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Add Cat Litter to Your Toolbox

Posted by fogview at 8:27 AM on May 15, 2009

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

12 Comments

  1. From Holger at 12:12 am on May 17, 2009

    Dry rice also works if you don’t have cat litter on hand.

  2. From McColley.net » Blog Archive » Use Cat Litter to Save Your Doused Cellphone [Electronics] at 6:50 am on May 18, 2009

    [...] or other piece of electronics with a trick of your own, let’s hear about it in the comments. Add Cat Litter to Your Toolbox [Geek News [...]

  3. From Save Your Water-Logged Smart Phone With…Cat Litter? | InfoAddict at 6:59 am on May 18, 2009

    [...] of water and now you rightfully believe all is lost. Perhaps not! According to a great write-up at Geek News Central, people are reporting success in reviving their phones using…cat [...]

  4. From Wouter at 7:09 am on May 18, 2009

    how about Silica Gel? Just save some baggies when you buy new shoes

  5. From Use Cat Litter to Save Your Doused Cellphone [Electronics] · TechBlogger at 7:13 am on May 18, 2009

    [...] or other piece of electronics with a trick of your own, let’s hear about it in the comments. Add Cat Litter to Your Toolbox [Geek News [...]

  6. From Amit at 7:32 am on May 18, 2009

    One word : Sunlight. Just last week, I dunked my E61. Switched it off, shook out the water, removed the battery, SIM card and memory card. Then put it out in the sun for a day. Works fine now.

  7. From Save Your Water-Logged Smart Phone With…Cat Litter? | Daily Debrief at 7:37 am on May 18, 2009

    [...] of water and now you rightfully believe all is lost. Perhaps not! According to a great write-up at Geek News Central, people are reporting success in reviving their phones using…cat litter? Geek News Central: [...]

  8. From george at 8:33 am on May 18, 2009

    just put it in a place that is warm and dry so the water will evaporate and come out. you can use the furnace room in your house or apartment. just don’t forget about it–that’s kind of an out-of-the-way part of your home so you might forget where you left it.

  9. From The Far Edge » Blog Archive » Use Cat Litter to Save Your Doused Cellphone [Electronics] at 9:08 am on May 18, 2009

    [...] or other piece of electronics with a trick of your own, let’s hear about it in the comments. Add Cat Litter to Your Toolbox [Geek News [...]

  10. From Dale Banks at 10:54 am on May 18, 2009

    Dry rice absolutely works! I buried my Blackberry Bold in it after it fell in the sink and got wet. Works like new!

  11. From Sneaker at 11:57 am on May 18, 2009

    Another good trick is a shop vac. I once soaked my PSP but used a shop vac to suck the water out of all the cracks and crevices. It can be more effective than shaking the phone.

  12. From Use Cat Litter To Save Your Doused Phone | Lifehacker Australia at 1:14 pm on May 18, 2009

    [...] or other piece of electronics with a trick of your own, let’s hear about it in the comments. Add Cat Litter to Your Toolbox [Geek News Central] Tagged:gadgetsmobile [...]