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Phones are the devices people use the most every day. Computers and laptops could rival that, but smartphones win in portability and convenience. 

We carry smartphones in our pockets at all times. And some phones have the hardware to rival some computers on the market today. Because we often use them, it makes sense to give them a layer of protection. 

Manufacturers have created phones with sturdier bodies to protect sensitive electronic components. Similarly, smartphone touchscreens use unique glass materials that are break or crack-resistant. 

As sturdy as some phones might be, phone cases provide an extra layer of protection. Moreover, they are inexpensive and come in a wide range of colors. Although these accessories are helpful, they can come with issues that we will discuss in this article.

AdobeStock_368094934 multicolored phone cases presentation for showcase 3d render on white no shadow

Why Does My Phone Case Get Oily?

Oil is one of the most common buildups on your phone case. The buildup might just be on the surface, but some people have it in their phone cases, too. 

Certain factors cause this. First, some phone materials are more prone to buildups than others. For example, silicone cases may start to feel this way over time.

Your skin naturally produces oil, and much of it finds its way through your fingertips. So when you touch objects or use devices, you’re leaving some of the oil on their surface. Before long, your phone case has accumulated enough oil for you to handle. 

If you have a soft case, particularly silicone, you might find that your phone case becomes quite oily to the touch. Likewise, if you find yourself wiping your phone case more often, the material or structure of that case plays a role here. 

It doesn’t take a lot of use for oil to accumulate on the surface of your phone case. Oil and silicone are both excellent at keeping water at bay. Because of this, it can be challenging to use water to remove the oily accumulation. 

The most effective way to clean is to use a microfiber cloth to wipe the oil off. Although it may work, it could leave a streak or film of oil behind. If this is the problem for you, rinse the case with water. 

However, given the properties of the oil, even this may not be enough. You can use unique soaps experts develop to cut through and eliminate oil buildup for a more thorough job. Finally, make sure your phone case is completely dry before putting your device back in it.

Why Does My Phone Case Get So Dirty?

Each person might have different criteria for what a dirty phone case is. Therefore, one’s definition of a dirty phone case varies from one person to the next. 

On one level, a typical phone case will get dirty over time, regardless of its material composition. It is because we use our phones and place them everywhere without thought. As a result, dirt, dust, and other substances can stick to the surface of the phone case. 

Your phone is not safe from dirt. Even our pockets or purses have dirt and debris inside them. In short, phone cases tend to get dirty because people use them constantly, go to different places, and expose to too many elements. 

Another major factor is the anti-smudge coating manufacturers’ add to most phones. In practice, this coating is something developers will add to give the phone an extra layer of protection from fingerprints. We need to touch our phones constantly to interact with them, and a special coating that resists fingerprints can keep the phone feeling or looking newer for a more extended period.

However, this coating will wear away over time. Its age becomes noticeable whether you put your phone in a case or inside a protective shell. During this time, replacing your phone’s display is better. 

What Happens if Dust Gets in Your Phone Case?

Dirt and debris buildup is inevitable no matter how much you preserve your phone. Because phone cases are not airtight, their configurations mean that dust can get in between parts of the accessory’s inner lining and the phone’s frame. 

Generally, dust is harmless because they don’t contain complex elements that might damage your phone. In such cases, you could just remove your phone from its case and wipe the dust off to clean it. 

However, some tiny particles are harmful. They have hard or abrasive substances you cannot see. While nothing may happen to a phone or case that traps particles like these, it is also possible that they can scratch your phone screen.

If they get in between the case frame and the phone for a long time, they cause constant abrasion. And before you notice it, the damage has been done. 

Why Does My Phone Case Have a Distinct Smell?

There are a few reasons why your phone has its distinct smell:

  1. Some new phone cases give off a particular odorSilicone cases release a strong smell. Additionally, other types of materials give off a strong chemical odor. 
  2. Your phone case might pick up some odors from yourself or the environment where you use it.
  3. Particles trapped in your phone for a long time cause buildup and could release a particular odor. 

You have a few options to solve this problem. First, you can ignore it for a while if the smell is tolerable. If the smell comes from the new phone case, this odor might go away as time passes. If it does not, you can also try washing it in water using a mild soap. 

Let it air dry before putting it back on your phone. If soap is not enough to remove the smell, try immersing the case in baking soda overnight to eliminate the odors.

AdobeStock_456745592 Modern mobile phones in blue and yellow leather cases on a bright background

How Do You Take Care of Your Phone Case?

Aside from removing odors, you can do a few other things to keep your phone case in good condition. Whatever the issue, your first step should be cleaning the case. 

One of the best ways to do it is one we’ve mentioned already — water and soap. If mild soap does not do the trick, use a more potent cleanser designed for troublesome dirt or stains

Before using it, check for manufacturer or community recommendations on caring for your phone case. You can often find solutions in these communities for a particular casing material. 

Aside from this, we recommend taking your phone out of the case regularly. Doing so allows you to check the device and its casing for any signs of wear, debris buildup, or other damage. It could also be easier to see or smell a problem when you take both pieces apart to inspect them separately.


Phone cases are some of the most common accessories we use for our phones. They come in several styles and types to suit our preferences. They act both as a decorative and protective item to our phones. However, they get dirty or smelly over time. If this is the case, try our tips above to get yours looking and smelling like new again.