How to Properly Dry Your Electronics (Without Rice)
Losing an expensive gadget due to its inability to handle a little splash is not that uncommon today. Most expensive gadgets are water resistant to a certain depth, meaning that they can be submerged. Some do not get that treatment, despite their price exceeding that of a perfectly drivable used car.
That means, a puddle, a slip of the hand, running or sitting at the wrong place, means that you might end up with a very expensive paperweight that used to be a flagship product.
Drying your electronics is not difficult and can save you a lot of money, if done methodically, following the tips below.
How To Dry Electronics – General Advice
The first thing to do once you see the unfortunate event of your electronic device getting in contact with water is to cut all power to the device. For modern smartphones, that could present a problem, if the power button does not respond. Most modern phones, especially expensive ones, have non-removable batteries, or rather, they are very inconvenient to remove.
Some phones have removable batteries.
- If your gadget can be turned off by removing its power source, that should be the first thing to do.
- The next step is to remove any other devices connected to the gadget, such as SIM cards or SD cards. Anything that might have come into contact with the water can be damaged by it, or might present an obstacle when we start to actually dry the device.
- The device should be disassembled, or rather, opened, and its battery should be disconnected, if that wasn’t already done (inconveniently removable batteries). This way, the device will be simpler to dry. Some devices might be more tedious to disassemble, like wireless keyboards, due to you having to remove all the buttons.
- There are various methods one could use to dry their electronics, without using rice, which might not be the best idea, even though it is quite a popular one.
How to Dry Out Electronics Without Rice
Rice seems to be one of the most popular ways to dry out electronics, and that method, while certainly a usable one, is very ineffective compared to other methods, and could be potentially dangerous.
Rice, oats, and other similar products, are not meant to be used as drying agents, but rather as food. Some people use instant oatmeal or instant rice, however, both suffer from similar problems. You can end up with rice or oats particles inside your device, which is not what you want.
Rice also has this problem of not being able to absorb water which is out of its direct contact. Most of the water inside the device will be in places which are difficult to reach, meaning rice is out of the question if you actually want to take care of your electronics.
Fortunately, there are many drying solutions that are more effective and less volatile than food.
This can be found in various containers, when the manufacturer wants to protect the inside of the container from humidity. Shoes are the first products that come to mind. Inside most shoe boxes, a bag or two bags of silica gel can be found, keeping the shoes safe from humidity.
Covering the electronic device with silica gel and leaving it up to 72 hours will be effective in getting rid of any pesky water. However, not everyone has saved a bunch of silica gel bags from their shoes and shoe boxes, which is why there is a very similar alternative.
Crystal Based Cat Litter
This might seem like a stretch, but crystal cat litter is actually silica gel, or rather, made out of the same materials. It is very good at absorbing water and available in every pet store in the world, more or less. It is also not expensive and it also doubles as actual cat litter, if you have a cat or any other pet.
You can fill a container with crystal cat litter, then put your device inside it. The device should be as open as possible, so that the crystals have more access to the water. The container should be closed.
The device should remain in the container up to 72 hours, but not less than 48. It is good practice to leave it there for more than two days, so that you don’t turn the device on with water still inside it.
A Fan, AC, Dehumidifier
Air drying is still an option, as long as the air isn’t hot. A fan blowing over an opened device will eventually dry the device, but it might be more troublesome if the air is humid. An AC typically removes humidity from the environment, meaning that it could do a decent job with your device. A dehumidifier is an obvious choice, because its purpose is to remove water.
Things to Avoid – Not Everything is a Solution
While some things might seem like logical solutions, they might actually cause more damage than they are worth.
Hair Dryers or any Air Dryer
If the device’s main purpose is to blow hot air, that might be a problem for electronics. Yes, electronic devices are designed to operate at a certain temperature, above ambient, but usually not above 80 degrees celsius.
Anything over 80 degrees for most modern electronic devices means thermal throttling and a loss of performance, or an outright shutdown due to overheat protection. If your device is off, it cannot shut itself down, meaning that you could damage it with a hair dryer.
Ovens are sometimes used to repair old laptops and their defective GPUs, but these methods, even when they work, are seldomly long-term solutions. For any modern device, putting them in an oven with the purpose of drying the device, can be a death sentence.
Imagine putting your new gaming mouse in an oven to dry it out. Its sensor might not survive the journey, among other parts.
Conclusion and Summary – Drying Is Easier With Silica
Drying your electronics can be done, if you react on time and disconnect the power source, meaning the battery or power cord, as soon as possible.
Rice and oats are not the best drying solutions, because they are not as effective and might leave traces of themselves inside the device.
Silica gel works well, and other solutions like silica gel, such as crystal cat litter. The most effective solution is to let a professional dry and inspect your device, especially if it doesn’t power on or shows symptoms of water damage.
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