What to Do if You Accidentally Wash Electronics

We recently discussed the proper way to load a commercial washer for the best results. In that article, we mentioned that you should always check your pockets before loading the machine to avoid damaging your clothes, the machine, or the items left in your pocket. For purposes of today's article, we're particularly interested in what happens if you accidentally wash electronic devices. So if you've ever misplaced your keys or AirPods, only to realize they are still in the pocket of the pants that are currently being washed, today's message is for you. Read on for step-by-step instructions on what to do if you accidentally wash electronics while doing laundry.

Believe it or not, water isn't the problem

If you've ever dropped your phone in the toilet, you may have quickly thrown your phone in a bag of rice in an effort to save it. Done in a timely manner, and your phone will continue operating long after its plunge. What you may not know though is that water alone isn't what causes phones or other electronic devices to break. In fact, ions or those small particles that dissolve in water are to blame. Ions cause electricity to go to places where it was never intended to go, and when it does, it can "short" or break.

That said, ions react differently depending on the type of liquid. For example, seawater has a ton of ions versus distilled water that has very few (if any) ions. As such, dropping your phone in a pool of distilled water is pretty safe, while dropping it in the ocean is a sure-fire way to kill your device.

Most Common Devices to Get Washed

Electronic car keys seem to be the most susceptible to water damage, but we also regularly see AirPods emerge from the wash. Either way, if you ever forget to empty your pockets and accidentally wash electronics, whatever you do - DO NOT TRY TO TURN ON OR USE THE DEVICE until you work through these steps as you could further damage your device.

Step 1: Turn Off the Device

First and foremost, if you accidentally wash electronics, turn off the device and remove any batteries or power cords. Without power, no electricity can short the circuit and you'll improve your chances of recovering your device.

Step 2: Remove All Water if You Accidentally Wash Electronics

Once the power is off, be sure to remove as much water as possible from the device. We suggest using a soft, dry, lint-free or microfiber cloth. Do NOT use heat, compressed air or a hair dryer. If you've washed you're AirPods, do not put them back into the charging case until they are completely dry (usually 12-24 hours following the accident).

Step 3: Allow Electronics to Dry

Simply removing water from the device doesn't necessarily mean that your device is "dry." However, how you dry your electronics depends on what type of device you've washed.

Generally speaking, when electronics take a plunge, we think RICE!!! So, get an airtight container and fill it with white rice (white rice tends to be better at soaking up water). Then, place your electronic device and any pieces you've disassembled into the container. Seal the container and wait. If your device took a quick dip, wait about 24 hours. However, if you accidentally washed electronics in the washing machine for a full wash, you may need to leave your device for up to a week.

Alternatively, you can use a chemical drying agent such as silica gel packets that you might find with your new pair of shoes or an electronic device, and they're perfect for absorbing moisture.

Whether you use rice or silica gel packets, just remember that the longer you leave your electronic devices to dry, the better chance you have of saving your phone, AirPods or keys. Remove too soon and water could linger.


If you’re ready to talk with T & L about purchasing commercial washers or dryers, contact us. As the top Speed Queen dealers NC, we are here to help you with all your equipment needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have about our products. We hope to work with you soon, to help you start saving time, money and energy with the best equipment on the market!

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