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Rice is better used as food than drying agent, a new study says.

2 minute read

You dropped it in the lake. The stupid drunk guy spilled beer all over it. It fell in the toilet while you were pulling down your skinny jeans.

It happens to everyone — at some point in your life, liquid will meet smartphone. You will freak out, and your friends will ask: Have you tried putting it in rice yet?

But one company says your cupboard isn’t the place to turn. A self-serving new study from TekDry, an “emergency electronic device rescue service,” says that drying a phone in a bucket of rice is even less effective than leaving it out to air dry.

But their test didn’t even use a real smartphone. Their experiment involved a smartphone “simulator” because, they say, they couldn’t accurately measure water evaporation otherwise…

DTJ Consulting created a smartphone simulator for this experiment because a waterlogged smartphone drips through openings and seams in its case, which makes it impossible to isolate and measure the weight loss only due to evaporation in a room or placement in a closed container of rice. The simulator is a plastic box with openings in the top totaling 42mm2, representative of the openings in current phone designs. The simulator contained a small folded piece of wet paper towel with a water weight equal to 10 percent of the volume of a selected smartphone, because the internal spaces of a smartphone occupy approximately 10 percent of its total volume.

And the results, if you believe them, will make you give up on rice. Leaving it out in an open room for 48 hours resulted in the simulator losing 14.7 percent of its water weight, while putting it in a closed container of rice resulted in a less impressive 13.1 percent of water loss.

Because they are an emergency electronic device rescue service, TekDry obviously recommends you bring your soaked smartphone or tablet to them within 48 hours. However, if you live far from their Westminster, Colorado based, you can pay to have your device overnighted to them and fixed — for $70.

Whether you use rice or not, here are some other undisputed things not to do the next time your iPhone goes for a swim:

1. Don’t blow it out with a hair dryer, place it in the oven, or microwave it.

Adding heat to an H20-soaked phone could cause it to short-circuit and fry the phone’s insides. Don’t try to dry it out on a radiator, either.

2. Don’t charge it.

In panic mode, your first instinct may be to grab the charger and plug it into the nearest outlet. But you shouldn’t do that for the same reason listed in No. 1. Instead, you should turn it off as quickly as possible and remove the battery.

3. Don’t press all the buttons.

Even though you want to anxiously poke all the buttons on your phone’s screen to see if it still works, resist the urge. The only button you should be pressing is the power button to turn the phone off.

And finally, be aware that if you do drop your iPhone in water, Apple won’t save you. Even if you have the one-year warranty or AppleCare Protection Plan.

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About the Author

Jess Miller

Jess Miller

Miller is the former assistant editor of

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