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Alcohol Won’t Solve All Your Problems But it May Help Your Phone

Jul 8, 2016 | How-To

Recently, one of O’Grady Plumbing’s HTC smartphones ended up in a sewage ejector tank after being dropped by a technician who was replacing a pump. It was a simple mistake. The guy leaned forward to take a quick look at the tank and — even quicker — his phone slid out of his breast pocket right into the sewage basin.

And while the cost of replacement was certainly an issue, the technician in question had delayed “beaming” all of the vital job information for the week over to our server so we could give our customers an accurate billing of the work we had performed.

While hardly a breach of security, and far from being unfixable, it was an annoying mini-disaster that made it necessary to refigure all the hours that were billable and all the inventory we used for almost two weeks in order to bill for the goods and associated time and to replenish the inventory used from the truck. Big pain in the butt.

You might be saying to yourself, those are luxury problems, and perhaps you’re right. Nonetheless, it was a task I didn’t want to have to deal with.

I called a friend. You know, the kind of computer genius know-it-all who comes in handy in situations like this — a welcome, sought-after pal when it comes to finding a solution that maybe can’t be looked up on a search engine.

This good friend patiently listened to my woes and then suggested that I place the soaked and sorry HTC phone into a bowl of alcohol. If the screen was damaged, said he, we might be able to at least retrieve the critical information needed and then take it from there. Whether we need to replace the screen or just toss the phone was an issue for another day.

I was somewhat apprehensive by the notion of dropping the phone in alcohol. Why would I want to plunge the device into another form of liquid? But taking the advice, I bought a few bottles of rubbing alcohol and poured them into a bowl. Then I placed the phone in the bowl for 10 minutes, oscillating it in the alcohol before removing it. I stuck the phone directly in front of a small house heater and returned the next day to see if luck would be on my side.

Bam! The second I pressed the power button, a light appeared and the screen was activated. The phone was now clean and seemingly germ free and worked as well as the day we fired it up for the first time. All data was there to be downloaded and nothing was lost. What a cool idea! Even if the screen was saturated and didn’t work, I still had the option of getting the data off the phone and maybe replacing the screen.

After my successful experience with the HTC and rubbing alcohol, you might consider trying this treatment should you inadvertently drop your phone in the toilet or any other body of water. Just be sure to allow the device to dry before firing it back up.

About The Author: Paul O’Grady is the founder and general manager of O’Grady Plumbing — San Francisco’s multi-generational residential and commercial plumbing company. O’Grady grew up in the plumbing business and his company is backed by three generations of plumbers. At O’Grady Plumbing, Paul manages a team of master plumbers who build, repair, maintain and retrofit plumbing systems and equipment throughout San Francisco and San Mateo.

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