Why Does Water Ruin Electronics?

Why Does Water Ruin Electronics?

Do you know what happens when your phone gets wet? It can ruin your device and cost you a lot of money to repair or replace it. Many people don’t realize this and end up ruining their electronics by accident.

While it’s well recognized that water and electronics don’t mix, understanding why is vital so you can safeguard your components from harm. There are a variety of variables to consider when determining how much water may damage your electrical parts.

It’s crucial to replace damaged items and utilize an enclosure to avoid harm when caring for your electronics. With the aid of ElectronicsHacks, discover how to avoid and deal with water damage to your electrical equipment now.

Below, our experts will explore the reasons why water damages electronics, and provide some tips on how to prevent it from happening.

Why Does Water Damage Electronics?

In reality, it isn’t only the water that causes difficulties. The impurities in the water bond to the contact points within the device, resulting in problems. If unknown contaminants do not encounter the connections in your gadget and create a short, your device may be entirely safe. Water does not instantly destroy devices; rather, it can cause issues [1].

Why Does Water Damage Electronics?

Even if your electronics are waterproof, there is a chance that they will suffer damage in the future. Water can cause corrosion, as well as a chemical reaction between metal and the circuit board, which can damage it. Electronics may function even with some corrosion; nevertheless, you may notice abnormalities or complete failure over time.

Did you know that water damage is one of the most common reasons for electronic failure? In fact, water is responsible for ruining countless electronic devices every year. While most of us are careful to keep our electronics away from water, accidents can happen. Whether it’s a spilled glass of water or a drop in the toilet, water and electronics don’t mix. So what exactly happens when water comes into contact with your device?

Water damage can occur in a number of ways. The most common is liquid spills, such as spilling a drink on your laptop or dropping your phone in the toilet. Water can also enter your devices through humid air, condensation, or even sweat. And once water gets inside your device, it can wreak havoc on the sensitive electronic components inside.

How Does Water Damage Electronics:

Water Could Cause Corrosion

If the water does not cause a short circuit, it can lead to further corrosion. While corrosion is a different type of damage and generally takes longer to detect, it is still detrimental to the functionality of electronics. Corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals meet each other.

This contact creates an electrolyte that can corrode the metals. In order for corrosion to occur, water must be present. When water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals and other impurities that can further damage the metal surfaces.

Impurities And Ions Lead To Short-Circuiting

Water, like all liquids, contains impurities and ions that are not visible to the naked eye. If these pollutants and ions combine, they may be able to connect two contact points inside a gadget. This link might divert the electricity where it is not supposed to go. The redirected current could cause the electronic components to short-circuit [2].

Impurities And Ions Lead To Short-Circuiting

Water is not a good conductor of electricity. However, the impurities and ions present in water can create a path for current to flow through. When this happens, it could lead to an electrical short.

An electrical short is when there is an unintended path for the current to travel. This often happens when there are two conductors that encounter each other. When this occurs, it can cause sparks and damage the electronic components.


You may not think that condensation is as damaging as water, but it can actually be just as harmful. When water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals and other impurities that can further damage the metal surfaces.

These impurities can create a path for current to flow through, which can lead to an electrical short. In addition, the moisture from condensation can cause corrosion. So, if you see any condensation on your electronics, it is best to remove it immediately.

Damaged Display Screens

One of the most common problems that people have with their electronics are damaged display screens. Water can cause the display screen to crack, shatter, or become discolored.

This is because water can seep into the cracks and crevices of the display screen and cause the glass to expand. When this happens, it can put pressure on the delicate components inside the electronic device and damage them.

If you have a cracked or shattered display screen, it is best to get it replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of further damaging your device.

Discoloration can also occur if water gets trapped under the display screen. This is because water can react with certain chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process of the display screen.

As a result, it is important to wipe down your display screen with a clean, dry cloth if it meets water.

Damaged Hard Drive Platter

The hard drive platter is the part of the hard drive that stores all of your data. If water somehow comes into contact with this platter, it can cause the data to become corrupt or even lost.

Damaged Hard Drive Platter

This is because water can damage the delicate components inside the hard drive. In addition, water can also corrode the metal surfaces of the hard drive. As a result, it is important to keep your hard drive away from any sources of moisture.

If you think that your hard drive has been damaged by water, it is best to take it to a professional for further inspection. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing all of your data.

Can You Replace Water-Damaged Electronics?

If water damage is severe enough on a circuit board, it may be possible to repair it. But the success of your efforts will be determined by how the component was damaged, how long it took for you to respond, and the power condition at the time of the accident. Before you know it, your circuit board might be corroding for extended periods of time [3].

If you’re not sure if your damaged equipment can be fixed, send it to a professional for cleaning and repair. It’s preferable to hire an expert rather than attempting to remove corrosion from electronics on your own.

If your electronic device has been exposed to water, remove the battery immediately. This will help prevent further corrosion. If possible, take the device apart and dry each component separately. If you’re not comfortable taking apart your devices, you can send them to a professional for cleaning and repair.

How Can You Avoid Water Damage To Your Electronic Components?

Water damage to electronic components is one of the most common problems that people face. There are many ways that water can damage your electronics, but there are also ways that you can avoid this type of damage [4].

How Can You Avoid Water Damage To Your Electronic Components?

One way to avoid water damage to your electronics is to keep them away from sources of moisture. This includes keeping them away from humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and other devices that release moisture into the air. You should also avoid using your electronics in areas where there is a lot of condensation, such as bathrooms or kitchens.

When searching for the perfect enclosure, keep an eye out for an ingress rating (IP). The degree to which a container protects electronic components against solid particles and water is determined by this measurement. A high ingress count indicates greater water protection. These enclosures are commonly used to safeguard electronics from water and other hazardous substances.

Another way to avoid water damage to your electronics is to use a waterproof case or bag when you are transporting them. This will protect your electronics from being exposed to moisture while they are in transit.

One more approach to increase protection is to use nested cages/enclosures. You’re considerably more likely to avoid water damage if you have several enclosures surrounding the electronic components. Electrical equipment that is put outside of buildings often undergoes this treatment.

Finally, you should always make sure that your electronics are properly ventilated. This will allow any moisture that does get into the electronic components to dissipate quickly, preventing it from causing damage.

What To Do When Electronics Get Damp?

If your electronics meet water, there are a few things you can do to try and salvage them [5]:

  • First, turn off the device if it’s still on. Then, remove any removable parts like batteries or SIM cards. If the device is plugged in, unplug it;
  • Next, use a dry cloth to blot as much water off the device as possible. Try not to press too hard or rub too vigorously, as this could push water further into the device;

What To Do When Electronics Get Damp?

  • Finally, put your electronic device in a safe place where it won’t get jostled around too much as it dries out;

Comparison of Indicators on Why Water Damages Electronics

In this table, we will compare various indicators that explain why water ruins electronics.

Indicator Freshwater Saltwater Deionized Water
Water Conductivity Moderate High Low
Dissolved Salts Low High None
Corrosion Potential Low High Low
Electrical Resistance Moderate Low High

The table compares four critical indicators that explain why water damages electronics. These indicators are Water Conductivity, Dissolved Salts, Corrosion Potential, and Electrical Resistance. Water conductivity refers to the ability of water to conduct electricity. Dissolved salts indicate the presence of minerals in the water, which can increase its electrical conductivity. Corrosion potential refers to the chemical reactions that occur when water comes in contact with metal components in electronic devices, leading to corrosion. Electrical resistance measures the difficulty that water poses to the flow of electricity.

The table provides a comparison of these indicators for fresh water, saltwater, and deionized water. Deionized water has a low conductivity level, lacks dissolved salts, and has low corrosion potential, making it the least harmful to electronics. Saltwater has a high conductivity level, high dissolved salts, high corrosion potential, and low electrical resistance, making it the most damaging to electronics. Freshwater falls in between the two and is generally less harmful than saltwater but more harmful than deionized water.


Why does water ruin electronics but alcohol often doesn’t?

The short answer is that water is a very good conductor of electricity, while alcohol is not. That means that when water meets electronic components, it can cause a sudden and uncontrolled flow of electricity that can damage or destroy the components.

Alcohol, on the other hand, is a poor conductor of electricity and so it doesn’t pose the same risk.

Of course, there are other factors to consider as well.

For example, even though alcohol may not conduct electricity as well as water, it can still cause damage if it gets inside delicate electronic components and causes corrosion.

And of course, you should always be careful with any kind of liquid around electronics – even if it’s not water!

Can you repair water-damaged electronics?

The internal circuitry of your electronic devices is likely to be beyond repair if they were completely immersed in water. Damaged components may be replaced, but the expense of the parts and repairs will most certainly be prohibitive. Electronics that have been submerged are usually preferable to replacing them [6].

How does water damage a circuit board?

Water can damage a circuit board in several ways. The most common way is by shorting out the electrical components on the board. This can happen if water gets into the cracks and crevices of the board and encounters the electrical components. Water can also corrode the metal traces on a circuit board over time. This type of damage is usually not covered by a warranty.

Another way water can damage a circuit board is by causing it to swell. This can happen if water seeps into the pores of the board and causes it to expand. Swelling can cause solder joints to crack and break, which will eventually lead to component failure.

How long does it take electronics to dry out?

Cover the gadget with a dry, powdered drying agent. The most frequent dryer used to assist with this is white rice. While it is readily accessible and inexpensive, it may not be as efficient as other drying agents.

You can also use silica gel (which is often employed for floral preservation. It’s best to utilize the same grit as found in those tiny bags that come in the box with your device).

Silica gel is a type of desiccant that looks and feels like sand or another fine grain granule. In reality, it’s likely to be far more effective than white rice. Cover your gadget with the drying agent in an airtight container for at least 48 hours. Depending on how long and completely immersed your device was, it may take longer in the drying agent [7].

In some circumstances, the equipment may need to stay for up to a week – without attempting to see if it will power on again. The important thing to remember is that the longer you leave the device in the drying agent without trying to see if it will turn on, the more likely it is to function when you reinsert the battery and/or turn it back on when it’s truly dry.

If your gadget won’t start after a week in the drying agent, there’s a good chance it’s irreparable.

Does water cause short-circuit?

Yes, water can cause short-circuit. When water comes into contact with an electrical circuit, it can disrupt the flow of electrons. This can cause a build-up of electrical charge and eventually lead to short-circuit.

Short-circuits are one of the leading causes of electronic equipment failure. They can damage delicate components and cause them to malfunction. In some cases, short-circuits can even start fires.

Water is an especially dangerous substance when it comes to electronics because it is such an excellent conductor of electricity. Even a small amount of water can cause serious problems. That’s why it’s important to be careful around electronic devices when you’re wet or standing in water.

What do you do if you spill water on your Xbox One?

Water is one of the worst things you can do to your Xbox One. It not only damages the console itself but also voids your warranty.

When water encounters electronic components, it can cause a short circuit. This can lead to permanent damage to your Xbox One and any attached accessories.

If you spill water on your Xbox One, it’s important to act quickly. Turn off the console and unplug all power sources. Then, remove any wet accessories and allow the console to air dry for at least 24 hours [8].

If you’re lucky, your Xbox One will survive a spill with no lasting damage. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and assume that water damage is irreparable.

Will a circuit board work after getting wet?

If water or any other liquid enters the device, it may short out the circuit boards and render it inoperative. When the board is dry, cleaning it might sometimes restore functionality. Water is one of the most damaging substances for electronics. It can cause short circuits, corrosion, and other issues.

Water is made up of molecules that are electrically charged. When these molecules meet electronic components, they can disrupt the flow of electricity. This can lead to a short circuit, which can damage or destroy the electronic component [9].

Water can also cause corrosion. This happens when the water molecules interact with the metals in the electronic device. The interaction causes a chemical reaction that eats away at the metal, causing it to corrode. Corrosion can damage the circuitry and make it difficult for the electronic device to function properly.

In some cases, water can damage the electronic device beyond repair. If you have a water-damaged electronic device, it is best to take it to a professional who can assess the damage and make repairs as necessary.

Can you fix a water-damaged motherboard?

It’s possible to fix a water-damaged motherboard, but it’s not always worth the time and effort.

If your motherboard has been damaged by water, you’ll need to:

  • Disassemble your computer;
  • Clean all of the parts with isopropyl alcohol;
  • Dry all of the parts thoroughly;
  • Reassemble your computer;

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get your computer up and running again. However, there’s a good chance that some of your components will be permanently damaged. You may also void your warranty by disassembling your computer. So, unless you’re confident in your repair skills, it’s usually best to buy a new motherboard [10].

What should you do if your phone or laptop gets wet?

The best thing to do if your phone or laptop gets wet is to turn it off immediately. If it’s already on, unplug it from any power source and remove any removable parts, like the battery. Then, dry it off as much as possible with a towel or cloth.

If you can, place the device in a container of rice. The rice will help absorb any moisture that’s still inside the device. Leave it in the rice for at least 24 hours before turning it on again.

If your device has been exposed to salt water however, there’s little you can do to save it. Rinse the device with fresh water as soon as possible, then dry it off and place in rice. Even if you’re able to get the device working again, it’s likely that corrosion has already started and will cause long-term damage.

How can you prevent your electronics from getting wet?

The best way to prevent your electronics from getting wet is to keep them in a dry, safe place. If you’re using them outdoors, make sure to protect them from the elements. If you’re using them around water, be careful not to drop them or get them wet.

You can also take a step further and purchase a waterproof or water-resistant case for your electronics. These cases will provide an extra layer of protection from the elements and accidental drops.

Are there any ways to fix water-damaged electronics?

Unfortunately, once water has damaged your electronics there is no guarantee that they can be fixed. Water damage is one of the most difficult types of damage to repair. If you are lucky, and the damage is only superficial, you might be able to clean and dry the device and it will continue to work. However, if the damage is more serious, such as water getting inside the device, it is likely that the device will not be fixable.

Water ruins electronics by shorting out circuits. When water gets into electronic devices it can cause damage. This can cause all sorts of problems including sparking, overheating, and shorts. Water can also corrode metal components and break down plastics. All of these things can lead to your electronic devices not working correctly, or even at all.

As soon as your device is exposed to water, remove the battery if possible. This will help to prevent any further damage from occurring. Then submerge the device in a bowl of rice. The rice will help to absorb any moisture that is still inside the device.

Is water really the biggest enemy of electronics?

Water is one of the biggest enemies of electronics because it can cause so much damage. When water gets into electronic devices, it can short circuit them and ruin them. Blame impurities and ions in water for this.

Water can also seep into electronic devices and cause corrosion. This is especially true for metal parts like connectors and sockets. The corrosion can cause electrical problems and eventually ruin the device.

Another problem with water is that it can condense inside electronic devices and cause problems. This is especially true in humid environments or if the device gets too cold. Condensation can damage sensitive components and lead to electrical problems.

Does water permanently damage electronics?

The short answer is: Yes. Water can permanently damage your electronics. Here’s how:

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity because of the ions within it. When water comes into contact with your electronic device, it can cause a short circuit. This can damage or destroy the delicate components inside your device.

In addition, water can corrode the metal parts of your electronic device and cause them to break down over time. So if you’re wondering whether water will ruin your phone, the answer is most likely yes. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the damage.

Can you clean electronics with water?

Surprisingly, you can clean many electronics with water. This includes your smartphone, computer monitor, television, or laptop.

You see, the reason why water ruins electronics has more to do with the impurities inside of the device than the water itself. So while you can’t use regular water to clean your devices, you absolutely can use a distilled water solution. Distilled water has had all of its impurities removed, making it safe for use on electronics.

Just be sure to turn the device off and unplug it from any power source before you start cleaning. And of course, avoid getting water inside the device at all costs!

Will alcohol destroy electronics?

The short answer is maybe. Alcohol can destroy electronics. The long answer is that it depends on the type of alcohol and how much exposure your electronics have to it. Alcohol is still used as an effective cleaning agent for electronics.

There are three types of alcohols that can damage electronics: methanol, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol. Methanol is the most dangerous type of alcohol for electronics because it breaks down into formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. Isopropyl alcohol is safe to use on most electronics. The higher the concentration of isopropyl alcohol, the more effective it will be at cleaning and disinfecting your electronics.

So, as long as you’re being extremely careful with your electronics and you’re using an isopropyl alcohol, the risk of damage is low. However, if you spill even a small amount of alcohol on an electronic device’s sensitive components, it’s important to clean it up immediately to avoid any damage.

Is it OK to wash the motherboard with water?

No, it is not OK to wash the motherboard with water. Water can damage or destroy electronic components and circuits.

The best way to clean a motherboard is to use compressed air to blow dust and dirt out of the crevices and off of the surface. If you need to remove stubborn dirt or grime, you can lightly dampen a lint-free cloth with distilled water and gently wipe down the affected areas. Avoid using cleaning solutions or solvents on your motherboard, as these can also damage sensitive components.

If your motherboard does get wet, do not try to turn it on until it is completely dry. Use a hairdryer on low heat if necessary, but be very careful with that.

Can soap damage electronics?

The short answer is yes. Soap can damage electronics if it gets inside the device. Water-based soaps are especially dangerous because they can easily seep into cracks and crevices and cause corrosion. Even dish soap can be harmful to electronics if it’s not rinsed off completely. If you must clean your electronics with soap, be sure to use a mild detergent and rinse the device thoroughly with clean water afterwards.

Some soaps can contain chemicals that are harmful to electronics. For example, some hand soaps contain triclosan, which is an antibacterial agent that can damage the protective coating on circuit boards. If you’re not sure whether your soap is safe to use on electronics, check the label or contact the manufacturer for more information.

In general, it’s best to avoid using any kind of soap on your electronics unless absolutely necessary. If you do need to clean your device with soap, be sure to take extra care and rinse it thoroughly afterwards.

Will vinegar harm electronics?

Yes. While vinegar is a mild acid, it’s still an acid. You wouldn’t pour acid on your electronics on purpose, would you? What’s more, vinegar also consists mostly of water. And water is full of impurities which are the main trigger for corrosion and damage.

So it’s best to avoid using vinegar (or any other kind of acid) to clean your electronics and use a safer alternative, distilled water instead.

Can you wash the CPU with water?

No, you absolutely cannot wash a CPU with water. Water will ruin the delicate circuitry and components inside the CPU.

Technically, a lint-free cloth slightly dampened with distilled water should be used to clean the surface of the CPU. However, you shouldn’t expose the CPU to any moisture any more than that,

If you need to clean the CPU, it’s best to remove it from the computer and clean it with compressed air. You can also use a dry lint-free cloth to gently remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated on the surface of the CPU.

Is hydrogen peroxide OK for electronics?

No. While hydrogen peroxide is a great cleaning agent, it’s not so great for your electronics. The chemical can actually cause corrosion and damage to the delicate circuitry inside your devices. Distilled water is more than fine for most cleaning purposes and is a much safer option for your precious electronics.

Useful Video: Electronics & Water? What could possibly go wrong?


  1. https://telamcoinc.com/why-does-water-destroy-electronic-devices
  2. https://www.apx-enclosures.com/apx-blog/why-water-damages-electronics
  3. https://www.scienceabc.com/innovation/why-does-water-ruin-electronics-but-alcohol-rarely-so.html
  4. https://www.apx-enclosures.com/apx-blog/why-water-damages-electronics
  5. https://telamcoinc.com/why-does-water-destroy-electronic-devices
  6. https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/how-to-restore-flood-damaged-electronics
  7. https://www.maketecheasier.com/dry-out-wet-electronics
  8. https://ifixit.com/Answers/View/328698/How+do+I+fix+my+liquid+damaged+Xbox+One
  9. https://www.dignited.com/42561/why-and-how-does-water-damage-your-electronics
  10. https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/i-spilled-some-water-in-my-motherboard.3327857