What to Do If a Cell Phone Falls in the Toilet

By Jennifer Clary

If you drop your cell phone in the toilet, it is possible to save it from complete destruction. However, the longer the phone is immersed in water, the less chance you have of salvaging it.

Size

The small size of cell phones makes them easy to lose hold of. More than 850,000 cell phones were dropped in the toilet last year in the United Kingdom alone.

Time Frame

If you drop your cell phone in the toilet, remove it as quickly as possible. The longer a cell phone is in water, the greater the damage.

Prevention/Solution

Once you retrieve your phone, remove the battery immediately without stopping to turn the power off. Dry the phone completely, including dampness in the device's crevices. Although you can dry the battery thoroughly and try to reuse it in your phone, a better option is to invest in a new battery. Cell-phone batteries are relatively inexpensive, and replacing the old, water-damaged battery prevents it from leaking battery acid in the future.

Fun Fact

According to a report by BBC News in October 2008, a man aboard a train in France tried to save his cell phone from the toilet and discovered that he was no match for the toilet's suction system. The man was stuck in the train's toilet and, hours later, emergency workers had to take apart the entire toilet to free his arm.

Potential

Sometimes people drop their cell phone in the toilet, don't notice its absence immediately, and flush. Larger models may survive the toilet's current, but smaller phones typically go down the pipes and can cause serious plumbing problems. If this happens, try plunging and pouring liquid laundry detergent down the drain. However, more often than not, you will have to unbolt the toilet from the floor to pry out the cell phone and fix the plumbing problem.

Features

If you drop your cell phone in the toilet, you can try taking it to the manufacturer for a replacement. However, there is a feature on cell phones that the manufacturer will look at to determine the cause of the device's problems. A white sticker on the inside of your cell phone turns red if the phone has water damage. Most manufacturers will not replace a cell phone if it is malfunctioning because of water damage.