A clear phone case

Why Clear Phone Cases Turn Yellow

Clear phone cases are a popular choice among smartphone users for their sleek look and ability to showcase the device's design. However, one common issue that affects these cases over time is their tendency to turn yellow. This yellowing effect can be frustrating for users who want to maintain the clean appearance of their phone accessories. In this blog post, we'll explore the reason behind why clear phone cases turn yellow and what factors contribute to this discoloration.

Understanding the Material

Many clear phone cases are manufactured using a type of plastic called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is known for its transparency, durability, and resistance to impact, making it an ideal choice for protective phone cases. However, despite its many benefits, polycarbonate is also susceptible to a phenomenon known as "yellowing."

A woman dropping a blue iPhone with a clear case.
Taan Huyn from Unsplash

What Causes Yellowing

UV Exposure

One of the main causes of yellowing in clear phone cases is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from sunlight or artificial sources can degrade the molecular structure of polycarbonate, causing it to go through a process called photodegradation. This process breaks down the polymer chains in the plastic, leading to a change in its optical properties and the appearance of yellowing.

Oxidation

In addition to UV exposure, oxidation also plays a role in the yellowing of clear phone cases. Oxygen in the air can react with the polymer chains in polycarbonate, leading to chemical changes that change the material's color. This oxidative yellowing can occur even in the absence of direct sunlight, making it a contributing factor to the discoloration of clear phone cases over time.

Heat

Heat can also exacerbate the yellowing process in clear phone cases. High temperatures can accelerate both photodegradation and oxidation reactions, causing the material to yellow faster. This is why clear phone cases left in hot environments, such as inside a car on a sunny day, may show signs of yellowing sooner than those kept in cooler conditions.

Other Environmental Factors

Other environmental factors, such as humidity and pollution, can also contribute to the yellowing of clear phone cases. Moisture in the air can cause chemical reactions that degrade the plastic, while pollutants can introduce additional compounds that interact with the material and alter its color.

A yellow iPhone.
Vựa Táo from Unsplash

Prevention and Maintenance

While yellowing is a result of the aging process for clear phone cases, there are steps that users can take to lower the results. For example, storing the phone case in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use can help slow down the yellowing process. Additionally, regularly cleaning the case with mild soap and water can remove dirt and contaminants that may contribute to discoloration.

Here are some simple tips to prevent a clear phone case from turning yellow:

1. Avoid Sun Exposure: Keep your phone case away from direct sunlight or prolonged exposure to UV rays, as UV radiation can cause yellowing over time.

2. Keep it Clean: Regularly wipe your phone case with a soft, damp cloth to remove dirt, oils, and other residues that can cause yellowing.
3. Store Indoors: When not in use, store your phone in a cool, dry place indoors rather than leaving it exposed to sunlight or extreme temperatures.
4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Refrain from using harsh cleaning agents or chemicals on your phone case, as these can degrade the material and contribute to yellowing.
5. Be Mindful of Makeup: If you wear makeup, be cautious when handling your phone case, as certain cosmetics can transfer onto the case and cause discoloration.
6. Handle with Care: Treat your phone case gently to avoid scratches and abrasions, as these can create small crevices where dirt and oils accumulate, leading to yellowing.
7. Rotate Cases: If you have multiple phone cases, consider rotating them periodically to reduce the wear and tear on any single case, which can help maintain its clarity for longer.
8. Replace if Necessary: If your clear phone case starts to yellow despite your efforts, it may be time to replace it with a new one to maintain the aesthetics of your device.


By following these simple tips, you can help keep your clear phone case looking clean and transparent for longer periods.

Prevention is Key

In summary, the yellowing of clear phone cases is a result of complex chemical processes involving UV exposure, oxidation, heat, and environmental factors. While it may be impossible to prevent yellowing entirely, understanding the underlying causes can help users take the necmeasures to maintain the appearance of their phone accessories for as long as possible. By minimizing exposure to sunlight, keeping the case clean, and storing it properly, users can extend the lifespan of their clear phone cases and enjoy their transparent beauty for longer.

Protective Phone Cases vs Clear Phone Case

If you've decide that clear phone cases aren't for you, we recommend getting a protective phone case instead.

Choosing a protective phone case over a clear one offers numerous advantages that extend beyond mere aesthetics. While clear cases may showcase the sleek design of your phone, protective cases provide essential defense against everyday hazards. The primary purpose of a phone case is to safeguard your device from damage due to drops, impacts, and scratches. Protective cases, typically made from durable materials like polycarbonate or TPU, offer superior shock absorption and impact resistance, reducing the risk of costly repairs or replacements. 

Cute & Protective Phone Cases

Moreover, many protective cases feature raised edges around the screen and camera, providing added protection against scratches and cracks. Additionally, some protective cases boast enhanced grip features, making it less likely for your phone to slip from your hands. Furthermore, protective cases often come in a variety of styles, colors, and designs, allowing you to personalize your device while ensuring its safety. 


Ultimately, while clear cases may offer minimal protection and are prone to yellowing over time, opting for a protective phone case ensures both the longevity and security of your valuable device, offering peace of mind in an increasingly mobile-centric world.

If you want a solid phone case that won't yellow, you can check out our iPhone case collection!

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