Why Do Clear Phone Cases Turn Yellow?

27 Jul 2021
Why Do Clear Phone Cases Turn Yellow

You just bought the new pink iPhone, and you want to flaunt it with a clear protective case. Within one to three months, you notice that the phone case starts to turn a funky yellow color.

 A phone has ten times more germs than a public bathroom, so it is no wonder that a clear case can easily become filthy and discolored.

Not to mention the number of times people tend to drop their phones, causing scratches to appear on phone cases. Without the proper know-how, it can be hard to figure out how to remove scratches from a clear phone case.

If you are deciding whether to buy a transparent phone case, it is worth understanding why the phone case can turn yellow in the first place.

What causes clear phone cases to turn yellow?

To answer this question, you first need to understand how clear phone cases are made.

First of all, transparent cases of any material are not transparent to begin with – it is naturally yellow. The makers of these phone cases add blue dye to make the case appear clear.

Secondly, silicone cases are at a higher risk of becoming yellow compared to other materials. Silicone is made from a material called polymer. Polymer is inexpensive, soft, and bendy.

Polymer turns yellow with age due to a natural process called material degradation.

As discussed below, a phone case’s general wear and tear is accelerated by being exposed to a combination of heat, light, and your skin’s natural oils. 

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation

The sun’s UV rays are the main culprit of yellow discoloration in silicone phone cases.

If you are outdoors with your phone for the majority of the time, your phone is constantly being exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

The ultraviolet radiation causes a process called oxidation, which results in the yellowing effect of silicone phone cases.

Even exposure to extreme changes in temperature, humidity, and visible light can cause polymers to degrade. 

Your skin’s natural oils

Sweat and bacteria on your hands can be transmitted to the phone case, which can result in the yellow color.

Your skin’s natural oils can also cause the yellow color in plastic phones.

When there is sweat on your hands and you touch your phone, there is a high chance that you are passing these natural oils onto the phone case.

Grease from dirty hands and the touching of food can also cause the yellow color on your phone case.

Therefore, your phone can get very filthy from your skin’s natural oils, and this can cause yellow discoloration. 

There are also other external elements that can worsen the yellow color on the phone case, such as dust.

It should also be mentioned that dust can damage your phone if it gets stuck in your phone case. 

So, now you know how your bright phone cover can turn into an unattractive shade of yellow, but can you do anything about it with regards to cleaning your phone case?

How do I get the yellow off my phone case?

When it comes to cleaning your phone case, you can use dish soap to remove debris and marks off the case. This can prevent damage caused by the phone being dust-free and make the discoloration appear less obvious, but it will not remove or prevent the discoloration.

It is worth noting that the yellowing effect is caused by oxidation and not dirt, so water may worsen the discoloration, depending on the quality of the case.

It is also important that you know that the cleaning method you use differs depending on the type of phone case you have. For example, a plastic phone case will not be cleaned the same way as a rubber phone case.

It is also best to educate yourself on ways to clean a plastic phone case.

Solutions such as alcohol wipes and vinegar can assist with disinfecting the phone case, but they will not completely prevent discoloration.

These disinfecting solutions are more helpful for removing a permanent marker off a phone case

Do all clear phone cases become yellow?

Not all phone cases are made equal.

For example, expensive clear cases usually have better quality thermoplastic urethane (TPU). TPU is referred to as the bridge between rubber and plastic. It is very similar to silicone. The only difference is that TPU is more transparent in color.

Higher quality thermoplastic urethane will be better stabilized against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, making it less likely to degrade and turn yellow.

You may also want to switch from a silicone or plastic clear case to a metal case. 

If you want to skip the stress of having to keep your phone completely free from yellowing, rather get a black case. 


Phone cases have the important function of being a protective cover for your phone, but in this individualist-driven society phone cases have become more than just a way to prevent scratches on your phone.

A phone case is another way to showcase a bit of your personality to those around you.

This explains why the transparent case still remains highly popular.

Many phone users like to place something sentimental behind the cover, such as a cute polaroid picture, stickers, or personal drawings. Some people may just prefer the simplistic look of a transparent case, whereas others may want to display the appearance of the phone itself through the clear case.

With that being said, yellowing is a normal part of a clear phone case’s wear and tear, and it is impossible to prevent.

Taking in all this information, it is up to you to decide whether you think buying a clear phone case is worth the penny. 

If you prefer clear silicone cases, it is always good to know how to clean a silicone case

If you are looking for top-quality phone cases, MacBook cases, screen protectors, and many other accessories check out Burga’s unique and stylish selection here.
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