The Rice Trick Does Work to Rescue Drowned Devices – Eventually

The Rice Trick Does Work to Rescue Drowned Devices - Eventually e-Reading Hardware Tips and Tricks

Along with small children, falls, and impact damage, water damage is one of the leading ways to kill mobile devices. But unlike those other causes of death, water damage is the one event which can sometimes be reversed.

One popular home remedy to dry out a drowned device is rice, but have you ever wondered how well it works?

The short answer is: not very well.

Back in May I had the bad luck to drown my $400 camera in my gear bag. I had decided to carry a water bottle with me, and then foolishly chose a cheap one that leaked.

That water bottle didn't kill my laptop, or my tablets*, but it did kill my camera. I was in NYC for BEA 2015, and thus limited by accessible resources, time, and transportation. Out of desperation I tried the dried rice home remedy.

Rice is not the only material touted as fix, but it was the only one that I knew I could get my hands on quickly. And it did work after a fashion - just not quite as quickly as we had been lead to believe.

Uncooked rice is not an overnight cure; my compact camera was sitting in a sealed bag with two pounds of rice for a good three days before it was even remotely functional, and it wasn't fully functional for at least a week after that.

But I can use it, and it is fully functional (aside from the auto focus getting confused). In fact, the video I posted on Friday  was shot with this camera.

So if you have the rice and a lot of time, you can use it to revive a drowned gadget. But you might want to consider using another drying agent. Gazelle, the used gadget dealer, tested all the home remedies last year and they found that rice was actually the least effective.

The most effective was cat litter:

  • Cat litter
  • Couscous (pearl)
  • Classic rolled oatmeal
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Instant rice
  • Silica gel (crystal kitty litter)
  • Uncooked rice

I wish I had known to try oatmeal; I could probably have found that the next aisle over from the rice in Duane Reade (the same goes for cat litter).

P.S. I also secretly wish that the rice had failed; that would have given me a good excuse to get one of Samsung's Android-powered cameras.  But that is neither here nor there.

image by stevendepolo

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

7 Comments

  1. DavidW12 July, 2015

    I used rice to rescue my Canon T3i Rebel (it is a dSLR) a couple of years ago. I left it for five days. Later I read that the rice has nothing really to do with it. It is not absorbing that minuscule amount of moisture trapped in the camera. It is simply that over the course of a few days the water evaporates and you can use your electronics once again.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder12 July, 2015

      My camera was sealed in a bag, so the rice must have helped.

      Reply
  2. TeleRead Links: Drying out your phone, writing on a $19 device, and more - TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics13 July, 2015

    […] Take: Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader (nee Ink, Bits, and Pixels, nee The Digital Reader) dug this article up, but didn’t mention what was, to me, the most interesting part—that Samsung Galaxies turned out […]

    Reply
  3. Frank13 July, 2015

    What does the * mean in the phrase, “That water bottle didn’t kill my laptop, or my tablets*,”?

    Why would you want a Samsung Android-powered cameras? They never got good reviews.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder13 July, 2015

      I forgot to add the postscript that my Fire tablet was drenched but it survived without any impact. It is a rugged device.

      Reply
  4. Justin11 September, 2015

    Interesting, thank you. I will try oatmeal to use oatmeal in the future.. Although, earlier this summer I dropped my BABY (aka the best phone I’ve ever had, my LG G3) in a pool. Or, rather.. I fell in, with it in my pocket. I immediately got out but man it was soaked, inside and out. I took it out to turn it off but it didn’t respond to the power button, instead displaying “SD card removed unexpectedly” and turning itself off, unable to be turned on again. I stuck it in a sealed bag of uncooked rice and after 6 hours, it turned on to an infinite boot loop. After about 20 hours, it turned on normally and has not had any problems since. So I have to assume that rice does work, but, maybe oatmeal could’ve worked quicker? idk. Hope I never have to find out.

    Reply
  5. […] all know how to use the rice trick to recover a waterlogged gadget (hint: oatmeal works better), but have you ever had to revive a book from a watery […]

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