellow smartphone users will tell you ‘yes’. Here’s why.

Many researchers have looked into the efficacy of the rice trick by comparing rice as a drying agent to other materials such as silica gel and cat litter. Almost invariably, their experiments show that there are actually quite a few materials that work better than rice at drawing moisture out of waterlogged gadgets. The most effective drying methods in these experiments are actually open air, silica gel, and cat litter.

Still, you don’t have to spend long on any “help, I drowned my phone” forum to find smartphone users from all over recommending the rice trick. Many smartphone users can tell you from personal experience that the rice trick truly can revive a waterlogged phone. Tech experts will be quick to tell you, though, that it likely isn’t the rice that’s working the magic—it’s the time that the phone has to dry out, uninterrupted by attempts to power it on.

What You Should Do with a Waterlogged Phone

So, with the rice trick somewhat debunked, here is what you should do with a waterlogged phone:

  1. Salvage it as quickly as possible. Perhaps the biggest determinant of whether or not your phone will work again is how long it is submerged in water (or another liquid). To give your phone the best chances of survival, salvage it as quickly as possible.
  2. Turn it off. Doing anything with your phone at this point is risky, but taking the risk here in turning it off will give it better chances of survival. Turn an iPhone off by holding down the home and lock buttons simultaneously, and turn an Android off by removing the battery.
  3. Remove any other obstructions. If possible, remove any other obstructions to water drainage, such as headphones and the SIM card.
  4. Drain it. Remove as much water as possible manually, by tilting, shaking, or blowing on your phone.
  5. Let it dry. Finally, get your phone time to dry out naturally. Leave it in open air with good circulation for at least a couple days. Resist the urge to turn it on during the time.

If you test your phone after a few days and find that, sadly, water seems to have caused lasting damage, don’t despair! A professional cell phone repair center may be able to salvage your phone. We at Action Link Wireless, for example, offer a variety of cell phone repair services, including repairs for water damage. Visit our repairs page to learn more about our services.