An iPod Survives The Washing Machine

Major catastrophe in our home a few months ago: my son’s iPod nano was left in his pants pockets–which were washed & dried with the rest of the laundry. Here’s what we did to bring it back to life, you can try this for all devices such as cell phones and digital cameras that were in water by mistake, no guarantees that this will work–but it did for us!

What We Did


  • We turned it on as soon as we realized it had been in water, just to see if it would work. It wouldn’t power on at all–completely dead.
  • We set it aside in a corner on the shelf to leave it safely out of the way and undisturbed. Checked for any visible signs of moisture to wipe away–there were none on the outside since it had been roasted dry in the clothes dryer. There was no way of telling how wet things were inside.
  • After two weeks, we held our breath, plugged it in and powered it on. It powered up with all the songs still stored safely inside.
  • Then we did a happy dance.

This happened in January of this year and it’s still going strong (it’s now April). My son’s a heavy gadget user and uses it daily, there have been no detectable issues or problems since the incident.

I had heard of gadgets surviving a trip through the washing machine or getting wet in weird ways (like falling in a toilet) if you give them a chance to fully dry before trying to use them (cell phones, pagers, mp3 players, digital cameras, etc.), but this is one tip I’d rather not have tried first hand ;).

I did some checking around and found these tips posted on the Apple forum:

  • Don’t Turn It On: Strong suggestion to never power up the device when you first discover it’s been in water. The electricity flowing through the wet circuits is really damaging. When we first realized what happened, we tried turning it on–but only once–then we left it alone for two weeks.
  • Water Damage Possibly Resolved Possibly Not: The owner has sealed the gadget in a bag of rice (suggested a few times throughout the forum), the idea is that the rice will absorb the moisture trapped inside. The next tip he’s given is to charge the gadget for 30 minutes, reset it, connect it to the computer, restore it then resync and fully charge. We didn’t know about the rice so we didn’t do that, but leaving it alone for two weeks to dry seemed to be enough. If I had to go through this again, I’d seal it in a container or bag of rice first (to draw out the moisture sooner).

Biggest tip out of this experience: Make darn sure to check pockets thoroughly before doing a load of laundry!

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    • Sonia

    An mp3 player went thru the washing machine at our house too. After drying completely it was good as new also! However, it did not survive having a 45-lb. dumbbell dropped on it.

    • Sarah

    At our house it was a mobile phone. Still works perfectly but we replaced it thinking the microphone didn’t work. Replacement went into the toilet and then my son washed it because it had been in the toilet. We opened it up and left it somewhere warm for a couple of days and now working perfectly.

    • Montgomery

    We’ve washed a Nintendo Game Boy, as well as several of the games over the years. Like you, we put the device wherever it will dry out the fastest, and hope for the best. So far so good. You’d think I would now check all pockets? Heh, not a chance. That would be 98 pockets a week!

    • TipNut

    I agree Montgomery, checking each and every pocket can get out of hand. There’s no excuse in my household though, everyone’s old enough to check their own pockets before tossing items in the laundry. I think after the scare of having the iPod washed, this will no longer be an issue and pants pockets will be checked without thinking ;). At least I hope!

    • Dolly

    My Hubby was an electronics expert in the USMC. He said to NOT turn on the item for a min. of 3 days. Any moisture inside can arch the electronic item and burn up the insides. If you let it dry completly first it will likely work just fine.

    • Laura

    hahaha omg I did the exact same thing!
    And it worked!
    Then anbout two months later i dropped my laptop and it broke…
    really broke…
    so sad:(

    • Jill

    God love ya… Thanks for the hope – it’s my son’s – hate having to admit Mom screwed up! LOL

    • Sandra

    My cell phone got dunked and sat in water for I don’t know how long. We dried it off as much as possible and popped out the battery. My son wrapped it in a small towel and has buried it in a plastic tub filled with silica powder (bought at Michaels). He says it worked for his girlfriend’s phone. We’ll see.

    • michelle

    The rice trick works at least for cell phones. My husband an avid fisherman comes home with his cell wet from rain or other such things. I keep a tub of rice ready and on hand just for that, I don’t want to eat rice that has had a phone sat in it. I take the battery out place each piece in the rice put the lid on, let it sit overnight and in the morning I just wipe it off with a paper towel. Never had a problem with it working afterwards and he doesn’t have to go without his phone for even a day.

    • isabel


      • Tipnut

      Still give it a try isabel, it might be ok. We did the same thing and luckily it didn’t seem to harm it at all.

        • isabel


    • Mike (UK)

    iPod went through the wash and dry cycles. Switched on, charged, did all the wrong things suggested on the internet. Zip. Left somewhere around the air-conned apartment for a few weeks until wife decided might be worth trying to recharge it again before binning it. Burst into life and all seems well. A few watermarks on the screen if you really look, but works fine.

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