Have you ever seen someone at the beach or poolside, scrolling through Instagram with their phone in a plastic bag?
It might look a little strange, but it may have also made you ponder, “Is a phone in a ziplock bag waterproof?“
The answer is yes- but with certain limits, of course.
Placing your phone in a Ziploc bag creates a cheap, instant, and waterproof phone pouch. However, this will only work for a short time and at specific depths.
We decided to test just how reliable a ziplock case is for your phone so that you can be properly prepared for your next beach holiday.
We’ll also walk you through the (better) alternatives you can use to protect your phone from water damage!
Should You Put Your Phone In A Plastic Bag?
The important thing to be aware of when placing your phone in a plastic bag is that it isn’t a perfect plan.
Yes, a good plastic bag with a zip-locked, airtight seal is a cheap way to protect your device and keep your phone dry. However, there are some risks with this method, as you might imagine.
First of all, you need to ensure that the plastic bag you are using has a strong seal.
There are several different kinds of bags that mimic Ziplock but aren’t necessarily as reliable.
For instance, we don’t recommend using plastic bags with a sliding lock as these can come undone very easily.
The main issue with the plastic bag method is that it will never be 100% reliable.
No matter what, there will always be some gaps or air trapped in the channel that acts as the lock edge.
Furthermore, the heat-sealed edges could potentially be imperfect, and if there is even the tiniest breach in the seal, this can result in water entering into the bag.
The second risk of using a plastic bag is that the heat-sealed edges may not stand up well to pressure.
Even if you carefully examine your bag and do not find any leaks, this doesn’t mean that they won’t start popping up if you go underwater- especially in deeper water.
Once you start going into deep water, pressure begins to build. Often, the heat bond that keeps the two sheets of plastic sealed around the edges of a Ziplock will fail under any amount of pressure.
A Ziplock bag will work to protect your phone and offer minor water resistance, but it is not recommended for long-term use or at any significant depth.
How To Make A Waterproof Case Using A Ziplock Bag
Using a Ziplock bag as a makeshift waterproof phone case is straightforward.
All you need to do is slip your phone into the bag, press out any air, and seal the lock!
However, before putting your phone in a Ziplock and heading off thinking all is well, you should probably test out the bag.
It’s always a good idea to test your bag in water without your device in it first.
Simply fill it with air and hold it underwater to see if you notice any bubbles. These bubbles will indicate air is escaping and let you know there is a leak.
It should go without saying- do not use the bag with your phone if this occurs!
5 Alternative To Waterproof Your Phone
If the Ziplock method isn’t for you, there are other ways to make sure your phone has some protection against water.
1. Buy A Waterproof Case
This is probably the most obvious solution.
If you spend a lot of time in or near the water, then investing in a legitimate waterproof case might be well worth the cost.
More expensive cases may even offer a manufacturer’s guarantee in case of any water damage.
While the upfront cost is significantly higher to buy a good, trustworthy waterproof case, it’s not as expensive as buying a new phone because yours has become waterlogged!
2. Waterproof Pouches Or Dry Bags
Waterproof pouches are essentially heavy-duty Ziplock with better seams. They are more durable, suitable for reuse, and can withstand underwater pressure.
Tripsavvy has a list of the top six waterproof pouches that they recommend for taking your phone underwater.
Comparatively, a dry bag is made of heavyweight, water-resistant fabric and often has a roll-top closure.
Dry bags are an excellent option for keeping your phone, clothes, keys, and whatever else you have with you safe while you go kayaking or lounge on the beach.
Drybags are water-resistant rather than waterproof, so they are not an option for taking your phone underwater. However, they will keep your belongings dry from a light water spray.
3. DIY Nano Coating (Water-Resistant Only)
Almost any material can become water-resistant via nanotechnology.
Ceramic coatings and nanocoatings are an easy way to keep water and dirt off any surface, whether it’s textiles, cars, or buildings.
Nanocoatings and waterproofing are based on the idea of filling every pore of a material with microscopic particles. Nanotechnology provides a second, water and dirt-repellent skin.
4. Get a Professional Nano Coat
Nano coating applied by professionals differs significantly from DIY nanocoating.
Professional nanocoating involves placing the phone in a vacuum chamber and depositing the layer in vapor form.
This is done until a waterproof film forms on and around the cell phone.
The nanocoating covers your phone completely, so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing!
In addition, creating entirely waterproof phones is becoming more common at a manufacturer level.
Can Nano Coatings Fail?
Over time, nanocoatings tend to wear out. According to manufacturers like Nano Care, most nanocoatings last for about two years- after which the nano-coating should be reapplied every six months.
It is possible to misapply nanocoatings, and homemade nanocoatings are susceptible to this problem.
5. Protect Your Phone With Waterproof Skin
Waterproof phone skins are thin films of adhesive you can apply directly to your phone.
Waterproofing without adding bulk is a cost-effective method. However, it is very temporary, as this solution will only last a few uses.
Be sure to charge your phone completely before using the cable, as it covers all ports!
Additionally, It is possible to misapply waterproof phone skins. Some skins may not be fully sealed or properly covering the phone and therefore are susceptible to water damage occurring.
If you’re simply looking for a quick solution to watch TikTok videos in the tub and scroll with wet fingers, a Ziplock should do the trick.
However, if you’re heading out on a beach holiday and getting ready to swim with dolphins, then you might want something a little more reliable.
A Ziplock will only work for a short amount of time if you are using your phone inside of it.
The more you open and close the seal, the weaker it will become. Likewise, the longer you use the bag, the weaker the bonded edges-and even the plastic face- may become.
Furthermore, the heat seal that closes the edges of a plastic bag is fragile. Therefore, they probably won’t do well under pressure.
For that reason, a plastic bag is not suitable for water protection at any significant depth.
If you want to protect your phone from even the smallest chance of becoming water damaged, then you are better off using your Ziplock bags for snacks only and investing in another form of waterproofing for your phone!
Just like us, smartphones consist of pretty complex anatomy. Take a close look HERE at all the vital components that make up a modern-day smartphone!