Waterlogged Electronics? A Beginner's Guide To Repairing Water Damaged Gadgets

You've got a water-damaged electronic. What happened? Did your toddler want to see if your tablet would flush down the toilet? Did you have your phone too close at dinner when jostling elbows knocked a glass over? Or was it even worse than that – did your basement flood, leaving the laptop in your office slightly damp? Well, whatever the problem, there are a few steps in repairing a damaged gadget.

1. Try an Overall Recovery

If you pulled your gadget to safety quickly, you probably don't have to worry about too much damage. Simply pull the battery, SD card, and headphones out and let each piece dry on its own. For advice on taking apart and cleaning a laptop, check out this site here.

You might not have to do more than dry each part off. However, if you don't think that will be an adequate fix, here are a few other suggestions to try:

  • Rubbing Alcohol – wipe off excess water using a little bit of rubbing alcohol and a rag.
  • The Classic Bag of Rice – just keep your device in a bag of rice for 2-3 days (fully submerged is best) to absorb the water.
  • Silica Gelsilica gel works as well as the rice, since it absorbs water.
  • Vacuum Cleaner – try sucking out the water with a vacuum cleaner. Just make sure all small parts are removed or safely secured before turning your vacuum on!

2. Repair Each Section Alone

If those options just didn't cut it – or your gadget turns on the something funky is going on with the screen or speakers – here are some additional measures you can take to try and revive your device.

Make Your Speakers Speak Again!

Start simple in speaker reparation. Sometimes, it's not the speaker itself that is damaged, but a switch instead. This is most often the case when your earphones work, but your speaker doesn't. In that case, try these simple solutions:

  • Restart The Gadget – it may seem silly, but some people forget to restart their gadget after it sits in the rice. Even if you're anxious to start texting again, take a few minutes to pull the battery and then restart your device. That might be all it needed.
  • Q-Tip Fix (ideal for phones) – pull the cotton of one end of a Q-tip. Then push it down into your headphone jack. Twist it around, and pull it out. That should fix the short! You can watch the tutorial here.
  • Replace Parts – if your device is a bit larger, you should take the speakers apart. If you have damaged foam padding, replace that. If you see other damaged parts, you might be able to repair or replace them without having to completely replace your electronics.

See Your Screen Anew

Problems with the screen can be tricky to fix – especially if you've dried out your device and still see streaks. It's likely that you still have water in the screen or another circuit. In this case, you need to consider removing the screen and drying those parts individually. While this is easier to do with a laptop versus a phone, it's also easy to damage it. Here is a guide to taking apart and fixing an LCD screen with water damage. Also remember, don't use a blow dryer as you could force water back into the device instead of drying it off.

Return to Typing

If your keyboard is malfunctioning after water damage, there are some possible fixes for this, as well. Keep in mind that the more you push buttons, the more water will have a chance to spread throughout your keyboard (and into your laptop if the two are connected) and cause additional damage. Turn your keyboard off and avoid typing as soon as you notice a problem! Also check out these tips:

  • Replace Individual Keys – you probably noticed a problem with your keyboard because certain keys didn't work. If this is the case, you can replace the damaged keys and your keyboard should function after that.
  • Keep on Drying – sometimes, you just need to let your keyboard dry longer. It can take up to a week to completely dry out a keyboard, but to help the process, you can remove some of the keys so the board ventilates better. Replace the keys and see how it does!

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you face water damaged electronics. Cleaning and repairing individual parts will help the overall functioning of your device. Hopefully you didn't experience worse water damage than your electronics, however. Here's some perspective: phones can be repaired much more easily than your home's foundation! For more information on water damage cleanup check out professionals in your area.