We Fact-Checked This "New" Way To Fix A Wet Phone

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
Even the most careful among us has occasionally headed to the restroom with a phone in her back pocket, conveniently forgotten until plop! you see it resting at the bottom of the toilet. OK, maybe that hasn't happened to everyone (lucky you), but for many of us, the threat of water damage to our precious smartphones is still very, very real. So naturally, our ears perk up when we hear about a new tip for saving a wet smartphone from an untimely drowning.

The latest, though, had us raising our eyebrows. Phone marketplace Gazelle found that cat litter is a more effective means of drying your phone than the oft-recommended technique of sticking your phone in a bag of dry rice.

It's possible that kitty litter is better at absorbing moisture than rice (which honestly, isn't the best drying technique anyway), but kitty litter particles are typically quite small — the perfect size to get stuck in your phone's headphone jack, charging port, or speaker grille. It's not worth getting those dusty little particles stuck in your phone's crevices. But we asked some experts for their thoughts.

The tech and repair gurus at Enjoy said that they "don’t recommend using cat litter, especially if the crystals/beads are small." Apparently, none of them have tried that method or found it effective. They recommend "putting the phone in rice or in a ziplock with silica gel packets, instead."

iFixit, another hub for phone repair experts and DIY repair guides doesn't even recommend the rice method.

"We are not in favor of using cat litter, or rice, to fix water damage," iFixit representative Kay-Kay Clapp told Refinery29 via email. "While both of these items may aid in the 'drying' process, they almost always don’t work. The only proper way to fix water damage is with an isopropyl bath, or using an ultrasonic cleaner. These are the only methods that can address the corrosion on the board which often happens when your phone is dropped in water."

The next time your phone takes a dunk, just stick with silica gel packets and/or isopropyl alcohol, and you'll keep your phone from turning into a tiny litter box.
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