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If you’ve ever hopped into a pool with your phone in your pocket or perhaps dropped it into the toilet (I hope not), you may have heard to immerse your phone in a bowl of rice to help bring it back to life.
While this method does work, it may not be the best one out there.
The tech site Gazelle tested seven different methods of reviving a water-damaged phone, and they found the best way to bring your phone back to life is using silica gel (the sort you that comes in a little white package in the box with new pair of shoes, for example), which is available in crystal-style cat litter (note: they don’t recommend using regular cat litter because it’s too dusty).
Here’s what to do if your phone is suffering from water damage:
1. Remove your phone from the water source and turn it off right away.
2. Try to remove as much water as possible by shaking, blowing or dry-vacuuming the water out.
3. Surround it with silica gel.
Once you’ve gotten as much water out as possible, place it in a bowl of silica gel/crystal cat litter, using at least four cups and keeping it in a container that’s at least 1-2 quarts (a large mixing bowl, for example).
Note: If you don’t have crystal cat litter lying around, using dry instant rice is your best substitute, according to Gazelle.
Regular dry rice (aka the kind you have to cook for upwards of 40 minutes) is less absorbent than instant, so break out that Minute rice, if you have it!
4. Wait 2-3 days before turning your phone back on.
This may be the most challenging step, but remember: Good things come to those who wait! Letting your phone sit and dry out long enough will often be the trick to reviving it.
The other drying agents that the folks at Gazelle tested were regular cat litter, pearl couscous, classic rolled oatmeal, instant oatmeal, classic dry rice and instant rice.
Based on their findings, if you are going to use rice, you are much better off using instant than regular dry rice, as it’s more absorbent.
But if you have to run to the store anyway, might as well pick up some crystal kitty litter. While some of the other agents did work to help the phone dry enough for it to power back on, large quantities (at least four cups) of the crystal cat litter or instant rice worked the best.
And if you’re prone to dropping your phone in water, you may want to consider picking up a waterproof phone case. There are plenty of options out there for all sorts of makes and models of phones, and they are not as bulky as you’d think.