What to do if your BlackBerry gets wet

Posted by Joe on September 17, 2008 | 573 comments | Filed under : Quick Tips

Panic. It’s the first emotion you’ll feel if you ever see your BlackBerry immersed in water — or worse, soda or another sugary liquid. If it’s the latter, well, you might be out of luck. I’ll give a suggestion later on, but it’s really for the device-savvy only. For now, let’s stick with the problem at hand.

The first thing to do, obviously, is to get your BlackBerry out of the water as soon as possible. Next, pull the battery and wipe it dry. Make sure to store it in a cool, dry place. Then it’s on to your device. I would suggest taking out a dish towel and laying the BlackBerry on it, screen up. After 10 or so minutes, flip it over. This will drain some of the water out of the device. It won’t get it dry, but it’s a start.

At this point, many are tempted to take a blowdryer to the device. I would caution against this. Not only will it cause the device to become very hot, but it also causes condensation while it blows. You might, for instance, see the inside of your screen fog up. This happened to me when I tried to blowdry an old cell phone. While your BlackBerry might work later on, this is still not ideal.
What I would recommend is — and you might think I’m nuts:

Yup. Stick that baby in a container of rice. The theory behind it is simple. Rice absorbs moisture. The idea is that this will suck the moisture out of your wet phone, eventually rendering it operable. However, and I cannot state this strongly enough, wait 48 hours before inserting the battery! I’ve jumped the gun before and my device has worked, but this comes as a strong caution from the tech people I know. There’s a chance, albeit small, that you short circuit the thing.

Note, too, that your warranty does not cover water damage. If you try to get a warranty replacement, your BlackBerry will indicate that there has in fact been water damage, and your claim will be denied. Those who have insurance — which should be everyone, considering how expensive BlackBerry devices are — should still be able to file a claim.

If it’s something other than water that drowned your BlackBerry, cleaning it might be a bit trickier. Of course, pull the battery first. Then, you’ll have to clean it with demineralized water. For instructions on how to disassemble your BlackBerry, check out BlackBerry FAQ. That’s for the 8800 series, but they have them up for most BlackBerry models. Warning! Do not do this unless you’re confident of your ability to disassemble, clean, and reassemble your BlackBerry.

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August 19, 2010 at 9:15 am
@Stephanie Rice baby Rice!

August 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm
i dropped my bb in the toilet ive been letting it dry out what else can i do

August 18, 2010 at 9:13 am
@karla Looks like you will have to either take it apart or bring it to someone who can. There is a chance it can be fixed but I can not be as specific as a tech would be.

August 18, 2010 at 9:04 am
@UR try sticking it in rice for a day – it does not sound like it got very wet.

If you still have the white screen you may have damaged the hardware. If you are careful you may be able to take the housing apart and check the connections to see if any are loose etc.

August 18, 2010 at 4:44 am
Hi, I slipped in the rain a couple of hours back and my blackberry bold was in my trouser pocket. The minute i removed it, the screen had gone totally white so i switched it off. The next thing i do is a battery pull and still does not work.
I can hear the calls and messages but the screen is totally blank. What do i do? I am so upset, just bought this one couple of months back.
Please help.

August 18, 2010 at 12:00 am
hey cooper, so Ive done what you have told me, and still the keys don’t seem to work, one thing i have noticed though is that once i insert the battery on my phone all the keys and the screen light up like its suppose to, but on one side of my keys aren’t as bright, I really do believe the sand has messed with the keys. The phone works, just the keys and the trackball don’t want to cooperate at all ):

August 17, 2010 at 10:01 am
@layal The distilled water technique is basically just to dilute the residue that may be on components. If your device is already corrupted due to liquid damage it can not really hurt it any further.

Anything that is not water will leave some amount of residue and most likely cause damage when the phone is powered on.

August 17, 2010 at 9:54 am
@Karla it is very possible that the salt has left some residue on yoru device. This can usually be cleared up with some distilled water but it is quite a process.

After the rice has done its thing, boot up the device. if the keys are still wonly then pull the battery for a couple minutes then replace.

Let me know if it works. Good luck!

August 17, 2010 at 9:50 am
@sarah I suggest trying a battery pull first – 3 minutes then replace. Try the keys now.

You may need to pull apart the device and swab the keypad with some distilled water then do the rice trick.

August 17, 2010 at 5:24 am
Last night i spilt a slight bit of tea on my bb 8520 (mostly on the keybord), it was fine, just slightly slow so i didnt think anything of it and left it as normal over night. Now when i use it the keybord isnt working properly, when i type a letter it will maybe type a different one etc, the select button will only occasionly work , and lots of other things are rong. HELP 🙁 will the rice thing work even if it was only a small ammount of tea and also because its been over 12 hours already since i spilt it on the phone.

August 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm
I accidently dropped my BB in the Ocean ): Then right away took out the batterry and have let it dry by itself, I have inserted the battery a couple of times, it turns on but the keys and the trackball dont seem to work, now i have just left it in a bowl of rice. Do you think the salt from the water has damaged my phone, will the rice work for my BB??

August 16, 2010 at 12:43 pm
My situation is exactly like sams except mine is with coffee. Would the sugar cause more damage or is it likely for my phone to work again ? 🙁

August 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm
I just feel it’s kind of odd to put my phone in distilled water im scared it will cause more damage. How long do I soak it for? Or do I just dip it? By the way thank you for your help

August 16, 2010 at 10:22 am
@Sam Just be patient – turning it on and off can have some negative consequences so fingers crossed it is not permanently damaged.

August 16, 2010 at 9:34 am
@layal If you keep it in rice for 48 hours you should not need the blow dryer step. Aside from that, yes this is the process.

It is important to note that there may be sugar residue left on the components even after soaking in distilled water. Whenever the liquid damage is caused by something other than plain old water there is the potential for damage beyond repair.

August 16, 2010 at 7:49 am
I was researching how to fix my phone because some coffee soaked it and i read that in order to get the sugar out is to dip it in distilled water? then put it in a bowl of rice, THEN blow dry and eventually the phone will be working perfectly. Is this true?

August 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm
My phone got beer spilled on it last night. I took the battery out and dried it as best I could. It was turning on but when I would hit the keys they would type the wrong stuff (like the back button typing a # sign on the screen) I left the battery out all night and most of today. I tried turning it on several times, and it powers on, receives new messages, shows my background, etc, but none of the buttons work and the screen goes black after a minute or less. The roller/trackball works but can’t select anything with it when pressing down. I took a Q-tip and some rubbing alcohol to the keys to try and get any residue out, now I have it in rice. Any other advice? Or am I SOL?

August 14, 2010 at 7:01 pm
I wanted to report that I dropped my 6 month old curve in the bathtub, immediatley pulled it out, it slid out of my hand, and I pulled it out again. I panicked and yelled for my husband. He took it apart and dried with a bath towel. He used a blow dryer on a cool setting to try to dry it out, then we tried to turn it on, but no dice. I called my best friend, and she told me to put it in rice. I took it apart and left it in a covered bowl of rice for about 20 hours, tried it, and it worked with no problems! I can still see some moisture under the screen, and I put it back in the rice for about 6 hours, tried it again, everything still works. I can’t believe it. I am going to put it back in the rice for at least 12 or so more hours to see if the moisture under the screen will dry up. if it does, that’s great, but I’m just thrilled at this point that it works at all!! Don’t lose hope, mine was doused not once, but twice, and it came back to me!

August 13, 2010 at 9:11 am
@Chloe If the OS reload didn’t work I am afraid you will need a tech to check it out to see if it is a hardware issue.

August 12, 2010 at 10:44 am
cooper it still says sos is there any other way i can fix the signal without puttin it in a shop

August 12, 2010 at 10:07 am
@BBMamas I personally would look at getting a new phone. Most other BlackBerry devices would have stood up against a little spray from the cleaning solution.

Can you tell me what the error was you saw on the screen when trying to turn the phone on? There may be a way to fix it for free.

August 12, 2010 at 9:48 am
@sillyblonde After a couple days in the rice try it again – if things are still wonky do a battery pull.

If they are still messed up then you may have to reload the OS files.

August 12, 2010 at 9:41 am
@Chloe There is a chance you can recover – after you get it out of the rice try the phone again. Immediately hook it up to desktop manager and backup all your data.

At that point if the radio is still not connecting (sos) then reload your operating system files and you should be back to normal. You can restore all your data after reloading the OS.

August 12, 2010 at 6:05 am

August 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm
I left my BB Tour on the roof of my car today and it took a tumble into a busy intersection. It was raining and got wet. I pulled battery, etc… and when I put the battery back in it reboots w/ LED light. The only thing that is working now is the track ball, but nothing else. What are my chances of recovery????? I’m trying your rice suggestions tonight. Thank you.

August 11, 2010 at 9:22 am
Hi guys im now a victim like all of you…my phone(BB STORM) got damaged like three days ago. my son sprayed it with a liquid cleaner(which is a bit soapy)i took it from him and immediately there was an incoming call, the phone was still on and i could see everything the only problem was that i couldnt answer the call coz the screen was frozen. i left it like that until it swiched off on its own…i knew nothing about the rice trick…. i took the battery and sim out for about an hour or so i put em back again and switched on the phone..it started showing white screen all i could read read was something like “error”…i switched it off until evenening and then tried to blow dry it..but it remained off until present. i found a place on internet where they fix berry phones(BerryFix in Sandton,SOUTH AFRICA)..i took it in immidiately yesterday but then the indicator was already red when i took it and they inspected the phone and told me they gonna have to replace LCD screen(only half of my original screen functoins )and some part thats inside and all come to a cost of R2240 which is roughly about $200 …now is fixing it a good idea or shoud i just consider buying a new phone?i need to know i love my storm but its really an expensive phone and buying a new one will be a bit painful!!!!ive had my baby BB Storm for a year now!!!! Kan jy asseblief help my?(this is Afrikaans) meaning can you please help me!!!

thanx: BBMamas

August 9, 2010 at 9:34 am
@Chelsey – give it another 12 -24 hours. If the keys are still messed up do a battery pull to see if they come back.

August 9, 2010 at 9:07 am
@Lamar Leave it in the rice for 48 hours. Plugging in the charger etc did not help things any but it may not have hurt them either.

After 48 hours put your battery back in and reboot. If the keys are not working right away then do a battery pull right away.

Let me know if it is back up and running.

August 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm
And also how long should I keep it in the ziplock bag?

August 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm
Cooper/Joe. I just got my bb Curve with the sensor media pad. I love it. No insurance however. Anyway, today, I was doing laundry, but I put my basketball shorts in a bucket of water and my bb was in it. I had music playing, then wen I heared it stop (after abt 6 secs) I knew right away that my bb was in it. I rushed to dry it off, put it n the oven 4 abt 5 mis, cooled it off, and now it is in a bag of rice. I tried to cut it back on, but wen I put the battery back in it cut on itself. I put the charger in ther e for abt a minute because it was dead and now the red and yellow lights keep flashing and the pad works, but no buttons are functional, and the backlight keeps flickering dem.. I put it back in the bag of rice. What do I do now and what is the probabilty of my bb curve being saved?

Blackberry user
August 8, 2010 at 5:44 am
Its been a week since my blackberry got soaked in a puddle of rain water (at camp). The same day i removed the battery and placed both the battery and the phone in the sun to dry. Its is dried now but its still not comin on wha to do?

August 6, 2010 at 3:38 am
so my baby brother threw my phone into the sink today and i took the battery out and i tried the vacuum and the rice. it had been about 12 hours and i tried using it the track ball will scroll but the buttons wont register they are even being used. is there any chance that leaving it in any longer may work or is it a goner. i can use a loner phone for a bit but i would really love to keep using my blackberry. 🙁

August 4, 2010 at 11:31 am
@Monkeysmom Both methods are fine. Be careful with the tweezers though.

That is the drawback of the rice technique – one way to prevent it is to put your BlackBerry in an old pair of stockings so the rice can not get into tiny holes.

August 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm
Also, do you recommend the compressed air for getting the rice bits out?

August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm
Hi- I recently got my Blackberry Curve and had it in a diaper bag this morning, where a bottle of formula leaked all over it!! It had the red light on and will not turn on. I did the battery thing a couple of times before looking at this site. I currently have it laying flat in a dish of rice, as well as the batter and the small media card. I notice rice is getting stuck in the back – should I use tweezers and will this work??

August 3, 2010 at 10:17 am
@Carlos Leave it in the rice for two days – there is always a chance for recovery.

Good luck.

August 3, 2010 at 10:16 am
@aalexis First things first – STOP turning it on. Water + electricity = fried BlackBerry.

Put it in rice for a day or two and try powering it on after that. If the keys are messed up do a battery pull.

Good luck.

July 30, 2010 at 7:02 pm
– HEY , my bb curve 8330 fell in the toilet yesterday around 1 or 2 o clock pm i immediatly took it out couldnt of been in dere for more than 3 secs ,

took out the battery &&

shook it to death

then got out the blow dryer and put it on cool til it dryed

dried the battery w/ a towel

saw some fog on the screen and kept blowdrying

then i let it sit for a whole && got on here and saw the rice statement and let it sit in there for abt 4 to 5 hrs got real impatient and put a new battery in then the white screen popped on and shortly went off a red light came on and then it went off and then my phone started to flicker green then it vibrated a bit bt i can not see anything on my screen . . . now its just sitting w/ me helplessly can u please help me is it a done deal or can we fix it ?

July 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm
ok my phone fell in the pool but i got it out very quick like less than 10 sec. i too out everything from the phone(battery, memory card, and sim card) i dried with towel and let it sit in un for less than 5 min. i then tried the vacum cleaner for alittle and some water came out. the the rice now u think it will survive???

PS: my phone is a complete touch screen with out the screen i wount be able to do anything

July 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm
The reloading the OS because i have a password and it was prompted to enter it. At that time, my keyboard didn’t work at all.

July 30, 2010 at 6:08 pm
The reloading the OS thingy didnt work which is why i then took it to the a company thingy to fix it and they fixed it and i used it today but now suddenly whenever i press ‘d’ it comes as ‘dy’ so i cant put my password!
I tried the battery pull but it didnt work 🙁 any suggestions?
Even though im definitely taking it back
because i payed about $60 !
PS. thanks for all your help

July 30, 2010 at 8:39 am
@CaseyG I will try to be as optimistic as possible here. There is a chance your BlackBerry will be fine once it dries out.

I would definitely get it into some rice as soon as possible. A day is probably all that is needed to wick out the remaining moisture but there is a strong chance that some sugars or other residue will be left on the components inside.

I put your recovery at 60/40 – let me know what happens.

July 30, 2010 at 8:34 am
@Tyra First things first. STOP turning it on LOL – sorry but that is the worst thing you can be doing at this time.

Put your phone in rice (remove battery and cover etc. let it sit there for 48 hours and don’t touch it.

Try the phone after 48 hours.

Good luck. Let me know what happens.

July 30, 2010 at 12:38 am
Hii uhmm today my bb 8530 fell into the tiolet…it was in the tiolet for about half a second. I quickly took it out the tiolet and I grabbed my hair drier…it didn’t stay under for very long so I put the battery in the freezer for about 5mins. After that I tried to put the battery back in…nothing happened so I took out out the battery and let the phone and the battery sit in a towel for a while. Then I tried once again..I put the battery in the phone and the keybroad lit up, but the screen didn’t turn on..the light on the phone lit up red…then pink..then red. I got scared and took out the battery. I’ve been doing that all day…and once the light turned blue and purple. Right now my phone is sitting on a shelf in a cool room drying…a few question on my mind right now..1)when should I put my battery back in.? 2)would it work if I put the battery and 3)what if my phone doesn’t work, what should I do.? Thanks =))

July 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm
I am on vacation with my family and after our car broke down in PA (adding insult to injury), a Fuze cranberry juice opened into my tote bag, submerging my camera, wallet, and… my blackberry. I immediately took the back off, the battery out, the memory card out. I did my best to dry it out in the car and am now halfway across the country in a hotel room, drying it (phone separate from the battery and the back….) and praying that i wake up tomorrow and it works again. It’s a blackberry curve- I’ve read that I need to let it be for 48 hours, possibly to put the whole thing in uncooked rice. Any advice (and optimism) would be GREATLY appreciated.

July 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm
thanks cooper! kepp your fingers crossed!

July 29, 2010 at 9:30 am
@Kimberly As long as you have not tried to power the device on with water inside it you should be fine. I suggest leaving the cover off but be careful as rice can get inside the device.

July 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm
does the cover need to be on when you place the phone in the rice? my bb drowning happened on the way into work, i immediately removed the battery and patted the phone dry with a papertowel. i could not get to the rice until after work…is it too late for the rice method?

July 28, 2010 at 10:42 am
@Maggie Excellent! Now keep it away from the water from here on out =)

July 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm

My phone definitely has some rice in it, but it works 100% – no button issues, nada.

I mistyped before – I’ve got a Curve 8530.

The tech desk at Verizon took a gander at it, said none of the water damage stickers indicated it had gotten wet. So despite the brief sink encounter, I think I’m in the clear.

Hooray for rice!

July 26, 2010 at 10:45 am
@Cassandra I can not promise that it will work but there is a chance. Particularly since the damage is only water.

Let me know how it turns out.

July 26, 2010 at 10:44 am
@Lila There is a chance but it is slim. The detergent can cause some major damage and leave residue behind after the water is absorbed by the rice.

Good Luck. Let me know how it turns out.

July 26, 2010 at 10:41 am
@Razan I did answer your question. You don’t need the keyboard or scrollbar to reload the os – it is all done through your computer.

Read the post and try the steps listed – I bet you it works.

July 26, 2010 at 10:21 am
@Rye Conde There is hope but it is slim. The detergent could very well have deposited chemicals and residue on the internal components that the rice will not clear up.

Keep your fingers crossed and let us know the outcome.

Good Luck.

July 26, 2010 at 10:19 am
@Maggie Good luck! That is the one downside of using rice and lentils etc – it is so easy to get a few stuck in the device.

After you have let it sit for a while, power it back on. If the buttons are still a bit wonky then do a battery pull (or two) and they usually set themselves straight.

July 26, 2010 at 3:03 am
My Blackberry Curve 8520 did a similar into-the-sink-death leap to Gina’s. After burning my finger on my oven, I ran to the bathroom – not thinking clearly – put the phone on the side of the sink, ran the water, and opened cabinets, hunting for aloe. A bottle fell out of the cabinet, knocked phone into running water. GAH!

I dried it off, and like a jerk, made a test phone call…?! It worked fine, but my boyfriend yelled “Turn it off, put it in rice!”

No rice in the house. Put it in lentils instead (I was tweaking!). Ran out, bought rice. Pulled phone out of lentils. Seems some lentils got IN it. Phone sounds like a maraca. Jerk Move #2: I turn it on again. It functions fully, but the power button seems to activate my the “N” section of my contacts instead of turning the phone off. I panic again. Phone off. Dismantled. Submerged in rice.

In two days, I’ll take it to the Verizon dudes who can hopefully get the damn lentils out of it. I can live with a quirky power button, if that’s the worst of it. Hopefully I didn’t wreck it further with my little post-lentil turn-on.

I’ll be back with an update…

Rye Conde
July 26, 2010 at 1:25 am
Hi Cooper….by accident I put my blackberry in the wash yesterday i didn’t know that till I heard a weird sound form the machine so I stopped it and checked what it was and found my BB curved in there. I wiped it and let it dry under the sun for a couple of minutes and shook off the water inside. I didn’t put the battery cause I know it may damage the phone because it’s still wet inside. Then I found your site and read the comments and did the rice thing…and it’s still there. My question is are there any possible that I may revive my BB since it was soaked in the water with detergent for a couple of minutes?

July 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm
and just so you know, im in dubai now with my mums phone :p

July 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm
um you didnt answer my question :

Cooper i cant reload the operating system because the keyboard and scroll bar don’t work, its just on.. And just to let you know, this happened to me about 9 months ago, I took it to the insurance company and they fixed it for about 50 dollars, I didn’t think of taking it to get fixed again seeing as i can fix it myself with your help 😉
THANKS BTW i really appreciate it 😀

July 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Hi accidentally throw my BB curve into the washing machine and didnt realized it for about 5 minutes , I get it and dried it with my shirt and let it dry in the sun for a couple of minutes and then came back to my room and shaking off the water inside….and tried to check online for some advice and saw your site….and now my BB is sitting in the rice and planning to keep it there for 48 hours. Do you think there is a chance that I can revive my BB when it was soaked up in the wash for 5 minutes with detergent soap? crossing my finger…..that’s my very first blackberry and it really upset me…thanks in advance!

July 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm
I had my blackberry curve 8900 in the bathroom with me while I was taking my shower. I came out and It worked fine the rest of the night. I went to sleep and woke up maybe 5 hours later, and the screen I was on the previous night before i fell asleep was frozen. I took out the battery then put it back in, and the keypad and trackball wasn’t working correctly, that’s when I knew it was water damage form the shower. I shook out the phone then i blow-dried it on [heat] for a little while and everything worked BUT the trackball. The trackball clicks but it doesn’t move/scroll. My blackberry is now sitting in a bag of rice, will this help at all?

July 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm
@Vanessa Yes there is a chance you can save it – after you get it out of the rice let me know if the red light still flashes.

July 23, 2010 at 11:45 am
Woowww, i had my phone n the bahroom with me last night taking a steamin hot shower, & i got the trackball a bit wet n it stoppd working. i took the battery out immediately and finished my shower. When i got out and tried to turn it back on it wouldnt come on, i tried all night and whem i woke up this morning. It did nothing until i came here and read these posts lol. Weird i tried one time and now its up and running smoooth. i hope it stays that way