Saving Your Key Fob After an Accidental Wash

If you’ve ever accidentally washed your key fob, you know how disheartening it can be. Suddenly, your main tool for unlocking and locking your car is out of commission.

However, all hope is not lost – with the right steps, you can rescue and restore your key fob to its former functionality.

Assessing The Damage

The first step in rescuing your key fob is understanding whether it’s waterproof or not. Most modern key fobs are water-resistant but not entirely waterproof.

If your key fob isn’t waterproof, here are some things that you can do to get back to using it again.

Removing Excess Water

When you realize you have a washed key fob, the initial panic may make it difficult to think about the best way to solve this problem. Here’s how to remove excess water:

  • Hold the key fob with the buttons facing downwards
  • Shake the key fob rigorously to get rid of any water inside
  • Use a clean and absorbent cloth to dry the exterior of the key fob
  • Place the key fob buttons down on a flat surface to allow all remaining water to drain

Disassembling and Drying the Key Fob

After removing as much water from the device as possible, the next step is to disassemble the key fob/open it up to access internal parts.

Different key fobs may require different tools such as small Phillips head screwdrivers, Torx, Allen head screws, or others. Once you have opened the key fob, do the following:

  • Gently wipe off the interior and circuit board with a soft cloth
  • Use a cotton swab dipped in 90% isopropyl alcohol to clean the circuit board and eliminate any contaminants
  • After cleaning the circuit board, let it air dry completely.

Utilize a Dry and Warm Environment

Place the disassembled key fob in an environment free from moisture for several days, which ensures proper drying.

Avoid using direct heat sources such as heaters or hair dryers, as this may damage the device. Alternatively, put the key fob on a high shelf where the air is warmer and drier.

Drying the Outer Buttons and Casing

Use an absorbent material such as sticky rice or moisture-absorbing desiccants to get rid of excessive moisture from the outer buttons and casing. You can also wrap the key fob in tissue paper or a paper towel to achieve the same result.

Inspect and Replace the Battery

Inspect the key fob’s battery for any signs of damage or leakage. If necessary, clean the battery contacts with a cotton swab dipped in white distilled vinegar.

If the current battery appears discharged or damaged, replace it. However, always ensure that your key fob is entirely dry before installing a new battery.

Reassembling and Testing the Key Fob

Once all the components are dry, reassemble the key fob carefully and test if it functions correctly. If the key fob is operating as it should, congratulations – you have successfully rescued your key fob.

However, if some buttons still aren’t functioning, disassemble the key fob again and clean the affected contacts. If your key fob remains non-functional despite these steps, consider seeking professional assistance or purchasing a new one.

Preventing Key Fob Damage

Prevention is always better than cure, so here are some tips on how to avoid washing your key fob:

  • Keep your key fob separate from clothing or items that might end up in the washing machine.
  • Store your key fob in a designated area, like a key rack, or in a specific pocket in your bag to minimize the chance of it getting mixed up with laundry.
  • Regularly check your pockets before doing laundry to ensure no important items are left behind.
  • Invest in a waterproof case or cover for your key fob, which provides an extra layer of protection against water damage.


Accidentally washing your key fob can be terrifying, but with these steps, you’ll be able to save and restore it to its original functionality.

Remember, always consult your key fob’s manufacturer guidelines and specifications before attempting any repairs or maintenance.

If you’re unsure about any of the steps or your key fob’s requirements, seek professional assistance.

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