Save Your Wet Electronics by Sticking Them in Rice

March 24, 2010 at 12:01 am 2 comments

Simply put, when you make rice, you take 1 cup of rice and pour at least a cup and a half of water into it. Then you put it on the stove for a while and when you’re done, there’s no more water — it’s in the rice!

The point is, rice is really good at absorbing water.

So if you drop your cell phone in a bucket of water, toilet or swimming pool: get it quickly; turn it off; dry it and immediately put it into a bag of uncooked rice.

If you can access the battery, you should take it out too since some devices, especially cell phones, are still consuming power on standby, even when they appear to be off.

If you’ve got a wet vacuum, like a shop-vac, you should use it to suck some of the water out. A friend of mine (you know who you are) spilled water on my laptop keyboard once. I flipped the laptop upside down immediately, turned it off and pulled out the battery. It set it down and ran to get the shop-vac. While keeping it upside-down, I sucked all the water out of the keyboard.

If you try this, be careful of loose pieces. Some of these vacuums are really powerful — mine sucked up a couple keys from the keyboard, but I was able to retrieve them from the vacuum canister and reattach them. I left the laptop powered off overnight and it worked flawlessly in the morning.

Do not use a hair dryer or any other type of blower, you will only push the water deeper — gravity is much more productive at sucking water out than trying blowing it out with a hair dryer.

If your basement is stacked with boxes from every piece of electronics you’ve ever purchased, like me, have a look inside those boxes. Electronics often ship with silica gel packets. You know, those little condiment sized packets that say, “DO NOT EAT” on them? Those absorb moisture even better than rice and that’s why they’re there in the first place. If you can find any of those, put them against the electronics when you put it in rice.

After you’ve placed it in rice, you want to leave it there as long as possible. Although some people have reported success after only a few hours, you want to leave it off and in rice for as long as possible, 24 hours or longer if possible.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: All Recipes, Wiki How, Seattle Weekly

Entry filed under: Around The House, Computers and Internet, ProTips. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DF  |  April 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Most electronic devices are not particularly susceptible to damage from water alone. Integrated circuits are typically hermetically sealed, and there is nothing about the passive components that degrades due to exposure to water. Pure water is not conductive, so shorting is not a problem. If the water has a particularly high amount of dissolved solids, making it conductive, it would probably be useful to include a step where you rinse the the device with isopropyl alcohol with low water content. This is a common practice when cleaning boards after population and is completely harmless.

  • 2. Regina  |  July 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I can attest to this one. My cell phone got soaked. It wouldn’t even turn on. I diasassembled as far as I could and put in a bowl of rice for about 3 days. It had a day of figuring out if it was going to totally work, but it works just fine now.


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