How to survive dropping your phone in the toilet… | The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook


On the 20th anniversary of the internationally bestselling original edition, the authors and experts are back to deliver crucial advice and guide readers through anxious and uncertain times …

Danger! It lurks at every corner.

Volcanoes. Sharks. Cyberbullies. Sinkholes.

From wresting an alligator to evading drones to landing a plane if the pilot passes out, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook is here to help with expert, illustrated, step-by-step instructions for life’s sudden turns for the worst. This revised and expanded edition delivers frightening and funny real advice readers need to know fast. With crucial information added from across the Worst-Case series and 20 all-new scenarios for twenty-first century threats (extreme weather, “fake news,” dropping a cell phone in the toilet), this action-packed hardcover handbook brings emergency instruction for anxious times.

The following extract is from The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven & David Borgenicht, Chronicle Books. 


1. Get the phone out of the toilet ASAP.

The longer it’s submerged, the greater the chance of water damage is going to be.

2. Turn off the phone immediately.

When water meets electronics, a short circuit is the surest cause of irreparable damage.

3. Take off the case.

If you have one, remove any protective case and/or screen shield. Place these accessories on paper towels to dry out.

4. Shake it out.

Vigorously shake the phone up and down, removing all excess droplets.

5. Remove as many components as possible.

Unplug any headphones, and remove the SIM card. If possible, open the back cover and remove the battery. Dry all removable components thoroughly with tissue or paper towels.

6. Clean the phone.

Using a clean cloth towel, gently blot the USB slot, the headphone jack, and other open-air areas of the phone. Be careful not to push any water further inside the phone in the process.

7. Stick the phone in a container of drying agent.

Find a container with a lid and fill it with a drying agent—experts recommend silica gel (“crystal” cat litter) or couscous. Place the phone, battery, and SIM card inside, completely covering them. Make sure the phone is positioned vertically, so any residual water can drain out the bottom. Then seal the lid of the container.

8. Wait 48 hours.

Leave the phone in the drying agent for at least 48 hours. Do not attempt to turn it back on or charge it before then, or any residual water might cause a short circuit.

9. Repeat.

If the phone won’t turn on after you try charging it, put it back in the drying agent for an additional 24 hours.


  • One in five cell phone customers will at some point drop their phone in the toilet.
  • Save silica gel packets from new shoe boxes and clothing purchases, emptying them into a container to use as an emergency cell phone drying chamber.
  • Some studies show that leaving your cell phone to airdry in front of a fan may be just as effective as using a drying agent.