Why Do Clear Phone Cases Turn Brown or Yellow After A While?

Jonathan Kao

Clear Phone Case Turned Yellow

Clear phone cases are popular for their sleek look that showcases the phone’s original design. However, over time, these transparent protectors have a tendency to turn brown or yellow. This discoloration is the result of material degradation. Factors such as UV light exposure and the oils from human skin speed up the aging process of the plastic material used in these cases.

The yellowing of clear phone cases can be frustrating for users who value the aesthetics of their devices. Different methods can reduce the effect of yellowing or clean the cases once they’ve changed color. Avoiding direct sunlight and frequent cleaning are practical steps to mitigate yellowing. For those looking for more durable options, materials like polycarbonate may resist discoloration better over time.

The Mystery of Yellowing Phone Cases: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It

Clear phone cases are popular for showcasing your phone’s design, but they have a frustrating tendency to turn yellow or brown over time. This discoloration is a common issue, affecting various types of clear cases, including those made from silicone, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), and even some hard plastics.

The Culprits Behind the Discoloration

Several factors contribute to this yellowing phenomenon:

  • UV Light: Sunlight is a major culprit. UV rays break down the molecular bonds in the plastic, causing it to discolor.
  • Heat: High temperatures can accelerate the yellowing process. Leaving your phone in a hot car or direct sunlight can worsen the issue.
  • Oils and Sweat: Natural oils from your skin and hands can transfer to the case, reacting with the plastic and causing it to yellow.
  • Chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as those found in cleaning products or cosmetics, can also contribute to discoloration.

Prevention and Maintenance Tips

While yellowing is a natural process, you can slow it down and keep your case looking clear for longer:

TipHow it Helps
Avoid direct sunlightStore your phone away from direct sunlight when not in use.
Use a UV-resistant caseSome cases are specifically designed to resist UV damage.
Clean regularlyWipe your case with a damp cloth regularly to remove oils and dirt.
Avoid harsh chemicalsDon’t use harsh cleaning products on your case.

Restoring Yellowed Cases

If your case has already started to yellow, there are a few methods you can try to restore its clarity:

  • Baking soda and water paste: Apply a paste of baking soda and water, let it sit for a few hours, then rinse and dry.
  • Soaking in soapy water: Soak the case in warm, soapy water for a few hours, then scrub gently and rinse.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Apply rubbing alcohol to the yellowed areas and scrub gently with a soft cloth.

These methods might not completely remove the yellowing, but they can help improve the appearance of your case. However, keep in mind that these are temporary fixes, and the yellowing will likely return over time.

Key Takeaways

  • Clear phone cases turn yellow because of exposure to light and oils from hands.
  • Regular cleaning can help mitigate the yellowing effect.
  • Using cases made from materials like polycarbonate can be an alternative to prevent yellowing.

Causes of Yellowing in Clear Cases

Clear phone cases can turn yellow over time. This is often due to chemical changes within the materials and exposure to certain environmental factors.

Chemical Changes and Material Aging

Clear cases often change color due to oxidation and natural aging of the materials. Oxidation is a chemical reaction between the case material and oxygen in the air. It can change the case from clear to yellow. Natural aging happens as the case gets older. The materials break down and change color. Manufacturers sometimes add anti-yellowing chemicals to slow these processes, but they can’t stop them entirely.

Environmental Exposures and Usage Factors

UV radiation from sunlight can cause photodegradation. This means the materials in the case break down. Heat can also cause cases to turn yellow, especially when they are left in hot places like a car in summer. Direct exposure to sunlight and UV light speeds up the yellowing process. Dirt, oils, and other environmental factors from daily use can add to the yellowing too. Regular cleaning can help, but over time, yellowing is likely to happen.