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How to fix a cell phone after putting it in the washing machine

When a cell phone takes a trip through the washing machine, common emotional reactions can include grief, anger and resignation. Thoughts of paying for a replacement phone immediately start racing through your mind and it may seem as if there is no other option. Before you rush to buy a new phone, follow these few steps and patiently wait for your phone to dry out. If you're lucky, you may find that your phone survived the ordeal.

Avoid turning the phone on. The phone will have shut down when it got wet during the wash cycle. Turning the phone on before you thoroughly dry it out may cause irreparable damage.

Open the battery compartment. Take the battery out and dry it with a clean rag. Place it on a sunny windowsill for up to four hours. Leaving it in the sun longer than this may damage the battery.

Place the cell phone, with the open battery compartment face up, on the sunny window ledge and allow it to dry for two days.

Place the battery back in, close the compartment and turn the phone on. Normally, the screen will still function and you should be able to make and receive calls. It is possible, however, that the water may have caused damage to the keyboard; press the numbers to see if each one still works. If you cannot turn the phone on, you will need a new phone.

Tip

Before you call your cell phone provider, look for a small, round sticker in the battery compartment. This colour-changing sticker is a liquid damage indicator used by your carrier to determine if warranty replacement is available to you. If the sticker is red, this means water has changed its colour and the warranty is void. If the sticker doesn't change colour--is still white--then the phone is still under warranty and your carrier will exchange it for free.

Warning

Do not attempt to charge the phone before completely drying it out. Connecting it to a power source while still wet or even slightly damp inside could cause you to get an electrical shock and will render the phone completely unusable.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
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About the Author

Since 1999 Brad Harris has written on a wide array of subjects, ranging from helpful how-to articles about maneuvering through life to sharing war stories from navigating the campaign trail. Harris attended Michigan State University where he majored in political theory and has worked professionally in the telecommunications industry for over five years.