Can a phone case that has turned yellow be cleaned? We test various methods

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until the cover turns yellow over time.

If you have had a cover of this type, you will have suffered the transition from that clean and transparent material to a slight yellowish tint that, if left to pass for a long time, ends up almost brown. a disgust A Google search returns countless results with dozens of recipes that They promise to leave our silicone case looking like new. We have tested some of the methods that, in our opinion, could be more effective. Will we have managed to remove the horrible yellow tone of our case?

Three covers, six cleaning methods

Yellow Mobile Case

To prepare for this experiment we first did a search to see which were the most popular methods on our beloved Internet. There are dozens, dare I say hundreds, of articles and videos describing different ways of accomplishing the same task, most of doubtful effectiveness.

After investigating the most repeated ones, we decided to use a total of six different methods to see if any of them managed to surprise us. Some we have copied directly, but others are our own. For the test we use three transparent silicone covers with different degrees of yellow. First we will see what the process was in each method and finally the results.

Method 1: Grandma’s Recipe

Yellow Mobile Case

No, my grandmother didn’t clean phone cases, but for the first recipe I selected a mixture of ingredients that I saw her use to clean stains that seemed impossible. These are the steps I followed:

Ingredients: baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and an old toothbrush.

  1. Mix the ingredients to form a paste.
  2. Rub with an old toothbrush in all the nooks and crannies of the cover.
  3. Place the cover with the cleaning paste in a container and add more vinegar.
  4. Let stand for 1 hour and rinse.

Method 2: The TikTok Viral

Yellow Mobile Case

If you are looking for how to clean a yellowish case on TikTok, there are countless videos with methods as crazy as freezing it (seriously), but we are left with the method of this video that it seems almost magical.

Ingredients: toothpaste, salt, dish soap and vinegar.

  1. Place the cover in a container or in the sink.
  2. Add the ingredients on the cover (a splash of each and a good pinch of salt).
  3. Cover with water and let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse well.

Methods 3 and 4: bleach cannot fail us, and the degreaser?

Yellow Mobile Case

In this section I join two methods because one of them occurred to me when I went for the bleach. Next to her was a bottle of industrial degreaser that my mother swears that it removes any grease stain. Now, the mobile phone isn’t fat, but she didn’t lose anything by trying it out and, since she had several covers, she could try it out with no problem.

Yellow Mobile Case

The degreaser on the left, the bleach on the right, after one hour submerged.

Ingredients: bleach or degreaser and water.

  1. Place each cover in a container and cover with a mixture of 50% water and 50% cleaning ingredient.
  2. Let stand for 2 hours and rinse.

Method 5: Mercadona’s magic scourer

Yellow Mobile Case

From what I’ve tried so far, I can say that Mercadona’s magic scourer lives up to its name. Few stains resist, so I decided to put it to the test with the ugly yellow color of the phone cases. The process is very simple:

  1. Cut a piece of the magic scourer with scissors.
  2. Moisten it and drain it until it does not drip
  3. Rub vigorously.

Method 6: the most effective (or so we thought)

Yellow Mobile Case

There is a method to whiten plastics that turn yellow that does work and seems magical. It is usually used to whiten electrical appliances, old consoles and even shoe soles with amazing results. Will it work on our yellowish case as well?

Ingredients: 40-volume hydrogen peroxide cream, gloves, a brush and a transparent plastic bag or kitchen film.

  1. Put on the gloves and apply the cream on the cover with the help of a brush. Be careful not to let it touch your skin or it could burn you (I speak from experience).
  2. Put the cover well impregnated with cream in a transparent bag or wrap it in kitchen film.
  3. Leave it in the sun for several hours. In our case, it lasted a total of 5 hours in which we turned it over so that the light affected the entire cover equally.
  4. Rinse well to remove all traces.

Results: a big disappointment

Yellow Mobile Case 03

Straightforward: none of the methods we tried worked, and all three sleeves remained yellow after the experiment was over. Also, we had three cases and we tried six cleaning methods, that means they went through the “car wash” twice and we still couldn’t bring them back to transparency. At first glance I would say that they did not lighten at all, the only visible change was after immersing one of them in bleach that the finish was a bit matte instead of shiny as before, but the yellow was still there.

Straightforward: none of the methods we tried worked, and all three sleeves remained yellow after the experiment was over.

Of course, although the yellow did not go away, they were all very clean and disinfected to the maximum. If what you are looking for is to remove germs and the greasy film that remains when handling it constantly, any of the systems described above can serve you, but if you are looking to leave it as when you took it out of the box, unfortunately you will not achieve it.

Why do transparent covers turn yellow?

The basic error is to believe that the yellow tone of the mobile phone case is a stain. As the case manufacturer Burga explains, the material of the transparent cases is not transparent in origin, but yellow. What they do is add a blue tint to it to create the effect of transparency.

With the passage of time and exposure to the sun, the material degrades and that yellowish tone begins to appear.

With the passage of time and exposure to the sun, the material degrades and that yellowish tone that we so much want to eliminate begins to appear. It’s not dirt, even if it looks like it, but the process of degradation of the material.

Knowing this, I was hoping the oxygenated cream and sun exposure method would work, but after five hours of waiting, it was still the same color as at the beginning. Perhaps with more hours of exposure, the effect will be noticeable, but personally I think it is not worth all the effort (and more so without guarantees that it will work).

Then what do we do?

We would have liked to find the method that would leave the mobile phone case as good as new, but after doing the experiment it is safe to say that there is no miraculous solution. If you want to get rid of the yellowish cast, you’ll need to get a new case, there’s no more. What you can do is take into account some things to prevent it from happening again with your next case.

apple transparent case

The transparent case of the iPhone XR, after a year of use. Credits: Applesphere

First of all, not all transparent covers yellow. The cheap ones, the silicone ones, we have already seen that they do it a lot, but there are types of polymers that are not affected such as thermoplastic urethane, such as those made by Apple. You can get one of these materials if you still want a transparent one, although they are also more expensive.

If, on the other hand, you don’t care if it’s transparent, you can get a cover that is opaque and preferably a dark color. Here you will not notice that ugly yellowish effect and you will be able to put up with it longer. Of course, whatever your cover is like, do not forget to clean it regularly because although it does not look ugly, none is immune to dirt and germs.