Chloe, Senior Contributor WUDN Customer Service, and a massive Apple geek

Cleaning & Caring for Your Wooden iPhone Case in the Age of COVID-19
Friday February 25, 2021
(Probably some Style, Food, Liquor, Tech, and the Outdoors)
Cameron Christian, Owner, WUDN
Bad golf, good wine, and a little travel 

Cleaning & Caring for Your Wooden iPhone Case in the Age of COVID-19 

Your phone is probably the dirtiest thing you will touch today.
(and don't get me started on belt buckles).

Your phone is dirty: Caring for your Wooden Phone Case in the age of Covid-19

Your wooden phone case is made from a natural material, and unlike plastic, glass or metal, it’s porous. That makes it more likely to absorb dirt and stains. That's OK, that's part of what makes it more beautiful.

It's not necessarily more likely to harbor COVID-19, that's just endemic to our phones in general.

What’s the upside of a product more likely to get dirty?

Wood products will age and get better looking with time. Literally the exact opposite of plastic. Plastic, even metal and glass products can only get scratched, dinged and damaged; and they will NOT look better for the wear. Some leather products will improve with age, but they are also so much more prone to permanent and unattractive damage.

Wood is different: every fingerprint, coffee stain or light scratch adds character like a beautiful piece of antique furniture. The more you use it, the more the wood will look authentic and vintage. 

Brand New Mahogany Wood Phone Case

Wooden iPhone 11 case with California flag laser engraved in mahogany

Engraved Mahogany Wood Phone Case - after 2-years of heavy use

My case is the California Republic in Mahogany. After nearly two years, the engraving still looks sharp, and the Mahogany color is dark and rich. The wood has a couple of imperfections, and like the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi, the wood is more beautiful exactly because it’s not perfect.

It doesn’t really matter if you have a wooden iPhone case for an iPhone 11, an iPhone X case, or a brand new iPhone 12 case made from wood (or even a wooden Android phone case) – if you have a wooden phone cover, this cleaning & care method works.

Ensuring to clean your case frequently (like literally every day) will help to keep you safe, but it will extend the length and longevity of your device and your wooden phone case.

Unlike plastic phone cases, wooden phone cases require a little extra attention. Wood is a durable material but avoid submerging them in water or spraying cleaning product directly on them. Thankfully wood is easy and harmless to clean. A damp cloth will usually do. Something stickier? Spray the cloth with some rubbing-alcohol or even furniture cleaner.

But first: Take your phone out of the case. Duh, right.

You need to clean the phone and the wooden case, inside and out.

No, sorry. I meant First: wash your hands with warm water and antimicrobial soap. Just like you always do.

Second, use a soft microfiber cloth (or a clean, dry cotton washcloth) over the outside and inside of the phone, removing any loose dust, dirt, and debris.

Microfiber is the best material to use on your wooden phone case because it easily absorbs dirt and surface oils, and is very unlikely to scratch your phone or your case.

Dirty, Maybe Even Sticky?

If there are clearly dirty or even sticky spots on the phone or the case: take one of the clean cloths, spray it with rubbing alcohol (spray it on the cloth, not the phone or the case). Rubbing alcohol has three advantages over water or some type of cleaner:  

Rubbing alcohol (sometimes called isopropyl alcohol) dissolves many solids and sticky material. You probably have some in your bathroom cabinet already.

Rubbing alcohol dries fast and completely. That's better for electronics that may be sensitive to water, even newer iPhones that are supposed to be water resistant. And it's better for the wood to dry quickly and not be soaked with water. 

Rubbing alcohol is probably the best disinfectant including COVID-19. Just make sure it's between 60% to 90% concentration for best disinfectant results.

If you don't have any rubbing alcohol, no problem, try distilled white vinegar. It's not as good, but it will do in a pinch. Don't have either of those? Still no problem, find some disinfectant wipes. People used to say these were too abrasive, but that has not been my experience. And the benefits of disinfecting your phone and case, far outweigh the probably invisible scratches that "could" be caused by a disinfectant wipe.

Clean the Phone & the Case, Inside & Out

Make sure to clean the inside of the case. This is usually made of TPU or Thermoplastic Urethane - An eco-friendly hybrid material. TPU is a mixture between hard plastic and soft silicone. A very dense and smooth rubber, TPU cases are made to slide in and out of the pocket easily, without attracting lint. TPU cases are more durable, slightly elastic and much stronger than silicone. WUDN uses TPU case templates which are then covered by real wood. Finally, buff out the phone and wooden phone case one more time with a clean, dry cloth and re-install the phone case.

But wait, there's more. We promised to show you how to care for your wooden phone case, and that means caring for the wood. 

We ship our cases with only one light layer of polyurethane mostly to protect from moisture and UV damage. 

The wood will age naturally, especially as you hold, rub the case, slide it in and out of a pocket, and expose it to oils from your hands. But you may want to accelerate the aging process just a little. The key is a light, natural, oil. 

Here are some examples, but I sure hope you have some lying around the house or garage. Any of these will work, as will, tung oil, or teak oil. Just don't use olive oil; it will go rancid and stink.

These are 10X more than you will need to care for a wooden phone case for 10 years. 

Natural Wood Oil

Natural wood oil to care for your wood iphone caseNatural Wood Oil for Wooden Phone Case

Walnut Wood Oil

Walnut Wood Oil for Wooden Phone CaseWalnut Wood Oil for Wooden Phone Case

Food Grade Mineral Oil

Food Grade Mineral OilFood Grade Mineral Oil for your wooden iphone case

Apply a small amount of oil to a clean, dry cloth or paper towel, and rub on the wood surface in a firm, circular motion. The oil should penetrate the poly coating (especially in areas that have been laser engraved. Some darkening and discoloration is normal but should be consistent. Just keep rubbing until it looks the way you want. 

Dry off any excess oil, and you are ready to go.  

With a little care and some good oil, your wooden phone case will last years.   

1 comment

  • Pat JFeb 24, 2021

    What a cool guide. Thanks for putting this together. I have been wondering how to clean and care for my wooden phone case. I bought mine from a different company, but next time I will buy one from WUDN.

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