Why do clear cases turn yellow and what you can do about it?

A clear case for your smartphone can look nice, but sooner or later, it will become yellowed. How is this possible, and what can you do about it?

Smartphones are nowadays beautiful, expensive all-around gadgets that we use for everything: working, gaming, watching movies, etc. A case to protect it has become indispensable, and with a transparent version, you can still see the design of your device.

Special material

Most clear smartphone cases on the market are made of thermoplastic polyurethane, better known by its abbreviation TPU. This creates a durable and flexible material. Exposure to the sun, lamps, heat, humidity, and grease from the skin of your hands and fingers will make these smartphone cases yellower over time. Chemical reactions cause those yellowish spots.

Clear phone cases that age will discolor faster than leather or non-transparent cases anyway, but the aging process is accelerated when exposed to chemical reactions as described above. The material degrades slowly and will eventually, after a very long time, even fall apart.

Dishwashing liquid on a toothbrush

The longer you wait to clean these yellowish stains, the more difficult they are to remove. However, there are a few tips and tricks that you can apply.

For starters, you can clean your case with dish soap. Use lukewarm or warm water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Use this mixture to scrub the inside and outside of your transparent case with a toothbrush, for example.

Then rinse with cold water and dry with a soft cloth. Wait at least an hour before placing your phone back in the case and check beforehand whether the case is completely dry.

Doing this regularly – weekly, biweekly, or monthly – removes excess oils and chemicals and reduces the chance of yellow spotting.

An alternative is to use baking soda. You sprinkle this over the front and back and use a wet toothbrush to scrub. Then rinse well and let the case dry.

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Disinfect with alcohol

Disinfecting your phone case with alcohol is also an action that can work well. Doing this regularly is something we recommend as long as you limit the amount of alcohol. Take a can of alcohol or use a soft cloth soaked in alcohol to lubricate your phone case.

Once the phone case has been cleaned, use a clean, dry cloth to remove the alcohol. Then let your case dry for an hour before putting it back on your phone.

Toothpaste and paint thinner

If the three cleaning tips above don’t work, you could still consider using a mixture of toothpaste and paint thinner. Lubricate your smartphone case with toothpaste first and scrub it well. Rinse the toothpaste off again and use a little paint thinner. Scrub well again with a sponge or wire brush.

Finally, remove the paint thinner with water. Make sure you have removed all residue, rinse again and let the cover dry for another hour.

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