What to do when you wash your iPhone on laundry day

iPhone turning on

A picture of my laundered iPhone turning on, taken with my new iPhone.

Friday is my day to do laundry. Exciting, I know. Well, last Friday I ended up washing my iPhone with my laundry. It went through an entire permanent press cycle.

And you know what? In less than a week, the darn thing started working again. This result is both good and bad. Good because, well, the darn thing works again. That’s a good thing, right? Bad because I already got brand new white iPhone 4S.

Do you see my dilemma?

Let me take you through the process* of what happens when you realize you’ve washed your phone with your laundry, starting from the beginning**:

*if you actually washed your iPhone and would like to know exactly what to do, take a deep breath and go straight to the bold bullet

**experiences may vary. greatly.

  • Open the washing machine, start taking clothes out to move to the dryer and see your phone in the washing machine.
  • Hope that you just dropped your phone into the washing machine as you were taking clothes out and wonder how that’s possible since you can’t remember the last time you saw your phone and why you didn’t hear the phone hit the bottom of the washing machine.
  • Go immediately into denial.
  • Gently place the phone on top of the washing machine and continue to load wet clothes into the dryer.
  • Start the dryer and load the washing machine with more dirty clothes as you say a little prayer in your head hoping that your phone will turn on when you pick it up again.
  • Pick up the phone and attempt to turn it on.
  • After 16 more tries, put the phone back down and go back to work at your computer.
  • Wonder if the phone works yet.
  • Check your phone again.
  • Go back to the computer and google things like “iPhone in the washing machine.”
  • Ignore the posts that tell you you’re screwed.
  • Note the numerous posts that mention rice.
  • Go to text your husband about all of this and realize you can’t.
  • Wonder what you ever did without a smart phone.
  • Find some rice in the cabinet.
  • Email your husband. Start the email with “so I washed my phone.” End it with a four letter word.
  • Post something on Facebook via your computer. Because people might be texting or calling you at that very moment. They need to know.
  • Put the iPhone in the rice, for goodness’ sake!
  • Try to figure out if you have insurance on your phone but give up quickly because the Verizon Wireless website isn’t helpful.
  • Ask your husband, via email, if you have insurance.
  • Find out that you do and go to call your local Verizon Wireless store.
  • Swear, because you don’t have a phone that works.
  • Don’t bother looking at the website (see above).
  • Get your butt into your car and drive on over to the store.
  • Remember why you prefer online shopping.
  • Get a piece of paper that explains the insurance you have and get the hidden website link you were looking for an hour ago.
  • Ask the woman at the store which phone you should use when she tells you to call an 800 number to file a claim.
  • Apologize to the nice woman who was only trying to help and didn’t quite appreciate your sarcasm in this emergency situation.
  • Wonder how people will know the exact moment you get to the air show the next day if you don’t have a smart phone.
  • Go back home and realize you need to pay a $169 deductible for water damage.
  • Ask your husband if he will transfer his upgrade to you. Note that you were going to use yours in October for a new iPhone 4S anyway.
  • Go back to the store to get your new iPhone because if you do it online, you have to wait longer.
  • Wait in the store.
  • Get annoyed because you brought your iPad and they won’t give you a wifi password even though you see every device in the store using wifi.
  • Read blogs on the Verizon Wireless display iPad. Via wifi.
  • Eventually take your brand new iPhone home and proceed with your life.
  • Wait a few days.
  • Out of curiosity, take your iPhone out of the rice and try turning it on.
  • Watch, in utter amazement, the white Apple logo appear on your old iPhone.
  • Take a picture of your old, washed iPhone turning on using your new iPhone.
  • Text said picture to your husband.
  • Find out that there’s a 14 day period where you can return your new iPhone.

See? Easy as pie.

I hate pie.

So, here’s the question. What would you do? Would you take the new phone back and hope the old phone continues to work for a while? (My husband noted that I might want to wait it out in order to get the iPhone 5. Whenever that comes out.) Would you try to sell the old iPhone? Or, would you just keep the iPhone 4S since you were going to get it in October anyway?

Help! I need your advice. I only have a few days left to make my decision.

Thanks, in advance, for your help. Sorry if I offended anyone with the pie comment.

Update (4.15.13): Almost 7 months later and the iPhone 4 I washed in the laundry is still working. I returned the 4s and now I’m holding out for the 5s!

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  1. says

    Return the phone! Wait it out with the phone that went through the laundry, if it is indeed still working!

    Oh, I shudder at how dependent I am on my smart phone. It almost makes me want to keep around a “spare.”
    ilene recently posted..FriendsMy Profile

  2. says

    I have absolutely no useful advice, except to say that this post CRACKED me up because this is exactly {to a T} what I would do if I washed my phone. I’ve had a few close calls but luckily always managed to swipe my phone out of the laundry at the last possible second. And I can’t believe it started working again~ that is so funny!

    Stopping by from SITS! :) Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!
    Amy @ Counting My Kisses recently posted..Disney Must-Haves {or Fun-To-Haves!}My Profile

  3. says

    I absolutely hate having to go to the Verizon store. No one ever seems to understand that when my phone isn’t working, it is a catastrophic event. I love this post. I’m visiting from Sits Girls Saturday Sharefest.

  4. says

    Hello from St. Louie. I found you through SITS. I’d return the new phone and use it til it no longer works or you can get the iPhone 5. Good luck!

  5. Kristin Williamsom says

    Amazing!! I had a similar experience when my iPhone flew off the roof of my car while moving at top speed on the interstate. I assumed it was toast, bought a new phone and then happened back by that same spot a few hours later and decided to stop. It was right next to the yellow line without a scratch (thanks to the otterbox that was in pieces). I took back the new one and am waiting for the 5. :)

  6. Jenny says

    Hey there,
    I say keep the new phone. Just recently Matt swam with the key to our car. That does not sound like a big deal, but it is a computer key :( We could not start our car from the beach. There is no back up way to start the car. We opened the back of the key and sat it in the sun for hours and thank God it started. Now for why you should learn from my mistake. I did not go get a new key for backup. This was over a month ago. Two days ago Dan and I left the grocery store with $250. worth of groceries and guess what? The key was dead. I called AAA to tow the car to the dealership to get a new key, but he could not get the car into nuteral to tow the car without the key. It was a long afternoon to say the least. Point being electronics are not meant to be wet. The lifespan after they get wet is probably not long. Just think you and Matt could have a backup phone!

  7. says

    I’m sorry to laugh at your pain but I was cracking up this whole post. 😛 And I vote keep the new phone, I had a phone that got water damage and it was never the same after that. It would randomly have problems and turn itself off and stuff.
    Camille recently posted..Oh So Pinteresting :3My Profile

  8. says

    I did the same thing and I am praying that my phone turns back on! I opted out of insurance and I’m now paying the price. I’m surprised how many other people have washed their phones as well. I panicked when I couldn’t find my phone anywhere this weekend and as usual, had my husband call it (I have a tendency to leave it in safe places but forget where they are). It went to voicemail, not even my voicemail, just a voicemail saying my phone number and I dropped to the ground and told him to look in the washing machine. It then dawned on me that when I washed the sheets, my phone was on the bed, all bundled in them. UGH! I’m hoping this rice coma will work for it!

    • says

      Even with the insurance, you have to pay because it doesn’t cover water damage! Be patient. It took a few days for it to turn back on. I ended up taking my replacement phone back and I’m still using the phone I washed! At first, I could only talk on speaker and people would complain they couldn’t hear me well. But it’s like new now. I swear! Now I’m waiting for the 5S. :)
      anotherjennifer recently posted..Sign a Petition for a National Commission on ChildrenMy Profile

      • says

        I wonder how long I should wait until I give up! Its been 3 long, miserable days now and I am using this prehistoric phone. I completely forgot how to T9 text and use actual buttons! This is pure torture for me.

          • says

            I tried turning it on and there wasn’t any signs of life. I finally caved in last night and bought a new one. Bittersweet because I do like my new 4S but my 4 was in perfect condition. I have definitely learned my lesson though, I will never do laundry without knowing exactly where my phone is!

  9. AnotherBrendan says

    you had more luck than me with my iphone 2nd gen to sumerised what I did: wash phone, Freak out, Put in rice Tell freinds, Send phone to apple. and despite it being jail broken and water logged then sent me a free new one. today I went through your steps.

  10. Alina says

    Lemon tart!!! So true, it happened to me, well not exactly…. It went thru the washing machine then the dryer as well :///

    This definetly made me laugh.
    Thanks for cheering me up…
    It’s in the rice… I’m hoping and praying that it will turn on… I already have another phone but this one had so much memories (having baby…and so on)
    … Hurts… :(
    I hope hope hope the rice thing works!!

  11. Lin Andrews says

    Guess what? I just waashed my Iphone . .it was almost comforting to know it didn’t walk out of the house by itself. Am headed to grocery to get rice . . .I should just keep a box around!


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