Can You Still Use A Hairdryer After It Gets Wet?

plugged hairdryer on the bathroom

Can you use a hairdryer after it gets wet, or is it dangerous?

Now obviously, we know we shouldn’t use ANY electrical appliance WHILE it’s still sopping wet, but what about later on after it dries out?

I spent hours searching for the answer (and I even asked an electrician) after I dropped my own hairdryer in the toilet (don’t ask) last week.

Read on to find out what I learned!

Check: Best Blow Dryer for Straightening Hair

Can You Use Your Hairdryer After It Gets Wet?

plugged blow dryer

Short answer, no. Regardless of how well or undamaged it looks on the outside, you should not attempt to use the hairdryer once it gets wet.

That really goes for any and all electrical appliances.

The moment they become submerged they’re done, even if they’re equipped with GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) protection (a fancy way of saying “they protect you from lethal shocks) [1].

The most appropriate action to take would be to buy a new hairdryer, for your protection and others. Your life is worth so much more than what a new hairdryer costs.

What happens if a hairdryer falls in the water?

So, what really happens when your hairdryer falls in the tub or toilet? The answer depends on just how wet it gets.

If all of the components of the hairdryer become wet, the inner working of the dryer will likely get damaged. 

When electrical products such as kitchen appliances, electric power tools, hairdryers come into contact with water, they quickly turn into electrical hazards.

That’s because they are not water-resistant and are not intended to function when wet [2]. Water and electricity just don’t mix, plain and simple.

Back in the 90s, hairdryer companies started installing ground fault circuit interrupters on their cables [3]. Basically, these GFIs sensed potentially dangerous situations and shut off electricity to the device.

So accidentally dropping a hairdryer into a tub isn’t quite as likely to end in tragedy as it used to be, but the very things that protect you from deadly shocks also render your hairdryer unusable, at least for the foreseeable future.

To give you a better idea, check out this video demonstration by CTV Reporter Elizabeth Drolet and CSU Physics Professor, Brian Jones [4]:

Before we move on to what to do if your hairdryer falls in the water, let’s just really quickly go over another common question that actually relates to this topic.

Can you leave a hairdryer plugged in? 

plugged hairdryer on the wall (Can You Use A Hairdryer After It Gets Wet )

Yes, you ‘can’ leave a hairdryer plugged in. The real question is whether you ‘should’ keep it plugged in – the answer is no [5].

This is especially true if it’s at risk of being pushed into a source of water or being knocked off a shelf, leaving it dangling by the plug. These can turn into potential electrical hazards.

Even if it is plugged in securely and away from any body of water, it’s not a good idea to leave electronics plugged in when not in use.

You should always unplug your hairdryer and tuck it into a safe place when not in use; after all, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Moreover, this safety measure will only take you a few seconds. 

Got it? Good. Let’s move on.

READ MORE: Can I Use Blow Dryer to Style Hair That is Already Dry?

5 THINGS TO DO When Your Hairdryer Falls in Water

When something falls, our instincts are to just pick it up. DO NOT trust that instinct when you drop your hairdryer into the water. Instead, follow these safety tips.

1. Unplug the cord

unplugged hairdryer

If your hairdryer ever falls into bodies of water, the first thing to remember is to unplug the cord from the main outlet. That will stop the electricity from the outlet from further interacting with the water through the hairdryer and prevent the risk of electrocution.

Under no circumstance should you attempt to pick up the hairdryer while it is still plugged in [6].

2. Drain the Water

Even when unplugged some appliances still have a residual charge, meaning that you can still get a shock from them. So it’s important to drain the water before retrieving your hairdryer.

However, don’t just reach your hands into the tub and pull the drain stopper. Instead, try using a non-conductive material to pull the plug [7]. For example, the dry wooden part of your toilet plunger handle, or rubber tongs.

4. Let it dry out (Either in the tub or After Retreiving)

If your hairdryer fell into the tub and you don’t need to use your shower for a bit, then let it dry out while still sitting in the tub.

On the other hand, if it fell into the toilet, you can’t really let it sit there all day. So go ahead and grab it (using rubber gloves), then set it someplace safe and out of the way to dry before throwing it away.

5. Throw it away

Since, at this point, your hairdryer components would have gotten wet and incur permanent damage, it is not safe to use to dry wet hair. Throw it out.

If for some reason, you are not willing to discard your hairdryer, then the ONLY alternative that I am even remotely comfortable recommending is to take it to a professional so they can check it out and see if it’s safe to use.

Any components of your hairdryer that need fixing should be done by a professional.

Water damage isn’t something to be taken lightly, and it’s certainly not a project you want to tackle on your own. In other words, you can’t just blot up the water with a paper towel and call it a day!

How To Secure Your Hairdryer To Avoid It From Falling Into Water

You know what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. So let’s look at some tips to avoid dealing with a sopping wet hairdryer in the first place.

Do Not Use Hairdryer Near Water

pretty girl blow drying her hair but Should We Use A Hairdryer daily?

The best practice is to avoid using hairdryers near sinks, baths, or toilets. Although there are not many chances of an electrical hazard occurring thanks to the GFI outlets, you can never be too careful.

Keep Your Hairdryer On Dry Surfaces

Before plugging it in, make sure your work area is dry, and remove any glasses of water or other liquids. I also like to grab a microfiber cloth and just swipe it across the counter to be extra sure that it’s dry.

Unplug Your Hairdryer

plugged hairdryer

After you’re done using it, turn off your hairdryer and unplug it from the wall. Let it cool down, then store it in a safe and dry place.

FAQs on Using a Hairdryer After it Gets Wet

Can you use a hairdryer after it gets wet in the bathtub?

pretty girl drying her hair after shower

No, you shouldn’t use a hairdryer in the bathtub. Not only does it increase your risk of getting shocked, but it’ll most likely damage your hairdryer beyond repair, making it a fire hazard.

What is the correct way to unplug an appliance?

To correctly unplug electronic devices, make sure the device is powered down or turned off.
After that, turn off the main outlet switch and unplug your device. To unplug, grab the fat part of the plug and pull it straight out. Do not wiggle or twist the plug and remember to never pull on the cord. 

Conclusion

The bottom line, it’s really just not safe to use a hairdryer after it gets wet. Even if it looks like it’s still in perfect working condition on the outside, you have no way of knowing just how damaged it is inside.

So, for your own safety and the safety of others, purchasing a new hairdryer is the best option to use your hairdryer after it gets wet. 

References

  • 1. Using A Portable Hair Dryer? A GFCI Could Save Your Life [Internet]. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/News-Releases/1990/Using-A-Portable-Hair-Dryer-A-GFCI-Could-Save-Your-Life
  • 2. Citizens Electric Fundamentals of Electricity [Internet]. Apogee.net. 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://c03.apogee.net/mvc/home/hes/land/el?utilityname=citizenselectric&spc=foe&id=17557
  • 3. Hairdryers and Electrocution: Real Threat or Hollywood Hype? – CED Technologies, Inc. [Internet]. CED Technologies, Inc. 2018 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.cedtechnologies.com/hairdryers-electrocution-real-threat-hollywood-hype/
  • 4. Drolet E. Will taking a bath with a hairdryer really cause electrocution? [Internet]. YouTube. 2012 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_XlOmT2Vl8
  • 5. Fire Safety for the Home [Internet]. Nachi.org. 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.nachi.org/fire-safety-home.htm
  • 6. Felicity Stone. Hair Dryer Hazards [Internet]. Consumer Health News | HealthDay. Consumer Health News | HealthDay; 2002 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/injury-health-news-413/hair-dryer-hazards-510391.html
  • 7. Staff Writer. What Are Some Examples of Non-Conductive Materials? [Internet]. Reference.com. amg; 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.reference.com/science/examples-non-conductive-materials-b1a3e9874758485b
hairdryer above Can You Use A Hairdryer After It Gets Wet text

What do you think? Can you use a hairdryer after it gets wet? Is there ever a “yes” answer in your opinion? Share below!

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