Author Amanda Fontenot
Clear Cases and Yellowing
There are a million things to love about a translucent case, but one big thing to hate: the fact that, no matter what you do or how hard you try, they tend to turn yellow. Some do so in days, others take weeks or are able to last months, but in the end, they all turn out the same: a dingy fade gives way to an ugly yellow which sometimes even turns a nasty shade of brown. We get it. We hate it too. But the fact of the matter is that even the best of the best clear cases can have this problem and it all has to do with the nature of their makeup. What allows them to be a stunning, crystal clear case in the beginning is also what causes them to turn ugly over time.
Most clear cases include some form Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which gives a clear case its elasticity, shock absorbency and transparency – all key properties in an effectively protective clear case. The downside to this class of materials is that they tend to turn yellow with age.
That’s right. Most of the issue lies in the case’s makeup itself. But if you’re buying a quality clear case that’s made of premium TPU materials (yes, there are different classes and grades of quality and certain additives can be included in your case to help), then the aging process should be much slower.
The 3 main factors that cause cases to turn yellow
In any case, there are a few key factors that can speed up the yellowing process of a clear case exponentially:
1. Ultraviolet light
Just like their effect on our skin, the sun’s rays can age your clear case and turn it yellow. In this case, UV oxidation occurs, causing discoloration and imperfections.
2. Oils from skin and products
It’s unavoidable. The only way to use our phone is to put it in contact with some of the most oil and product-ridden parts of our bodies – our face and hands. Even if you don’t wear makeup or put lotion on, your body produces natural oils that can speed up the yellowing process of your phone case over time.
3. Excessive heat
A surefire way to degrade most TPU’s is to expose them to heat. Unfortunately, unless you live in an arctic tundra, the opportunity for heat-induced TPU degradation is pretty much everywhere.
Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Although some causes of yellowing are part of our everyday lives, the good news is that now we know about them – and knowledge is power. Knowing the cause of TPU aging gives us a leg-up on practicing ways to avoid it. So let’s look at a few key things you can do to keep your case clearer for longer.
3 ways to help keep your clear case from yellowing:
- Clean regularly
Make it a weekly – or even daily – routine. The great thing about most clear cases is that they’re designed in one easy-to-remove piece. Make it a habit when you’re getting ready for bed to simply remove your phone case and give it a good wash with soap and water. Try washing it right before you go to sleep so the oils from your hands don’t sit on it overnight.
- Stay cool
The next time you’re headed to the beach, sitting by a bonfire or cooking in the kitchen, try to make sure your phone is kept in a cool space. Not only is this recommended for the safety and functionality of your smartphone, but it’ll help with case yellowing as well.
- Reduce oils
Let’s face it, you’re not going to stop using your face cream or favorite moisturizer for a phone case – and you shouldn’t have to. But consider using speaker phone when talking to friend and family at home. When not at home, use your favorite headphones with their built-in microphone to talk on the phone. Most of today’s smartphones have voice command and talk to text functionalities – use them!
If you’re past the point of prevention and your case has already turned yellow, there may still be hope. These cleaning methods may not completely clear up your phone case, but they may help to reduce some of the dingy color.
- Magic Eraser
Yes, those magic erasers made for your walls. Their micro structure is perfect for removing stains, grime and tough substances. They basically act as an extremely fine sandpaper that takes of the surface layer that often holds most stains and discoloration.
- Soak in Bleach Water
Bleach won’t reverse oxidation, but it’s inherent whitening ability may be the ticket for removing unwanted coloration. Just be sure to dilute the bleach, wear gloves and protect your hands when working with this corrosive agent.
- Rubbing Alcohol
Known for its strong decontamination ability, rubbing alcohol is also commonly used to clean many technical devices and piece of equipment. It’s strong aptitude for removing scuffs and stains could help to get your case looking like new.
If all else fails, then consider researching and buying a clear case that’s known for not turning yellow in the first place. The truth is, there are certain elements in each of our environments that can cause even the best quality clear phone case to discolor. However, buying quality from the start can save you time, money and headache in the long run.