Help, I washed my son’s iTouch! Advice Needed!

by Lian on April 9, 2010

Good Friday Morning, Chaos Crew…

Drinking coffee, packing up and heading home from Mammoth, after a full day of skiing, mais oui. But I spotted the desperate subject line above  in my e-mail box this morning and thought, “Let’s take this one to the Crew!”

So here’s the letter from Lisa…

Lian — I’m looking for some parenting advice and after years of listening to Satellite Sisters, you’re my expert on boys, toys, and laundry.  My 12-year old saved and saved and saved for an iTouch.  He got it, finally.  We’ve had it for 45 days.  Yesterday, I did the laundry and didn’t check in everyone’s pockets.  His iTouch was in his pants pocket.  It went through the entire laundry cycle but luckily not the dryer.  There may be some hope for it but we won’t know for a week as it dries out.  I know he should have been more responsible but after all the pencils I’ve washed I should figure out that I need to check pockets.  Does he or we start saving again for a replacement?  Should we split the cost of a new one, suck it up and have him start saving again, or how we should handle?  Can you help????


Because life is like that, I had a similar situation in my house last week. I thought I had washed my son’s cell phone. Mid-cycle, he went looking for his phone, claiming it was in his jeans’ pocket. The same jeans I had picked up off the floor of the bathroom minutes earlier and tossed in the wash. Oh, no ! I thought. Am I on the hook for this phone? Or should he pay? I had decided on a split when my son discovered his phone in his room, saved from the washer.

So, Lisa, my advice to you is some sort of split with you bearing the brunt of the cost, like 70%/30%. I think if your son has to pony up %30– which is about $100– he will learn a very valuable lesson about leaving stuff in his pockets. And, in this day and age, kids have tons of expensive stuff in their pockets, from cell phones to mp3 players. If you pay it all this time, you may be paying for many more wet and washed devices in the future. By splitting the cost, you acknowledge his effort to save for the iTouch in the first place and his  relative immaturity when it comes to safeguarding our possessions.  He’s only 12 ad he’s only had the thing for 6 weeks. And, let’s face it, we have all made costly errors like this one. He will learn, but don’t make the lesson so expensive it breaks him down.

That’s my two cents. But I am sure that members of the Chaos Crew have had this happen in their homes. How did you handle it? What’s your advice to Lisa?

Thanks for the e-mail, Lisa! Embracing my chaos, Lian



Lian April 14, 2010 at 9:10 AM

T&P, Lisa.


Lisa April 14, 2010 at 6:36 AM

R.I.P. iPod Touch. The screen has some light to it but nothing else functions. My son and I are in major mourning.

Beckett Graham April 12, 2010 at 4:43 PM

I’m just bummed that Chris posted the rice thing an hour before I did. I thought I had the scoop! :) Good luck with the Itouch… keep us updated!!

Susan April 12, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Totally agree with all the comments, including everyone in the house doing their own laundry. Also, is there insurance available for this stuff? Again, the cost could be split.

Kami April 12, 2010 at 6:29 AM

I’ve used the rice trick too, after dropping my cell phone in a pot of soup. It was hard to let it sit the full week, but I knew it was important not to turn it on too soon.
It has been working great for several months since then!
Good luck, Lisa!

t b April 11, 2010 at 5:04 PM

I heard that you should dry electronics (phone, but might work with ipod) on top of the box on your tv set. Guess the warmth is enough to speed the drying process without damaging the device. Haven’t tried it, but sounds logical….

Michele April 11, 2010 at 4:29 PM

We purchased an ipod for our son when he graduated from middle school. That was 9 years ago, but I remember it well. That afternoon he used the ipod while skateboarding. Within minutes, the ipod fell from his pocket and was broken. He was devistated as many 12 year olds are about many things. My husband was very angry, but we went and bought another one with our teeth gritted. Although my son is a responsible 21 year old man today, I regret that we didn’t hold out a little longer, and make him share in the responsibility of buying a new one. On the bright side, I’ve washed his and my own ipod before, and they have dried out with no problem.

Sunshine April 11, 2010 at 11:55 AM

What do you do when you are the one who washes and dries your own iPod…not once but twice in 3 months? I was the one who didn’t check the pockets and have no one else to blame or buy me a new one. I threw the first one away, but am waiting to see if the 2nd one will suddenly start working again. I was just starting to find time to catch up on months worth of missed Chaos Chronicles!

PS: The rice worked for my son in law’s blackberry when it fell in the snow.

Lisa April 11, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Thanks for the all the great ideas. Wednesday, one week post washing machine, is the day I’ll try and connect the iPod Touch. It’s been sitting in rice to try and get the moisture out. I’ll keep you posted.

Lisa April 11, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Thanks for the all the great ideas. Wednesday, one week post washing machine, is the day I’ll try and connect the iPod Touch. It’s been sitting in rice to try and get the moisture out. I’ll keep you posted.

William J. April 11, 2010 at 7:28 AM

All of kids growing up did our own laundry and often each other’s. My parents owned a hardware store and both worked in it. House rule was “he or she who has nothing to do, now has something to do.” My sister could mow the lawn with the best of them and my brother and I weren’t bad cooks. If we made the occasional mistake and turned a whole load of laundry pink my parents would either share the cost with us or if there was a birthday, etc. coming up that would be our surprise gift.

And she isn’t punking you. Coffee grounds also work for a cell phone. It goes without saying they shouldn’t be used coffee grounds.


Sue April 10, 2010 at 10:42 AM

I like the 70/30 split thing, too. Also, I have made it a habit to check all pockets before washing anything. Of course, if I find money, it becomes mine lol
My son started doing his own laundry around 12 years of age as he would constantly throw his clean, folded clothes I had laundered on the floor with his dirty ones. It was his responsibility to put them away in his dressers/closet after I had washed them. After many, many tried and failed strategies and endless hours of nagging to put his clothes away, put dirty ones in the laundry chute, etc. I decided he was old enough to do his own laundry. He has yet to wash anything of value in his pockets, so far, so good.

Lian April 10, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Love this. I go on vacation and the Crew does the work for me! Solid comment, personal experience and the collective guilt of washing our children’s electronic devices– the ties that bind.

And, Chris, thanks for the laugh about plunging the device into a bowl of rice! Are you punking us? Maybe not, but that is one funny visual.

Lisa– please let us know what happens! Lian

Nashgal April 10, 2010 at 6:13 AM

Lots of great comments here I think the idea of splitting responsibility sounds like a fair solution especially if the boy has a way to make the money by babysitting or mowing lawns.

I wanted to add a suggestion that Lisa might want to ask that her son take over responsibility for washing his own laundry. I have my 12 year old (girl) doing her own laundry and it has cut down on what I need to do each week. The chore has given her a perspective that something like jeans don’t need to be thrown into hamper after wearing them for only 3 hours. Now she knows she doesn’t need a clean bath towel for every single shower she takes. So far, no washed cell phone, but if it happens my alibi is washtight!

Amy D April 10, 2010 at 2:28 AM

I’ve never washed an I touch YET, but I can vouch for gameboy games. They wash up just fine. Just let them dry a day or two. As for the IPOD touch situation. Lots of good advice. Sharing $ responsibility is a great idea and if you can buy a new one, that can demonstrate forgiveness and acknowledgment that we ” all make mistakes.” I’m not sure there’s a wrong way to go, except I try not to yell at them too much over these things. I figure they already feel bad enough.

Cyndi April 9, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Been there done that with “wet” electronics.

Don’t try to figure it out and recapture the device. It’s gone. It’s a built in given for the manufacturer.

Beckett Graham April 9, 2010 at 6:57 PM

Before you replace it, you should try the steps on this website FIRST: (remember, don’t try to turn it back on, if you can resist, until you’re all through): The rice (step 8) has a huge and surprised following…

Good Luck!

chris April 9, 2010 at 5:59 PM

I read somewhere that if your electronics (cell phone etc….) get wet you are supposed to IMMEDIATELY submerge the device into a bowl of rice which absorbs the liquid.

Chris in San Diego April 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM

This is a tough dilemma—my kids both saved & saved, and recently bought their own iPod Touches. If I washed one of them in the washer, I guess the guilt of having ruined their hard-earned iPod Touch would lead me to pay for the new one myself since I washed it. I really like the idea of having them check ALL the pockets in the laundry…say, for like the next few months. Just last night we spent quite a bit of time looking for our daughter’s iPod Touch, re-tracing all of our steps from the day before, thinking it may have been left at the dentist’s office, etc. Thankfully, we found it in our van. All during the search, what was racing through my mind was “Who pays for the replacement if we can’t find this thing?” and also “How many times have we told them NOT to bring it places?” So, now the iPod Touches are off-limits for a week for bringing them to the dentist’s office in the first place! :-) I think it was easier when we were kids and it was a $30 Walkman with a cassette tape in it…

t3zoo April 9, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Oh Chaos Crew, this is a huge problem in the mother ‘hood! I have washed two ipods. One was DOA, the other is on long term disability; it plays audio but the screen is blank. After the second washing, I have gotten a lot better about checking the pockets because I felt so guilty.

I think splitting the replacement cost is a fair solution, because the kids should be at least partially culpable. They do need to put their expensive items in the proper place. Just yesterday, I spent the first 45 minutes home after work searching for my 11 year old’s two week old iPod touch. He was accusing his brothers, they were pathetically “looking” for it while denying any involvement. It was found, thankfully, in my husband’s car after some interrogation and hypnosis. Only kidding on the hypnosis but I did ask some questions that jogged the memory.
Ugh—I love gadgets, but they cause a lot of heartache.

Luanne T April 9, 2010 at 11:35 AM

I washed my son’s Sony cell phone . . . Twice. Like the writer, he had saved his own money to buy a nice cell phone with a music player.

The first time, I grabbed the jeans off the back of his chair, just three weeks after he got the phone. I didn’t feel the weight and washed them. He had gone out running and planned to put the jeans back on. What broke my heart was the resigned way he took the news, “well, I knew I wouldn’t have something that nice for long.” He was already driving a dented car (I had backed into it) that we had decided not to fix. So we paid for the new phone, but knowing our son, we made him buy insurance (that he paid) on the second one. . .

Which he left it in his jeans, when he threw them in the hamper a couple of months later. That one, he paid the deductible. That was three years ago. . .he hasn’t left anything electronic in his clothes since.

Christine P April 9, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Wow…Alecia’s husband does his OWN laundry-that is as amazing as getting the cat toilet trained!

My 2 bits: because he has already gone through the saving process and it was a positive experience (and we want to keep it positive) I would say that the parents buy the replacement BUT that he has to check pockets of the laundry for a few weeks, like Diane suggested.

Good luck! Thanks for the story because I never check pockets…thank goodness cash just gets cleaned-phew!

Alecia April 9, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Totally agree on the splits. I think 70/30 is reasonable. Mental note, check pants before washing! Luckily, my husband does his own wash! To date for my son, who is only six, I’ve found only rocks, sticks and the occasional penny.

Sarah April 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM

The funny thing that this post shows to me is how parenting has changed since I was a kid: Sure, my mom did our laundry, but ONLY after we’d sorted it into the right piles (whites/colors etc) and emptied all of our pockets. If we didn’t give it to her, it didn’t get washed. Having said that, knowing my Mom, she’d feel so guilty about ruining my iTouch (what I would have given to have one of THOSE when I was 11 — not mention a VCR!) she would have bought me a new one. Then I would have felt so guilty about her feeling guilty that I would have saved my allowance and bought her something,

That doesn’t really weigh on on the question at hand, but it sure made me reminisce about my own childhood responsibilities! :-)

Diane April 9, 2010 at 7:28 AM

I like the idea of the 70/30 split. Also, I thought that maybe he could be responsible for checking pockets in the laundry for the next few weeks. Maybe he will see what a pain that is, and how easier it is just to check them when you take them off.

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