There’s an old saying: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. This seems particularly true for many smartphone users. In a day and age where more people depend on handheld devices than ever before, it seems there is no shortage of dangers and pitfalls that can take out these ubiquitous devices at any moment. Water damage, scratches, dead pixels — these are all problems most smartphone owners experience at one time or another. And some damage can be so extreme that the owner has no other choice but to chuck their handheld and buy a whole new model. The tragedy is that, oftentimes, it simply isn’t necessary to toss out a damaged smartphone.

In fact, there are many DIY strategies that can help take a smartphone on its last legs and rehabilitate it to the point of “good as new.”


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Water Damage

A day at the beach or an afternoon by the pool can go from relaxing to harrowing with one unfortunate slip of the fingers. And time is of the essence when dealing with this all-too-common problem. Those who have dropped their mobile device in water need to refrain from turning the mobile on at all costs. Doing so will circulate power through the wet device that could ruin it entirely. Instead, experts recommend removing the battery immediately and drying the entire unit with a soft cloth. Then submerge the phone in a tub or bowl of dry rice and leave it overnight. Rice is a natural absorber of moisture, and should suck out any internal wetness in the device.

Screen Scratches

Another common problem, despite the durability of modern smartphones, is the ease of which many mobile screens can become scratched. Those who don’t have display protectors for their mobile device have likely experienced this problem at least once. There are many good scratch-removal products on the market, many of which can be had for a few dollars. However, there is one home remedy many smartphone owners swear by: toothpaste. Apply a bit of toothpaste (plain, no whiteners or other additives) to the scratched area of the screen and rub a cotton swab over it in a circular motion. Then leave for a few minutes and clean with a moist (not damp) cloth.

Frozen/Dead Pixels
These can be particularly ugly cosmetic issues due to just how much value is placed on the sleekness and quality of a smartphone screen. But a dead or frozen pixel doesn’t always require total replacement. Mobile users can gently massage the area in question with a microfiber cloth, as this process often reinvigorates the pixel.

While the above tricks should work in a majority of cases, some damage is simply too extreme to remedy. In the instance where a new phone is necessary, smartphone aficionados on both sides of the pond can score inexpensive handhelds quickly via quality online resources.