Add Cat Litter to Your Toolbox

You may be wondering what cat litter has to do with tech. Let me explain.

A few months ago my T-Mobile G1 phone took a spill when I was on a photo assignment shooting Yosemite National Park. It Android-g1had been raining the day before and my G1 fell right into a puddle of water. I quickly picked it up and wiped it off, but it was DOA when I turned it on. I removed the battery and placed it under the car heater on the way home. When I got home I used a blow dryer to tried to remove any moisture that may have found it’s way inside, but it was still dead. I let it sit for a week and still nothing.

Most phones these days have a little paper sticker inside the battery compartment that changes color when exposed to moisture. I looked inside and sure enough the sticker had changed, dashing my hopes of returning the phone with the excuse that “it just stopped working.” I remembered a tip I heard about sticking the phone in cat litter to help absorb the moisture. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I wrapped the phone in a towel and stuck it in our half-full cat litter container. Two days later I pulled out the phone, inserted the battery, crossed my fingers and turned it on. To my delight the screen came alive and was functional again — well almost functional. Everything seemed to work except I could tell the screen wasn’t quite right. There looked to be a few bubbles which I assume was water inside the display. I removed the battery and stuck it back in the cat litter for a few more days. When I turned it on this time, everything looked good and the water under the display was gone.

Our cat doesn’t care much about tech and ignores most things after her initial investigation, but lately she does have more than a passing interest in my G1 phone. Maybe my interest in gadgets is finally rubbing off on her after all these years.

My tip to you if you find yourself in a similar situation is to remove the battery, shake out any water, dry it off and place it a container of cat litter for a week. I was taking a risk powering it up after I knew it still had water inside, so I was very lucky. Next time it’s going straight into the litter.

73’s, Tom