How Long To Leave Phone In Rice? [Drying a Wet Phone]

When your phone gets wet, you can dry it by leaving it in a container of uncooked rice. But how long is necessary? How long to leave the phone in rice?

Leave a wet phone in uncooked rice for 24 to 36 hours. The dry, raw rice acts as a desiccant or absorbent material. 24 to 36 hours (or 1 to 3 days) is enough time for the rice to attract and draw the water out of the phone.

Water is very capable of destroying your phone and unfortunately, warranties do not cover damage caused by water.

Rice could help dry out some of your phone, but not all. If the phone is very wet, it is quite likely rice won’t be able to fully dry it.

In this article, we’ll look at 7 steps to dry your phone in rice.

  1. Quickly Remove the Phone From the Water
  2. Take Out the Battery
  3. Take Out the Sim Card and Memory Card
  4. Dry the Phone With a Cloth or Towel
  5. Shake Water Out of the Phone
  6. Put the Phone in Rice
  7. Use Isopropyl Alcohol To Clean Your Phone

Read on to learn more about how long to leave the phone in rice so that your phone is fully dry.

how long to leave phone in rice

How Long to Leave a Wet Phone in Rice?

A wet phone should be left in rice for about 24 to 36 hours. 24 to 36 hours (or 1 to 3 days) is enough time for the rice to attract and draw the water out of the phone.

There is more to this process, however. Below are 7 steps to ensure your phone is fully dried using this rice method.

1. Quickly Remove the Phone From the Water 

If you have dropped your phone in water, remove it from the water as fast as you can. There should be no hesitations even if your phone is submerged in toilet water because the more water your phone acquires, the more chance there is that your phone cannot be salvaged. 

If you dropped your phone in non-salty water (e.g. while taking a shower or washing your dishes), then your phone has a higher probability of surviving than if you dropped it in salty water (e.g. in the ocean).

The reason behind this is that when a significant amount of salt is trapped inside your phone, it can cause corrosion. Corrosion might also happen when you accidentally spill a sugary liquid on your phone (e.g. a soda). This is because sugar cannot be completely removed from your phone. 

2. Take Out the Battery

If your cell phone has a removable battery, then remove it right after taking out your phone from the water. Removing your phone’s source of power will prevent it from having a short-circuit. Getting a short-circuit would be rare; however it is better to be safe, and take out the battery.

Do not charge your phone while it is wet. This can damage the phone and the battery.

3. Take Out the Sim Card and Memory Card

If your phone has a removable sim card or memory card, take them out of the phone. This way you are lessening the chance of ruining your sim card and memory card as well. Also, remove the headphones too if they are still plugged into the phone.

By removing these, you are lessening the chance of water getting stuck in these spaces and crevices.

To dry your headphones, sim card, and memory card, shake the water out, and then dry them with a towel. Then set them aside.

4. Dry the Phone With a Cloth or Towel

Before putting the phone in rice, dry it with a cloth or towel.

Water can cause corrosion inside your phone so leaving it soaking wet without even trying to dry it is not a good move if you are trying to salvage your cell phone. When water reacts with your phone’s components and causes corrosion, this will likely cause short-circuit and long-term damage. 

Another reason why you should not let your phone dry by itself without using a cloth or a towel is that water can travel inside the most sensitive parts of your phone so instead of salvaging your phone, you may lose it permanently.

When drying your phone, do not use paper because it easily crumbles and would more likely add to the impurities present on your phone. We’re going to later, recommend leaving your phone in rice for 24-36 hours, but before doing this, you want to dry it off with a cloth or towel.

5. Shake Water Out of the Phone

Shake your phone to remove any excess water. Hold onto the phone tight so that you don’t drop it! Shaking will remove some of the water stuck inside your phone (you will actually feel/see the droplets of water getting removed). Dry the phone again after seeing any drops of water come out of it.

An optional step before putting the phone in rice is to vacuum suck any excess water out of the wet phone.

Vacuum sealers let you apply suction to remove water but since you probably do not have a vacuum sealer, a plastic or ziplock and a vacuum should be enough. Put your cell phone inside a plastic bag or ziplock, and then turn on the vacuum so as to suck out the air and along with it, water.  

6. Put the Phone in Rice

Now that you have dried the phone and its parts as much as possible, you should now put the wet phone into a container of dry, uncooked rice. Also, put into the rice any wet parts that you removed such as the battery, sim card, and memory card.

How long to leave a wet phone in rice? A wet phone should be kept in rice for 24 to 36 hours.

The rice acts as a desiccant. A desiccant is a material that can be used as a drying agent. A desiccant attracts and absorbs the water present in its surroundings.

leave phone in rice for how long

Bury your phone in a container of uncooked rice, and leave it there for about 1 to 3 days.

The rice attracts the moisture inside the container which will make the water evaporate faster. To ensure that all the water has been absorbed completely, leave your phone on the rice container for 24 to 36 hours or longer. 

There are articles questioning the effectiveness of rice as a drying agent for wet phones, but this practice has been effective for many. Wet camera equipment can also be protected from a moist, humid climate using large amounts of rice.

To ensure that your uncooked rice will absorb the water that is trapped inside your phone, you should put about four cups of rice on the container where you will put your cell phone. A large amount of rice is required because rice’s moisture capacity or the ability to hold water is pretty low as compared to those silica gel packets.

When you take out your phone from the container containing uncooked rice, make sure that the grains of rice are completely removed from your phone. 

Using rice as a drying agent is better than using your microwave oven or hair dryer or exposing your phone in direct sunlight for a long period of time for the same function. While these methods can evaporate some of the water, heat, as I mentioned earlier, can damage your phone. 

You might think that if a material that can absorb water is needed, then salt might be effective since it absorbs water too, right? Yes, salt can absorb water but as I mentioned earlier salt can cause more damage than good because salts cause corrosion. 

Rice is one of the most popular drying agents for wet phones is that it is readily available at home.

Other desiccants that you can use are the following:

Silica Gel

You might have noticed the silica gel packets you always find in shoe boxes, vitamins, or some dry food products and wonder what is the purpose of those packets if they cannot be eaten?

Silica gel packets adsorb and hold water vapor, thus preventing the growth of mold and the possibility of spoilage.

Collect a few of these silica gel packets and surround your phone with those. Leave the set-up for 24-36 hours or more to ensure that your phone is completely dried. Place your set-up in a place that cannot be reached by children (Silica gels are toxic if eaten). Here is my tip: start saving those silica gel packets in case you need them for this purpose. 

Cat Litter 

Cat litter components include silica gel or crystal litter. Thus, this might also work well in absorbing the moisture from your cell phone. Unused litter only, please.

Dry tea bags can also be used if you do not have any of the above desiccants.

7. Use Isopropyl Alcohol To Clean Your Phone

Your cell phone needs a good cleaning if you drop your phone in a liquid that is not water (solid food, coffee, juice, toilet water, soapy water, etc.). And a good cleaning agent that you can use is rubbing or isopropyl alcohol. 

One property of alcohol is that it can easily evaporate so it does no harm to your cell phone’s components and inner mechanisms. After cleaning your phone with alcohol, allow it to dry for several hours until it is completely dry.

Some people submerge their phones on a closed container with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol for half an hour. While the cell phone is submerged in water they shake the container so that the alcohol can reach the inside of the cell phone. Alcohol removes the dirt/impurities that might have reached the motherboard of your phone. After half an hour, the cell phone should be wiped with a cotton cloth, then put in a container full of uncooked rice. 

Cleaning your phone with alcohol might be a good idea in order to remove the salt trapped inside your phone (if you dropped your cell phone in salty water). Just make sure that you remove your phone’s battery before you submerge it in a container full of alcohol.   

The primary idea, however, is to clean your phone first before putting it in a container with your chosen absorbent material. After cleaning it, then put the phone in rice for 24 to 36 hours.

What Not to Do When Your Phone Gets Wet

Do Not Charge Your Phone

I get that you are curious to know if your phone is still working but one thing that definitely kills a wet phone is electricity, if it is not already dead.

So, do not charge your phone because once the electricity interacts with the water trapped inside your phone, then there is a high probability that your phone’s circuit board will be fried (short-circuit).

So do not charge your phone if your phone is still working after you dropped it on water. Charging your wet phone can also cause accidents such as explosions, fires or electrical shocks.  

Do Not Blow Dry Or Put Your Phone In An Oven

Instead of evaporating the water that is trapped inside your phone, blow-drying might actually be pushing the water further inside, resulting in your phone acquiring even more damage before you blow-dry it. 

Aside from water, heat can also cause damage to your phone, so blow-drying and heating your phone using an oven are not methods that can salvage your phone. Heating your phone using an oven might also cause accidents such as a fire or explosion, which is worse than just having a damaged phone. 

Conclusion – How Long to Leave Your Phone in Rice?

So how long to leave a wet phone in rice? Leave your phone in rice for 24-36 hours or more until it is completely dried. 

If you accidentally dropped your phone in water, the first step you should do is turn off your phone and remove your battery. Then, clean your cell phone and put it in a container with an absorbent material such as uncooked rice.