Bag of Rice Trick for Submerged iPhone

1 Posted by - October 28, 2013 - DIY & Crafts, Technology

I figured it would happen someday. I’ve had several close calls. Sometimes I stick my phone in the back pocket of my jeans and I forget about it until I drop trou, usually with my jeans pocket aimed directly toward the toilet. All past occurrences have ended with the phone dropping harmlessly to the bathroom floor. But last week, the unthinkable…

I was visiting my parents and had stuck my phone in my pocket hurriedly, probably to free up my hands to hold one of my two nieces, who are 4 months old and 2-and-a-half years old and both need to be heldΒ a lot and somehow manage to take up the arms of four adults pretty much all the time. At some point, I extricated myself from adorable baby girls for a quick pee break, but before I could even sit down, I heard the “ploop” that made my heart sink along with my phone. Fuuuuuuuuck.

I don’t have a picture to show you because I turned around and pulled that thing out without even blinking or thinking about how many poops had been in the toilet since last it was cleaned (probably lots less than it would have been in my toilet, because my mom is a better housekeeper than I am).

I dried it off the best I could and shook out the water from the headphone jack and the power port.

Later, my 2-and-a-half-year-old niece saw I was distressed and took the cleaned and dry-ish phone from me, noodled around with it, and then said, “It’s fixed, don’t worry,” and handed it back. She is cute, but I did not believe her.

Everything still appeared to work, but I was worried that the water would corrode things if I just left it be, so I brought it home and stuck it in a bag of rice because Pinterest told me to.

Image from

Image from

The hardest part of the process was being without my phone for 24 hours, which was as long as I could stand to leave it in the rice bag without going after it. Candy Crush does not play itself, people.

I had just enough rice left in my cabinet to get this done:

pintesters iphone in rice bag

When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I took my phone out and powered it on, and it worked! Hooray! A happy ending for all involved.

So, here are my tips for if your phone ever goes for a swim:

1. Don’t think, just grab. You can always wash your hands later. Shit comes off with soap, but iPhones are expensive as fuck.

2. Find a cute little girl to bestow her magical fixing powers upon your device.

3. Be sure to have just enough rice left in your pantry to do this.

4. Distract yourself from the lure of Candy Crush with many Netflix episodes of Ally McBeal.

Hope you have a similar outcome if your phone ever goes swimming in the toilet.


Bag of Rice Trick for Submerged iPhone
Article Name
Bag of Rice Trick for Submerged iPhone
The unthinkable happens, and the Pintester drops her phone. In the toilet. Can she save it with the bag of rice trick?


  • Bebea Caffey Boney October 28, 2013 - 2:40 pm Reply

    we have used this many, many times. danged kids!

  • Elizabeth Wedward October 28, 2013 - 2:43 pm Reply

    Did you wash the phone before drying it out? A poopy phone is not appealing, even if it is expensive as shit. See what I did there? HA!

    • Pintester October 28, 2013 - 2:44 pm Reply

      Luckily, the toilet was empty of all but clean water (well, as clean as toilet water ever is) when I dropped the phone in it. So no poopy phone. πŸ˜‰

      • Catherine October 29, 2013 - 9:32 am Reply

        Maybe just run a cleaning wipe over it?

  • Karyn R October 28, 2013 - 2:47 pm Reply

    After one too many close calls, my bra became the phone holder of choice.

    • MissCrystal October 28, 2013 - 2:55 pm Reply

      Not a great holder. Google it. Nasty results for prolonged exposure.

      • Tony October 28, 2013 - 4:14 pm Reply

        Oh, whatever. Everything will cause cancer nowadays. I can’t even drink a diet coke without getting lectured.

      • MGM444 October 29, 2013 - 6:58 pm Reply

        If you sweat a lot, it can have the same effect as dropping it in the toilet. The girl that happened to ran 10 miles that day, though, so…

  • Ashley Bee October 28, 2013 - 3:02 pm Reply

    I fell out of my tube on a tubing down the river excursion this summer. I can’t swim, and I had brought my backpack with phone just in case I got separated from the group. Getting thrown was terrifying, because of said can’t swim abilities (stupid me for tubing in the first place). Though my phone had a “life proof” case, a piece had fallen off, rendering it useless to its “8 ft of water safety” claim. When I got myself back together, I pulled out my phone and thank goodness, it was working. However, the light for the camera WOULD NOT TURN OFF. Then I tried turning off the phone, and the phone itself would NOT TURN OFF. I did the rice trick, and everything was back to normal in two days. Except that dang light, which never turned off. I got it disconnected to save battery, so no more camera flash for me.

    • Sarah October 28, 2013 - 9:41 pm Reply

      Why don’t you know how to swim? Granted, I’m from Florida so my view is probably skewed, but the only person that I know who does not know how to swim is my 79 year old grandmother.

      I apologize in advance if you have a disability that keeps you from being able to swim, but please stay away from water activities if you don’t know how! πŸ™ It could really have disastrous consequences.

      • Ashley Bee October 28, 2013 - 11:35 pm Reply

        I’m going to assume you didn’t mean to be offensive I guess by comparing me to the elderly or wondering if the only reason I’d not know how to swim is a disability?–I grew up with young parents who both worked, sometimes multiple jobs. We didn’t have a pool, or access to one, and we were hours from any body of water. Swim lessons were expensive, so I couldn’t take them. By the time we were more financially established, I was enrolled in swim lessons, but I was the oldest kid in the class by a number of years. I was teased by the older kids who were already swimming in the “big kids pool” without floaties, so I begged my parents to pull me out of swim lessons.

        If you grew up without money and were not near enough to a body of water to NEED to know how to swim, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to not know how to properly swim at age 26.

        If you put me into water, I can probably flail around and keep myself afloat. I’d recently plopped myself into the pool at the YMCA and doggie paddled the length of the pool, despite never learning how, as a personal test. So, I suppose more accurately, is I am not a STRONG swimmer, but I guess I was confident enough in my ability to stay on a large tube in shallow water to agree to tubing. Two lifeguard friends came with me. After my fall, they tied their tube to mine. I was the only one thrown from the tube, in the only part that was rough and not so shallow. Figures.

        • Midnite79 October 29, 2013 - 12:59 am Reply

          Ashley, you’re not the only one who took that post as offensive. Maybe it wasn’t meant that way, but that’s why people need to be careful with their words when typing and we don’t have the aid of facial expressions/ body language/ tone of voice, etc. to really know what the person really meant, and how they meant it. I don’t feel you should have to explain yourself at all, but hopefully it will cause that person to pause the next time they ask personal questions that are none of their business, and do so in a crude way.
          I didn’t know how to swim until I was a teenager as I had similar circumstances to yours. I also remember the humiliation of kids mocking me for not knowing how to swim. Some people suck πŸ˜‰ Kudos to you for not giving up and also not letting it limit you!! Yay for you! I can swim now, but I would be too scared to go tubing…I’m a chicken lol.

          • Stefanie Hilvers October 29, 2013 - 10:47 am

            My husband can’t swim either. (He’s 38). He alway tells people he swims just like a rock: straight down and quickly. While we were on our honeymoon, I tried to teach him some basics, just so if he was ever in a situation he could at least attempt to save himself. That’s when we figured out he can’t float either. So he might just be screwed. Anyway, my sisters husband can’t swim either. It seems to me, not being able to swim (or being a strong swimmer) is more common than Sarah thinks it is.
            Kudos to you for tubing! That sounds like so much fun! πŸ™‚

          • Ashley Bee October 29, 2013 - 2:09 pm

            It WAS fun, and I WILL do it again, but I’m going to swallow my pride and wear a life vest next time since the river is clearly not as shallow as my friends assured me it was : actually, more annoying were the rocks, I was trying my best to “swim” but kept banging my legs. Eventually I just grabbed my tube and let it drag me down the rapids, then my roommate met me at the calm part and pulled me to shore. It was scary, but I know it was just a fluke.

        • Isobel_A October 31, 2013 - 12:29 pm Reply

          I’m intrigued – aren’t you taught at school in the US?

          In the UK, we were taught at school (just basic, local State-funded primary, nothing fancy). The school didn’t have a pool but we were bussed to the public pool once a week for lessons.

      • Georgika October 30, 2013 - 1:01 pm Reply

        I lived in Florida until I was 16, and then moved to Tennessee (culture shock galore) I never knew anyone that couldn’t swim, until I moved. I think it’s a big part of where you live. In FL, you’re surrounded by water, so you learn, places where you aren’t, you may not.

  • Leigh October 28, 2013 - 3:14 pm Reply

    It’s not magic; it’s science. Rice is naturally absorbant and holds at least twice its volume in water. And water molecules form strong adhesive attractions to one another, so one water molecule follows the previous water molecule out of the phone and into the rice like a giant water-molecule conga line.

    • carryurcandle October 28, 2013 - 9:38 pm Reply

      “Giant water-molecule conga line” Love it!

    • Sandi Boyd October 28, 2013 - 10:25 pm Reply

      I am picturing this in my head like a cartoon from the ’60’s. It is awesome, and I think it should be produced by someone immediately!

    • MGM444 October 29, 2013 - 6:56 pm Reply

      More science: Those little silica gel packs that come in shoes can also help if you are low on rice.

    • Llama spit October 30, 2013 - 10:29 pm Reply

      See, my brain would have gone for the whole human centipede joke instead of conga line. I’m not right in the brain pan.

  • Lynds October 28, 2013 - 3:21 pm Reply

    This worked for me many times…once from a toilet mishap, and all the others from my kid thinking my phone is a chew toy. He steals it out of my purse and drools into the headphone jack, which makes my phone think there are always headphones in it, which means it won’t ring. But rice, and also a q-tip soaked in alcohol helps get rid of the water.

  • ChickieD October 28, 2013 - 3:28 pm Reply

    I’m kinda the expert on water logged phones. *sigh* Anyhows, I have found often there is this fake period of it working and then bam, it stops, or the camera clouds up, or the screen starts getting dim and then man, oh man, it is screwed up. With this rice trick, one of the big secrets is NOT TO TURN THE PHONE ON to see if it got screwed up or not. Because wet electronics is not good and you want to not zap the phone while things are wet. But I always have to see if it will work and that is my downfall. The time I sent a phone through the wash and then, unknowingly, immediately through the dryer was probably my best experience but probably not the best idea.

    • Ari October 29, 2013 - 6:22 am Reply

      I had the opposite experience. When my phone was first submerged it worked for a minute (literally) then didn’t. I put it in the rice over night and the next day it worked again except for the camera. It would just show up black. Then a few weeks later out of nowhere my camera started working again. Must of dried up or something.

      My husband did scold me for trying to turn my phone on right away after it happened and said next time to immediately remove the battery, sim card etc. and put it in the bag of rice.

  • Havana James October 28, 2013 - 8:22 pm Reply

    Apparently, everyone has had this problem (someone should invent some sort of phone guard for a toilet bowl). When I dropped my phone in the toilet I panicked because I do not eat rice (damn diets). The only thing I could think to use was kitty litter (new litter not old, wouldn’t want to trade human shit for cat shit) and wouldn’t you know, that kitty litter worked perfectly.

  • carryurcandle October 28, 2013 - 9:38 pm Reply

    My boyfriend ran his jump drive (thumb drive? USB drive? What the frick is it called??) through the washing machine. We took the cap off, and dunked it in rice for close to 3 days. It’s still working pretty well. So, this works for pretty much any electronic device. If you have enough rice to cover it, you’re golden.

  • Sandi Boyd October 28, 2013 - 9:51 pm Reply

    It’s good to know this is a good cure, because I watch my Ally McBeal on Netflix ON my phone (while at work). It’s amazing how a little Robert Downey Jr….or heck, even a little Peter MacNicol dancing to Barry White in the unisex can make a shift go faster!

  • Deborah Smoak Bobo October 28, 2013 - 10:44 pm Reply

    It does work! Dropped mine in a restaurant toilet – YUK! But my reaction time was very quick! BTW – you really need to try the mini-carmel apples…I so thought of you when I made them!

  • LizzyMom October 29, 2013 - 7:02 am Reply

    Also works for swimming Kindles. Sometimes you need to leave whatever got wet in there a llllooooonnnnggg time. I had basically given up after several weeks with the Kindle, but since I’d gotten myself another one, I just left the thing laying around in the bag of rice for months (forgot it). When I killed the second Kindle (don’t ask), I remembered the old one and fished it out. It worked! Well, except one button is still wonky, but, it’s usable!! Woohoo!!!!

  • Katy October 29, 2013 - 7:29 am Reply

    Rice is great and definitely don’t keep checking to see if the phone works (see zapping comments posted previously). Another good thing to do is remove the battery. That’s another great place for water to hide, and since it’s the source of the power to the phone, it’s also the source of the zapping. Phone and battery can both go in the rice. You might lost the battery but keep the phone. Could be worse. Could be raining.

    • Catherine October 29, 2013 - 9:26 am Reply

      Can you remove the battery of an iPhone? I always thought they were permanent.

  • steph gas October 29, 2013 - 9:19 am Reply

    i’ve heard whole coffee beans can work too. it doesn’t make as much sense to me as rice, but i have friends who swear by the coffee trick.

  • Beth Caudill October 29, 2013 - 11:59 am Reply

    We had to use the rice trick on an ipod touch when my mother-in-law ran my sons through the washing machine. We let it sit a couple of days (better safe than sorry) and it turned on and worked fine.

  • Kimberliah October 29, 2013 - 4:11 pm Reply

    It worked for my iPhone too! Thank goodness!!!

  • Beth October 29, 2013 - 4:32 pm Reply

    Yesterday my cat had an incident. I stood up to flush, she decided to jump across the bowl and slipped. Now I call her Captain Poo Leg. She was fine, but she wouldn’t sit still in the rice. I hope she’s not broken.

    • Elanor October 30, 2013 - 10:20 pm Reply

      Haha I laughed far too long at this. Captain Poo Leg ha, classic.

  • katiehippie October 29, 2013 - 6:33 pm Reply

    It worked for my son’s ipod nano after I had washed it in the washer.

  • Joanna Likness Pendleton October 30, 2013 - 7:29 am Reply

    I didn’t even know this happened. πŸ™ I was kind of up my own butt that day trying to pack up the house though. I’m glad it’s fixed!

  • Pinteste Round-up: Cha Cha Cha | Pintester October 30, 2013 - 9:50 am Reply

    […] Thanks for filling in the science part of yesterday’s iPhone in a rice bag experiment: […]

  • Fiona October 31, 2013 - 5:04 am Reply

    Had the same a while back (although it fell in, before I had started my business) Did the rice thing as well and yeah, it worked partly. My power button is permanently damaged, so I need several aps to get my screen on and off and so on, but it was only 3 months old *sniff* The real problem here is that the water inside might lead to more damage later. So even if it’s working fine now, it might rust and in a few weeks or months something else won’t work anymore. Which is why the repairman suggested not to repair the button (which would have been ~1/3 of the original price), because the chance it too high, that it’s going to fail in a few months anyway.
    So my best wishes for you and your phone and hopefully the rice removed all the water and you don’t have any follow up problems.

  • crafty grandma October 31, 2013 - 9:15 am Reply

    My brainy husband was sitting on the balcony and had his phone in his back pocket. It started to rain hard so he got up and went into the house. It became a torrential downpour. A few hours later (yes one of the few people who isn’t attached to his phone) he realized that his phone was missing. After searching for over an hour, I found it on the chair on the balcony soaked. I took the hair dryer and dried it out as much as possible, and left it for 24 hours….this was maybe 7 years ago and it finally died this year!!! Yay! to cheap old fashioned cell phones!!!!

  • Noelle November 1, 2013 - 5:09 pm Reply

    Rice also works on digital cameras dropped in the toilet. Don’t ask me how I know this. I left it in rice for a week just to make sure. Works like new again, THANK GOD.

    Rice didn’t work so well when my kid was 2, was watching me wax my brows and fell into a poo filled potty because she forgot to close the lid and flush before sitting down to watch mommy. She just wouldn’t stay in the bowel of rice!

    • Beth November 20, 2013 - 4:00 pm Reply

      “bowel” of rice tee hee

  • Brittany November 1, 2013 - 11:34 pm Reply

    I’ve done this many times with my phone. Though it doesn’t work as well with dog pee unfortunately……I’m a college student and I guess my dogs were made at me for leaving them for so long. They knocked my phone off the night stand while I was sleeping and at least one of them peed on it. -.- I’m not sure how long it sat there, but cleaned it with bleach wipes and sat it in rice for at least two days. It worked for a little while but I’m assuming between the moisture and whatever else is in pee, it killed it. Usually with just water damage, rice is great!

  • Sarah McMullin November 9, 2013 - 10:24 pm Reply

    My husband dropped his TWENTY DAY OLD iPhone 5s in the swimming pool. Relevant, he is a high school teacher and swim coach so our iPhones are BIG purchases for us. Rice for 72 hours did not work. $200 to the Apple Store for a replacement did.

  • Mea December 23, 2013 - 12:30 am Reply

    I know this is old, but just thought I’d let anyone know that comes across this. If it is anything but (mostly) clean water, such as heavily chlorinated water, soda, etc, the best course of action is to take it apart and clean it with distilled water. It sounds stupid, “Hey, I just dropped my expensive phone in some shit, let’s put it in water next!” but it helps clean the circuitry of things that can eat it. Like chlorine. Chlorine or soda or things like that will just say, “Yummy, circuits!” and destroy it. Then after the water, put it in rice. DO NOT try to turn it on. Take the thing apart into as many pieces as you can (water will hide anywhere, and if you have an iPhone, good luck). And try to plug any hole big enough for rice grains to get stuck in. Makes life easier later. Also, rice dust will be everywhere. Cans of compressed air are awesome for that. Good luck!

  • Alicia January 18, 2014 - 1:35 pm Reply

    Late to this party (boring day at work means time to catch up!) but can I just say it’s entirely hilarious how little we care about sticking our hand in a toilet when our phone falls in? In any normal circumstance, its the last thing we’d do. But the second you hear that plob of your phone falling in…hand in toilet without a second thought. Makes me giggle.
    And this happened a few weeks ago…I sadly had no rice at home so I was freaking. I took the phone apart though, popped every part out that I could and let it sit like that overnight. When I put it back together the next morning everything worked but the back button refused to. And then about a day later it magically started working again. Thank god for small miracles.

  • DaRizz April 7, 2014 - 12:45 pm Reply

    Did the same thing with my samsung a few months back… rice saved it but the screen slowly went out, then the sprint store broke it while trying to replace the screen and gave me a brand new phone! win. win. πŸ™‚

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