It was just another normal night shift in the pediatric ward. Until I noticed that my iPhone wasn't in my pocket, just as I wanted to take a nap (somewhere around 1 am). Looked everywhere. Called the phone. Woke my wife up in the middle of the night to use Try My iPhone. Even tried to call up one of the patient's parent, who for some circumstances requested for discharge at midnight. No use. After close to 2 hours of searching, I gave up and went to bed.
Apparently what had happened was that the iPhone fell from my pants pocket in the bathroom and fell onto the floor without me noticing it. And when I opened the door, the phone was pushed to the bathroom wall, with a leaking shower head right above it. It was ledger just nice; every time I'd search the room it'd be between the door and wall.
So when I woke up and showered before clerking a new admission, imagine the horror when I saw the phone when the door was closed, the leaking shower right above with water dripping onto it. The screen was black, and I pressed the unlock button once with no response. Water was seeping out of the speaker holes at the bottom. At the instant I removed the case and wiped the phone clean. After I showered, I put the phone in my shirt pocket with a plan.
Water damage occurs from the electronics getting short-circuited. So there are 2 main steps to salvaging a wet electronics equipment: turn off the power, and remove the conductivity of the wet intruder.
1) Turning off the power - not easy when using an iPhone, which doesn't have a removable battery. And the phone was already unresponsive, so it wasn't something I could control.
2) Reducing conductivity - the most important factor is removing the free ions first. Ideally this means washing the salts that may have entered the phone with distilled water. This is more important if the phone got wet from seawater or pool water (and in some respects HKL water does apply) but it is a scary idea so I scrapped that. This is where the idea of disassembling a phone and cleaning the electronics with a soft brush and/or alcohol to remove salts for stuff with water damage comes from.
The next step is drying the phone. After I wiped the phone clean I kept it in my shirt pocket with hope that the body heat would evaporate some of the water while allowing an outlet for the evaporated water to come out. My plan for definitive drying was getting a calcium chloride based desiccant (ala Thirsty Hippo) to suck out the water inside.
I called my wife to send an airtight tub while coming to work and send Muiz to the creche, with the hope that the Hospimart in HKL sells such a desiccant product. Apparently it wasn't sold. So after 10 hours of discovering the phone I finally got a tub of calcium chloride from the nearby Guardian pharmacy. I put the desiccant container in an airtight tub and closed it with the iPhone inside.
44 hours later, I recharged the phone. 76% battery left, turned on as usual, and it was back to business as if nothing happened.
From searching the internet, there are other alternatives to calcium chloride (which in all respects pretty cost effective as it is):
1) silica gels - you'd need a shit ton, and who keeps these in their house anyway?
2) uncooked rice - you might want to keep it for 72 hours instead of the 2 days I used.
3) hot air - use with care as you might cook the electronics. And ventilation is more important than the heat itself with this method
So remember the steps:
1) don't allow your expensive phone to get wet.
2) dry your phone's insides ASAP, and don't turn the phone at all until it's already dry.
3) if you dare, clean the insides. You've probably voided your warranty already anyway, so it could be a reasonable step if you're desperate.
Most important resource (among others): Andy Ihnatko