Ziplock bags are not waterproof. They are splash proof and water resistant to some extent. They can protect your items from moisture and water but not for long and not underwater.
A ziplock bag is made of two thin sheets of plastic and two channels or ridges that get pushed together to close the bag acting as a zipper. But the zipper and the heat sealed seams are not waterproof.
Ziplock bags are not designed for underwater use
If you take a close look at the ridge seal, you’ll notice there are some tiny gaps and micro-deformations, especially near the corners. Flexing the zipper will weaken the seal allowing water to come in.
The three heat sealed seams of a ziplock bag are pretty fragile. They can’t handle too much pressure.
Water pressure increases with depth. It’s pretty soft at the water surface, which means that a properly sealed high-quality ziplock bag could protect your electronic devices if you accidentally drop them into water.
And here I stress the word “could“.
However, don’t take any risks, and get your device out of the water as fast as possible.
As your ziplock bag sinks further, water pressure increases and this can cause the seams of the bag to break. Keep in mind that water pushes in from all sides.
The deeper you ziplock bag sinks, the higher the pressure inside it. As a result, the bag will shrink, and the zip will open.
If you’re just taking your phone at the pool or at the beach where there’s some occasional splashing, a high-quality ziplock bag should do the trick.
But if you accidentally drop your phone in the pool, you need to get it out fast. You can’t count on a ziplock bag for more than a few moments.
Experiment concludes ziplock bags are not waterproof
Hannah Hoskins conducted an experiment in 2014 to answer the question “Are zip bags waterproof?“
She used the same stickers that electronic device manufacturers use as water sensors to tell if a device has ever come into contact with water. These stickers become red in contact with water.
She then placed the stickers inside Ziploc bags, one of the best manufacturers of resealable plastic bags or ziplock bags.
According to the results of the experiment, Ziploc bags leaked in 2 out of 3 cases. This shows that while Ziploc bags can offer some protection from water damage, they are not completely waterproof.
Hannah Hoskins also contacted Ziploc to let them know about the experiment. The Consumer Relationship Center of SC Johnson replied saying they could not make any claims of waterproofing or water repellency of their bags.
Additionally, while we would expect out Ziploc brand Freezer and Storage bags to be leak-resistant when storing liquids, please know they are not specifically designed to be submerged in water for a period of time. As such, we’re unable to make any claims of waterproofing or water repellency of out bags.
Ziploc does not guarantee their bags are waterproof because they are not specifically designed to be submerge in water. The experiment that Hannah Hoskins conducted confirmed that Ziploc bags are not waterproof.
The results of the experiment are available online for you to read.
There are plenty of YouTube videos where people tested if a ziplock bag can be used to keep phones dry. The results confirmed that resealable plastic bags can only be used as a temporary solution and only if you’re willing to risk your device’s life.
And another video:
DYI: How to make ziplock bags water resistant
If the only thing you have at hand to protect your device is a ziplock bag, use two of them. Put your phone or electronic device inside two thick ziplock bags for extra protection. You an also use scotch tape to double seal the seams and zipper.
Test your ziplock bag without any valuable items inside it under water. You can simply use a fish tank, sink or bathtub for the purpose of this experiment.
Then, check if you notice any leaks or bubbles leaking out. If this is the case, this means your ziplock bag is not going to protect the items you place inside it.
You can also fill your zipbag with water, and hold it upside down. Swing it around and check if it leaks.
If you still want to use a ziplock bag to protect various items from water damage, make sure it’s a high-quality ziplock bag and don’t push your luck.
Don’t expose your electronic devices to moisture and water more than you have to. And don’t submerge them.
Alternatively, you can use a freezer bag. They’re thicker than ziplock bags, and their edge seams are stronger. Just don’t use them underwater.
⇒ Important note: Use these solutions only as a last resort. Ideally, purchase a waterproof bag that is specially designed for this purpose.
Jack of all trades, master of none
Keep in mind that ziplock bags are multi-purpose bags. They were initially designed to keep veggies and leftovers in the fridge. Many people use them to store food while hiking.
To protect valuable items and electronic devices from water damage, always use a product that was specially designed for that purpose.
Ziplock bags and other make-shift solutions unintended as fully waterproof will leak.
You know what they say: “Jack of all trades, master of none“.
Don’t submerge ziplock bags
Using a ziplock bag to protect your phone from splashes at the pool or at the beach should be safe. However, don’t use a ziplock bag to take photos under water.
A ziplock bag is not safe to protect your phone or other electronic devices while submerging them.
For peace of mind, go to your local sporting goods store and invest in a good waterproof bag.
Buy a good waterproof bag
Electronic devices such as smartphones and cameras are pretty expensive. Using a ziplock bag to protect them is not a good idea.
Stay on the safe side, don’t be shy and invest $30 or $50 in a waterproof bag.
Purchase a waterproof bag with a double seal for extra protection. They’re also commonly sold at sporting goods stores and water parks.
Waterproof bags for electronic devices are about keeping your devices dry rather than operating them while inside the bag. Plastic bags may reduce the responsiveness of touch screens.
Use desiccant packets or water absorbent gel packets to remove moisture
Whether you buy a waterproof bag or choose to go for a DYI ziplock bag, always place a few desiccant packets inside the bag.
The cooler temperatures underwater will condense moisture inside the bag. Place a few desiccant packets inside it. They’ll absorb the humidity preventing the bag from condensing and thus protect your electronic devices.
You can also use water absorbent gel packets to get the job done.
The safest solution: Get a waterproof camera
If you’re planning to take a lot of water water photos, get a waterproof camera instead. They’re designed for that purpose and cost less than your smartphone.
Additionally, they produce better photos and are easier to use than a phone inside a ziplock bag.
Ziplock bags are not waterproof, they are only splashproof. They offer some protection from moisture and water but are not watertight. You can use a ziplock bag to keep rain droplets or sweat off your phone. However, don’t use ziplock bags to protect electronic devices when submerging them in water. They’re just not designed for that purpose.
Don’t risk your expensive personal electronic devices using a ziplock bag.
Purchase a waterproof bag that’s been designed to keep items dry. Or better yet, don’t expose your electronic devices to moisture, rain or water at all.