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How to Clean A Phone Case

UPDATED: June 30, 2020

We always have our phones, and thus our cases, with us: in bed, in the car, in the kitchen, at work, in the bathroom (you know you do it). It’s no wonder then that your case is starting to discolor and has collected 18 times more germs and bacteria than a toilet seat. (Yikes!) It’s important to make sure that your phone case gets cleaned properly to keep it looking like new and germ-free.

You may be afraid of cleaning your phone case because you don’t want to ruin it with the wrong chemicals or methods. But, don’t worry, we’ve got the DL on the best and most effective methods for how to clean a phone case.

How to Clean a Phone Case: Do’s and Don’ts

Do's

  • Remove the case from your phone - You may be tempted to leave it on there because it’s quicker and easier, but you don’t want the cleaning solution to get inside your phone and cause any damage, so it’s best to remove it for a thorough cleaning.
  • Make sure the area you are in is clean and free of dust and germs.
  • Always spot test the cleaning method you're using on your case before you clean the whole thing. Materials like leather can be permanently discolored if you use the incorrect cleaning method.
  • Clean your phone at the same time. There is no point in cleaning your case, and then sticking it back on a dirty phone.
  • Clean it everyday - If the stat in the first paragraph isn’t enough to convince you of this, there isn’t much more we can say.

Don'ts

  • Stick it in the dishwasher - It may seem like an easy solution, but your plastic case will likely come out looking more like modern art than a phone case.
  • Use any artificial cleaners, such as window cleaner, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide as it can damage the case material.
  • Forget the nooks and crannies - Be sure to clean the inside of the case and in and around the cutouts. Just be gentle so you don’t stretch out your case.
  • Put a wet case back on your phone - you don’t want any liquid getting in where it shouldn’t, so make sure your case is completely dry before putting it back on your phone. Set it out to dry at room temperature, and not in the sun.

Different Methods for Cleaning Your Phone Case

Use An Alcohol Wipe

An alcohol wipe is one of the easiest, and most effective ways to clean your case, and it won’t cause any damage. They’re inexpensive and readily available; you can get a pack of 200 on Amazon for less than $8. This is the best cleaning method for plastic phone cases.

  1. Wipe your case with the alcohol wipe on the inside of the case and on the outside.
  2. Wipe your case with a dry microfiber cloth, and then let it air dry completely (until there's absolutely no visible moisture remaining) before putting it back on your phone.

Make Your Own Alcohol Wipe

Don’t have an alcohol wipe laying around? It’s not that hard to make your own mixture. All you'll need is a soft microfiber cloth and 70% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).

  1. If you have isopropyl alcohol in a higher concentration than 70%, you can mix it with some water. The concentration just needs to be at least 70% to be effective.
  2. Dip your cloth in the alcohol or alcohol mixture, and gently wipe to disinfect the inside and outside of your case.
  3. Wipe your case with a different, dry microfiber cloth, and then let it air dry completely (until there's absolutely no visible moisture remaining) before putting it back on your phone.

Use Soap and Water

If you don’t have an alcohol wipe or any rubbing alcohol around, just use soap and water! Pro Tip: This is the best way of cleaning a leather case. (Just be sure to spot test it first as each leather is different).

  1. Add one or two drops of dish soap to a half cup of warm water and mix.
  2. Dip a microfiber cloth in the liquid, squeezing out any excess liquid, and use it to wipe your case clean on the inside and outside.
  3. Optional: You could also soak your case in the solution for a few minutes if you have tougher stains. (If you have a leather case, it is best to clean with a cloth and not soak it.)
  4. Wipe your case with a different, dry microfiber cloth, and then let it air dry completely (until there's absolutely no visible moisture remaining) before putting it back on your phone.
How to clean yellow phone case with toothpaste and baking soda

How to Clean a Yellowed Plastic Phone Case

First, why exactly do clear cases turn yellow? Most clear cases are made from thermoplastic polyurethane, commonly known as TPU. TPU is a great material because it’s protective, durable, and looks amazing...until it turns yellow that is.

The good news is that the yellowing isn’t always because your case is dirty. The yellowing is caused by natural chemical degradation as the material ages. The bad news is that your case is still yellow, and there are things that can accelerate the yellowing like exposure to sunlight, heat, and certain chemicals.

Luckily for you we have a recipe for cleaning a clear phone case that’s turned yellow:

  1. In a small cup or bowl, mix a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of toothpaste, and a tablespoon of water together into a paste.
  2. Put some of the mixture on a soft bristled toothbrush and scrub the case for a few minutes. Once the case is covered in the mixture, you can let it sit for up to several hours depending on how yellow your case is.
  3. Rinse, and let it air dry completely.
  4. This mixture may not remove all of the yellow, but it will make it look clearer. If you’re still unhappy with how your case looks, it may be time to get a new one.

P.S. This goes without saying, but don’t use that same toothbrush to brush your teeth after you’ve used it to clean your case. It’s now covered in a bunch of dirt and bacteria, so just don’t. Please :)

How to Kill Germs and Sanitize Your Phone Case

If you want to go beyond just a simple clean, and really destroy some germs, you may want to try a UV phone sanitizer. Ultraviolet light is proven to kill harmful germs and bacteria that could be lurking on your phone case.

totallee UV phone sanitizer

Totallee’s UV Sanitizer can quickly sanitize your phone case in a 30 minute cycle. It can also sanitize your actual phone, keys, wallet, AirPods, etc. Plus, it doubles as a wireless charger! You can pick on up for just $99.

SHOP UV PHONE SANITIZER

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It’s actually much easier than you think to disinfect your phone case everyday and keep those toilet germs where they belong. It may also be a good idea to not take your phone into the bathroom, but we’re not here to judge.