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When it comes to protecting my phone, I always opt for a clear phone case. Clear phone cases not only offer a great grip, but they have a design that allows the phone’s original look and design to shine through. Moreover, they come with features like raised edges for protecting the display and phone’s body in case of an accidental fall, and some even come with a kickstand, which comes in handy in a number of situations.

However, there’s one big downside to clear phone cases — they tend to turn yellow over time. No matter how careful you are, they end up looking discolored, and you find yourself replacing them every few months. In this article, we will understand why clear phone cases turn yellow over time, what the factors behind it are, and how you can clean them to maintain their clarity.

Why Clear Phone Cases Turn Yellow Over Time

The clear case on your phone may turn yellow over time due to a range of factors, including the materials it’s made of and the heat it’s exposed to. However, the two main reasons for the yellowing and color shifting of these cases are:

Exposure to UV Light

Nothing Phone 2a hands on back

The main reason behind the yellowing of clear phone cases is exposure to UV light. While using a clear case with dirty hands can also lead to discoloration, the primary reason is the exposure to UV light. The materials used in making these cases can react with UV radiation over time. When your phone is exposed to sunlight or other sources of UV light, it can speed up the yellowing process, making the clear case lose its transparency and turn discolored. Although less exposure to UV light can slow down this process, it’s hard to avoid in daily use.

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Natural oils and sweat from the hands

iphone 15 plus in hand

Another factor contributing to the yellowing of clear phone cases is the accumulation of natural oils and sweat from your hands. As you use your phone throughout the day, your hands leave behind oils and moisture on the phone case. This buildup eventually causes the case to discolor and turn yellow.

While it’s normal for our skin to produce oils and sweat, especially if you’re somewhere where the weather is warmer or if you use the phones for extended periods, the combination of these factors can accelerate the yellowing process of a clear phone case.

Many case makers have recognized this issue and have started using materials for their clear phone cases that are less likely to yellow over time. They utilize special materials with anti-yellowing properties that don’t discolor as fast as other clear cases. Here are some of the top cases from top brands, such as Supcase and Spigen, that have ant-yellowing properties:

  • Supcase UB Clear pbi
    Supcase UB Slim Clear MagSafe Case

    Promoted Pick

    In partnership with Supcase

    The SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Mag case is MagSafe compatible, and features a hard PC back, and a shock-absorbent TPU bumper, providing excellent protection and premium feel. It has a transparent design, available in three stylish colors, and it has precise cutouts and raised bezels.

  • spigen ultra hybrid s24u pbi
    Spigen Ultra Hybrid (Galaxy S24 Ultra)

    $20 $40 Save $20

    The Spigen Ultra Hybrid comes in various colors, including this Zero One edition that lets you see the internal components with a stylish design. The case uses Air Cushion technology to prevent cracks and dents, and has raised edges that protect the display and camera on the back.

  • Oterkin pixel 8 pro case pbi
    Oterkin Pixel 8 Pro Case Clear

    If you’re looking for a Pixel 8 Pro case that is thin and clear with anit-yellowing properties, consider getting the Oterkin case. It shows off the color of the Pixel 8 you chose, and comes with raised edges to protect the screen and camera.

How to clean a transparent case that’s already turned yellow

So, what if your clear phone case is already turning yellow? Can it be cleaned? If so, how? Well, there are a couple of methods you can try to clean a yellowed clear case. However, it’s important to note that cleaning the case surface using these methods will only partly clean the case but won’t be able to reverse the irreversible damage caused by UV light. Still, you can try to clean your clear case using the following:

Clean Using Isopropyl Alcohol

One of the best ways to clean your case is by using rubbing alcohol. Simply add a small amount to a paper towel or cleaning cloth, then use it to clean the case. You can even use this to clean your screen.

Amazon Basics 70% Isopropyl alcohol

You can use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol from Amazon to clean not only your smartphone case but also the screen and the body.

Clean using Baking Soda and Water

If you don’t want to use Isopropyl Alcohol to clean your case, you can also consider making a paste of baking soda from your kitchen to clean your case. Simply mix baking soda with water to make a paste, then apply it to your yellowed clear phone case. You can use a brush or a cloth to scrub the paste onto the case, and then rinse it thoroughly with water to remove any leftover residue.

Clean using Toothpaste

A similar solution as above, but if you don’t have baking soda, you can try using non-gel toothpaste to clean your case. Just apply the toothpaste on your case and gently scrub a damped cloth or toothbrush in circular motions. Rinse off the toothpaste residue with water afterward.

Clean using Soap

Finally, you can also use mild soap and water to clean your yellowed clear phone case. Just mix a bit of gentle liquid soap with water to make a soapy solution. Then, dip a soft cloth or sponge into the solution and gently wipe down the case’s surface. After that, rinse the case with clean water and dry it with a towel.

If you still notice a yellowish tint on your case, unfortunately, cleaning methods can only do so much. The irreversible damage caused by UV rays can’t be undone with the solutions mentioned above. In this case, the only solution is to purchase a new clear case. You can opt for one of the options mentioned above — that age slowly thanks to special anti-yellowing materials — or buy a different type of case that may suit your needs better.

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