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How to clean a clear phone case that turned yellow

You can keep it clean with some household items, but sometimes a new case is necessary.
By

Published onJuly 18, 2023

Phone cases can quickly get dirty; you handle them daily, after all. If you’re tired of seeing that yellow stain, here is how to clean a clear phone case and bring it back to sparkling transparency again.

QUICK ANSWER

To clean a clear phone case, try scrubbing with dish soap and water using a toothbrush and then rinsing it clean. Another option is to sprinkle it with baking soda and scrubbing with a damp toothbrush, then rinse the case. You can also try combining baking soda and vinegar in a bowl with the case and then letting it soak for a few hours before rinsing it. Rubbing alcohol applied to a microfiber cloth or an alcohol wipe may also work. However, sometimes a clear phone case may yellow irreversibly, which is when buying a new case is the only option.


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How to clean a clear phone case

Product image of the Speck Gemshell clear iPhone 13 Pro Max MagSafe case on a white background.

You have a few options for cleaning a clear phone case. You can try one or all of these, depending on how dirty your case is.

Dish soap

Dish soap is a natural choice for cleaning a phone case. Its grease-cutting power is suitable for handling oil fingerprints and other stains, plus it is usually gentle enough not to cause damage to the case or your hands. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Fill a sink or bowl with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap.
  2. Plunge your transparent phone case (remember to take your phone out first!) into the water and get it nice and sudsy.
  3. Take the case out and scrub it gently with a soft brush, such as a fresh toothbrush. Be sure to concentrate on the corners and port covers, as these areas can get quite grimy.
  4. Dunk the case back into the water several times and swirl it around to help dislodge more dirt.
  5. Once the case is sufficiently clean, drain the sink or bowl and then rinse the case under fresh running water to remove any traces of soap or dirt.
  6. Towel dry the case with a microfiber cloth and then let it air dry completely. Do not use the case again until it is completely dry to avoid water damage to your device.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a natural light abrasive and cleanser; if dish soap is not cutting it, you can try it. Here is what to do:

  1. Take the clear case off your phone and lay it on a towel.
  2. Lightly sprinkle a layer of baking soda over one side of the case.
  3. Lightly dampen a fresh toothbrush and gently scrub the case in a circular motion. Remember to concentrate on the corners and port covers, as these areas can get quite grimy. Repeat this step for both sides of the case.
  4. Rinse off any excess baking soda under warm running water.
  5. Towel dry the case with a microfiber cloth and then let it air dry completely. Do not use the case again until it is completely dry.

Vinegar

Where there’s baking soda, there is vinegar. This fizzy combo can help dislodge some stubborn dirt. Here is how:

  1. Find a small bowl that accommodates your clear phone case and put the case inside, followed by around two tablespoons of vinegar.
  2. Add around a cup of distilled white vinegar. Go slowly to prevent spills, and be sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate the foam.
  3. Leave the case to soak for a few hours.
  4. Rinse the case thoroughly under warm running water.
  5. Towel dry the case with a microfiber cloth and then let it air dry completely. Do not use the case again until it is completely dry.

Rubbing alcohol

If it is time to break out the big guns, you can reach for rubbing alcohol. If you have alcohol wipes, these are handy and less messy than a bottle of rubbing alcohol, but either will work.

  1. Apply a dab of rubbing alcohol to a microfiber cloth or get a fresh alcohol wipe.
  2. Wipe down the clear phone case thoroughly. This may require multiple passes. If your cloth or wipe dries out, re-wet it or get a fresh one.
  3. Towel dry the case with a microfiber cloth and then let it air dry completely.

Still not clean? It might be time to get a new case

Product image of the Caseology Parallax iPhone 14 Pro Max case on a white background.

If, after trying everything, your case is still yellow, you may have to face the fact it is time for a new phone case. Clear cases quickly get dirty, and there is no getting around that. Plus, sometimes, they are made from material that turns yellow and cannot be returned to their original clear state after some time.


FAQs

Bleach is best avoided. It is quite harsh and could damage your case. Plus, if it splashes, you could ruin your shirt, too.

Steel wool and other abrasive pads can scratch phone cases, so they’re best avoided.

It’s probably not a good idea to use harsh cleaners like kitchen cleaners or bathroom sprays to clean a clear phone case.