Wireless Service

Steps to Minimize Damages from Dropping Your Phone in the Toilet

Kyle Reyes
October 10, 2022

If you’ve just dropped your phone in the toilet, follow these steps with haste. 

  1. Remove phone from water
  2. Dry outside of phone without excessive shaking or agitation
  3. Turn off the phone
  4. Fully submerge the phone in rice or place it in an airtight bag with silica gel
  5. Wait 48-72 hours 
  6. Check phone for damages

Following those steps is important to maximize the chances that your phone makes a full recovery after dropping it in water. Accidents happen, and it's good to be prepared. So, if you haven’t just dropped your phone in water (which is a time-sensitive affair) then this article is the perfect place to learn how water can damage your phone should something like this ever happen and so you are able to spring into action and take all the right steps on that occasion. 

Whether you miss your pocket or otherwise fumble your phone, few circumstances are as frightful as when it happens right next to the toilet. Without mincing words — it’s bad. Water is like kryptonite to most electronics with phones right up there in the danger zone. Most phones are at least water resistant, meaning that you should not lose hope when you hear the splash of your device taking the plunge. This article will cover the reasoning behind the steps mentioned above, as well as other preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of leading your phone into a watery grave. 

What to do if You Drop Your Phone into the Toilet

Rice is a valuable commodity on the dinner table and is the last line of defense after your phone undergoes a water-based accident!

This section is for those who are either sitting pleasantly on step zero or are on what is probably the hardest step, step five. There is no way to get around the wait while you are uncertain whether or not your phone is working. Phones are such a big part of our lives! They have pictures and videos of some of our favorite memories and are one of the best ways to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world (or right across the street!). 

Unfortunately, accidents happen. No matter how careful you are, there is always a chance that something will happen and your phone will be submerged in water. This could happen in many different areas, but we’re gonna stick with one of the most unfortunate ones — dropping your phone in the toilet. To prepare for that scenario, this section will talk about the importance of following each of these steps and how you can execute them to perfection in order to minimize the chances of needing to take your phone for repairs or having to get a new phone.  

Stay Calm

It is worth noting that, should disaster strike, you should stay calm! Dropping your phone in the toilet is bad news, but the next ten minutes or so are crucial in how it turns out in the end. It is worth noting, as well, that the state of the toilet, say, if it’s been used or not, does not change the way you immediately respond to the situation. It is an insult to injury, nothing more. After you get to step six you’ll want to take a long wash of your hands regardless of the toilet’s state! 

Keeping calm lets you take each step and move through it with confidence. Deviating from the steps can make the overall impact of the unexpected dip much worse, and there’s not much you can do after these first few minutes. 

Remove Phone From Toilet

The first real step of this debacle is a pretty obvious one — take your phone out of the toilet! The potential of damage gets higher and higher for each moment that it is submerged, especially now that a lot of phones are water resistant. Since you’ve got the time, you can check out your phone’s IP rating. 

IP is how well the smartphone resists dirt, dust, and water. When looking at the specifications of your phone you should see IPXX. The first digit after IP is how well it withstands exposure to solids, and the second is how well it withstands liquids. In this case, the second number is more important! The first digit is rated on a scale of one to six, and the second is on a scale of one to nine. 

If your phone has a high IP rating, say, somewhere between six and nine, a dip in the toilet should not cause many problems. Still, it is better to be cautious and follow these steps to be sure. 

Dry Outside of Phone (No Shaking)

After you remove your phone from the toilet you should dry the outside and dab the ports you can find. The most important part of this step is not to shake your phone when you are drying it off. Especially with the charging port and the speakers, it is tempting to shake the phone to dislodge the water, much as you would shake your ear after getting out of the pool. Don’t do this! 

If there is water in your phone then you will, most likely, just shake it over more of your phone’s valuable insides, increasing the risk for permanent damage to occur. The long step, which is coming up, is your best bet to remove any water that’s gotten inside your phone. If your phone has a high IP rating then there is a much smaller chance of water getting into the fragile bits, but shaking it won’t help, even in that case! If there’s water in the phone then rice or other de-moisturizing agents are your best bet to return your phone to form. 

Turn Phone Off

Once the outside of your phone is dry, and this should be a quick affair, you should shut your phone down. Don’t send that last text or watch that last TikTok, if you drop your phone in the toilet then you want to cut power as soon as possible. We’re talking about a quick wipe-off of exterior water than an immediate power down. One of the biggest ways that water can damage phones is by shorting the electric currents that run through it. This is a strange case, but if, for instance, you had a powered-down phone submerged in water, the overall damage will always be less than a phone that is still on. 

When you get your phone out of the drink, wipe it off and turn it off. From there, we can go into the next step, which is the one where you have the best chance of getting all the water off of your phone. 

Submerge Phone in Rice

Submerging your phone in rice after it falls into the toilet is the standard way to remove any permanent damage to your phone and allow you to put this incident behind you once and for all. Rice is a great material in which to place your phone because it wants to absorb water.  Submerging your phone in rice lets any sneaky moisture leave the confines of your phone and lets your phone dry out and return to its normal state. 

Silica Gel substitute

There is another way to ease the water out of your phone. Silica gel is what comes in those packets that say “do not eat” in a variety of foods, especially stuff like jerky or other dried meats. They are there because they are kings at grabbing any errant moisture, like, for instance, what you find in your phone after it falls in the toilet. 

If you are not in any hurry, you can stock up on silica gel (it’s cheap) just in case anything like this happens in the future. To use silica gel, just take your phone and put it in a zip lock bag with a few packets, and close it completely. The vacuum inside will allow the silica gel to suck out all of the moisture in the bag and in your phone. 

Wait, Wait, Wait

Now, this is perhaps the hardest step in this whole process. For best results we recommend you wait 48-72 hours before taking your phone out of the rice or silica gel. During these hours, it is imperative that your phone stays off. No matter what, powering on your phone before waiting a few days will make it more likely that something bad happens on the inside and it does not recover from this ordeal. 

The hardest part about this is that there is no real way to check if your phone has any moisture inside of it or not. We recommend waiting as long as possible to maximize the rice or gel’s ability to take moisture out. Unfortunately, you won’t know until you take it out. 

Check Phone for Damages

After a few days have passed, your phone will be as ready as it’ll ever be. This is the moment of truth, as you should have taken your phone immediately from the water and placed it in the rice. Take it out of the bag, brush off any errant grains (make sure the charging port is clear) and power it up. Hopefully, your phone returns to normal and you can get on with your Instagram and texting. 

There are no real exterior signs of water damage, but here are a few things to check after your phone comes back online: 

  • Check that the screen responds as well as it did in the past. It should be snappy and precise as a response to your taps. 
  • Check all of the buttons to make sure that they aren’t gummy or stiff. 
  • Look through the camera to make sure that the lens and the features all function as they did in the past. 
  • Test out the speaker to see if the water has done any damage to its musical capabilities. 

If all of these work fine, then you are in the clear! If one or more of them are showing signs of damage then it might be time to contact a professional for repairs. 

Contact Professional for Repairs, if Needed

This is unfortunate, but sometimes there are easy ways to fix phones that have only a bit of water damage. If an easily replaceable part is the only thing that’s damaged then in a single visit a professional can fix up your phone. 

Depending on how bad it is, you can always decide to use your phone with the damage. Something wrong with your buttons, the speaker, or the camera can all be dealt with, especially if the budget is tight and a new phone is not in the cards. 

What to do in the Worse Case Scenario

With phones these days, a broken phone is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, it pays to be prepared for that outcome. 

It is unlikely that your phone will receive significant damage from falling into the drink, but it is always possible. Even if you go through the steps perfectly, your phone might never recover to its former glory. This is bad. The newer the phone, the worse the feeling. Regardless of your situation, you will be in the market for a new phone. Fortunately, there are a lot of options that allow you to get a new phone without breaking the bank. 

Certified Pre-Owned

These phones are under this tag, or something similar, based on the store where you are looking. This tag denotes phones that are used but are of a higher quality than the rest of the used phones, even “best” quality used phones. A lot of phones are returned after a small time of use, and the companies check them over and ensure that they have no problems before packing them under this tag. 

If your phone has met an untimely demise and you are looking for an affordable replacement, certified pre-owned phones let you get a phone that is fast and without any water-related damages right away for a slice of the cost of getting that phone new. This often locks you out of the most recent models of phone, but it does not lock you out of the quality phones of a previous generation. 

Shopping for a New Phone

There are a lot of factors that go into phone shopping, and we recommend doing some research prior to any new purchase. New phones are snazzy and have a ton of capabilities, but they are not always capabilities that provide a lot of value in someone’s day-to-day life. If that’s the case, then going a few generations down and saving a big chunk of that money could alleviate some of the financial burdens of this unexpected purchase. 

What are the most important aspects of your mobile phone? If it meets an untimely demise, it is always good to understand what you need when you get a replacement, rather than overpaying for the newest model just to get a phone. People are on their phones all day long, and they are an absolutely integral part of many of our lives. You want to find the right balance of a phone that lets you do all the things that are important to you while not going overboard, as phones are getting more and more expensive.

It is our sincerest hope that this article finds you on your phone and not having just gone through the harrowing situation of dropping your phone into the toilet. So, we’ve attached this lovely image of a cute dog to bring this frightening article to a pleasant conclusion. It is easy to overlook the fact that phones are so valuable to us. Most of the time this is true of monetary value, but it is also very personally valuable to us. Phones allow us to stay in contact with our friends and family, stay connected to work on the go (for better and for worse), and have access to an unending supply of entertainment that we can access from wherever, whenever. 

If you are in the market for a new phone, whether this is spurred on by the tragic and abrupt end of your old device or it being time for an upgrade then we recommend doing some serious research to find out what is the best fit for you. There is, most likely, a phone that delivers too much based on what you need, and phones that don’t deliver enough. Figuring out where that balance lies is key to finding a phone that allows you to do all the things you want on your phone without spending an arm and a leg to get it! From there, do your best to keep your phone from falling in the toilet or falling from any significant location and you’ll be set!

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.
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