Why Do Clear iPhone Cases Turn Yellow?

Clear Phone Case

Many people love to use a clear smartphone casing because it highlights their phone’s build. But many of these clear casing on the market have one common disadvantage. With time most clear smartphone casing tends to turn yellow, including those for iPhones. But why does the clear iPhone casing turn yellow? 

Quick Answer

Most iPhone clear casings are made with a material known as Thermoplastic Polyurethane. The nature of this polymer elastomer material is such that when exposed to water, dirt, sweat, UV rays, and other environmental conditions, they turn yellow.  

The manufacturers use this material because it is transparent, elastic, wear-resistant, and cheap.

This article elaborates more on how you can prevent your clear case from turning yellow. 

How To Prevent Your iPhone Case From Turning Yellow

Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is the widely used material for making clear iPhone casing. While this material is versatile, once they become yellow, the process is irreversible. So, if you are planning on buying a clear iPhone case or already own one, the best you can do is prevent it from turning yellow. 

As elaborated below, you can use a few tricks to keep your clear iPhone casing from turning yellow. 

Tip #1: Clean the Case Regularly

One way you can prevent a clear iPhone casing from turning yellow is by cleaning it regularly. Ideally, cleaning your clear iPhone casing at least once every two days should help it last twice as long before turning yellow. 

By cleaning the case, you are wiping off grease and dirt, contributing significantly to a clear casing turning yellow. And the best part is that you don’t even need much to clean the case. You could use rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to clean it. Or you could mix dish soap in warm soapy water and scrub it with a toothbrush to get rid of bacteria and any deposits on the casing. Also, don’t forget to rinse the case properly after cleaning and allow it to dry

Tip #2: Keep the Case Away From Heat

Another thing you can do to prevent the casing from turning yellow is to keep it away from heat. It would help if you kept the case from anything generating heat, such as on top or beside electronics, like a router, TV set, leaving it in the car on a hot summer afternoon, etc. Anything heat increases the rate at which the TPU material used in making the casing turns yellow. 

So, when scalding the case with warm liquid, ensure the water is not hot but warm. If the water is too hot, it will cause the casing to turn even more yellow. 

Tip #3: Don’t Place the Case Under Direct Sunlight

While there is not so much you can do to protect the case from exposure to sunlight, it is advisable to do it. For example, if you decide to go to the beach, rather than leaving your iPhone with this clear casing lying on the sand directly under the sun, you should keep it in your handbag or backpack

Alternatives to Clear TPU iPhone Cases

Technically, when a TPU material forms a yellowish coloration, it’s not worth the stress of making it clear again because it wouldn’t work. And even if there was a process one could use, the cost makes it impractical. It would be much cheaper and less hassle to buy a new clear iPhone casing

In case you don’t want to deal with the frustration of your iPhone casing turning yellow, you can opt for different types of material for your iPhone casing then. So, it would help if you shopped for a clear polycarbonate casing rather than the traditional TPU, acrylic, or silicone clear casing, which would turn yellow no matter what. 

Unlike a TPU material, polycarbonate material is much more resilient and wouldn’t turn yellow as quickly as a TPU material would. In other words, you could use a clear polycarbonate iPhone casing throughout the lifetime you use that iPhone without the case turning yellow. 

If a polycarbonate casing costs high, don’t hesitate to go for a regular colored case. While a colored case might not reveal your iPhone’s details, they are more appealing aesthetically. 

Quick Tip

It might interest you that your clear iPhone casing is naturally yellow but made clear by adding a bit of blue dye, which breaks down with time, exposure to the sun, and heat.


If you have a clear iPhone casing, it is worth noting that it will turn yellow eventually. And when it does turn yellow, there is little you can do to make it crystal clear again. However, you can slow down the rate it turns yellow by using the tips shared in this article. Or, better still, you can opt for any of the alternatives highlighted in this article. 

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