Monday, March 26, 2012

Saving a Wet Phone with Rice

Never in a million years would I have thought to rush to my pantry for rice after my phone fell into water. 

Backstory - yesterday I was lounging on my patio, feet propped up, sunning myself with a book in hand.  To my left, a glass of water innocently sitting on the concrete.  In front of me and a foot away, my phone perched on an arm rest.  With the kind of brilliance that only comes in fleeting moments, I shifted in my chair with just enough force that the phone launched into a beautiful swan dive right into my glass of water.  Unintentionally perfect aim.  

Kerplunk!  Splash!

My phone was completely submerged in the glass.  I swooped in immediately to rescue it but it was clear water was working its way into the phone's innards.  It let out a pitiful beep and shut itself off.  I managed to turn it back on after an hour and while the keyboard buttons lit, the touchscreen was non-responsive.   

Under normal circumstances, I would have waited it out to see if time and dry land could cure it.  But with Mike deployed, I felt the immediate need to replace it.  Unfortunately for that time on a Sunday, no Verizon stores were open.

My lament on Facebook brought several suggestions to cover my phone with rice.  I was deeply skeptical.  How on earth could a simple white grain save my drowned electronic?

As if it weren't apparent from cooking all these years, rice loves to wick up moisture.  It doesn't care that it won't be eaten afterward as long as it soaks up any liquid you give it.

Still unconvinced this was anything but enormously silly, I took apart my phone, dried it off as best as I could, slide out the keyboard for maximum exposure, placed it in a bowl, and covered it with risotto. 

To my great surprise and sheepish delight, my phone works again today!  It's a tad sluggish, which is to be expected, but works fine otherwise.  The only hiccup is there is moisture trapped in the camera lens.  It will still take a picture, but it looks like you're looking through a foggy window on a rainy day.  Perhaps a few more sleepovers with rice will help.  If not, a hazy camera pic is the least of my concerns.

This little venture was a good reminder about being creative in a jam.  Fueled by Mike being gone, some extra bank in checking, and my distain for my phone model, I was all ready to run out and replace the darn thing, no questions asked.  Under normal circumstances though, I would have done everything to save that phone.

By giving the rice a try, I neatly saved myself anywhere from $75-120 bucks.  That's a smart move when I'm trying to do so many other things with Mike's deployment income.
To be on the safe side, I'm going to keep up with the overnight rice baths for the next few days.  It's possible the phone could still corrode, but for now, it's working properly.  Then if I do have to replace it down the road, I can at least have the satisfaction that I did everything in my power to keep it going.

Have you lost a cell phone to a freak accident?  My previous phone to this one vibrated itself off the couch and into a foot spa filled with water.  What is it with me and water???

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