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Well, my MBP cable has gone yellow after a while. I've tried cleaning it with water, and also toothpaste (with whitening) and that doesn't seem to have removed the yellow stains. I guess I'll try mouthwash next; I may have to gargle that myself first. Anyone have the same problem? I haven't been keeping it in unusual places, in my bag and on the desk.

On the left is the whiter clean cable.

enter image description here

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  • So, are you asking for ways of whiten it or... ?
    – Thecafremo
    Jun 6, 2012 at 10:58
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    Does it sit out in the sun regularly? If so, it may just be the plastic discoloring and there may be nothing to do except replace it (or just live with it). If not, it may be another environmental factor causing the same thing.
    – gaige
    Jun 6, 2012 at 13:03
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    Thanks for your responses, sadly I don't eat any of those, have a heater, or get enough sunlight :P It's quite likely to be caused by some kind of use of course, because the yellow parts are the bit that sticks out when folded up and the section closest to the laptop. Jun 7, 2012 at 3:46
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    Are you a smoker?
    – macaco
    Jun 7, 2012 at 9:21
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    no, I don't smoke either Jun 7, 2012 at 9:24

4 Answers 4

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Depending on how old the charger is, it is possible the agent causing the discoloration is leaching through from what the casing covers instead of being caused by an external source. In this case, bleaching and cleaning will affect only the surface of the cable.

I used to have several cables like this, on old barrel-shaped (non-MagSafe) chargers, but when the laptops were recycled, so were the chargers, so I don't have anything to dissect to prove my assertion.

The power charger can also get quite hot when charging, and if the charging cable is partially or wholly wound on the charger body's cable-storage fingers, they may become very hot as well, causing some of the discoloration you see. I always fully unwind the connection cable before charging.

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  • Good point, I do the same and I believe the manual also mentions unwinding it, and also turning off from the wall first. Jun 8, 2012 at 7:52
  • The Apple Forums also suggest the overheating/overstraining theory. Just for additional info.
    – filoxo
    Apr 7, 2016 at 18:47
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Typically when I clean my power adapter, I use a paper towel or cloth which is damp with rubbing alcohol. I have found this is be very effective for removing dirt. Rubbing Alcohol can leave a residue so you may also consider using a paper towel or cloth which is damp with water to rinse afterward.

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  • Instead of the usual 70% rubbing alcohol, CVS, Stop&Shop & other stores can sometimes carry a 91% or 93% isopropyl alcohol. It is purer than 70%, which will have additives which can leave the residue DMan mentions. These higher-percentage formulations are great solvents for many cleaning tasks.
    – IconDaemon
    Jun 8, 2012 at 15:25
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Cleaning the cable with a baking soda solution is likely to help. Baking soda will act as a mild abrasive. Alternatively, some web sites suggest using a bleach mix.

Do not soak the cable and do not get either end of the cable wet. Please be careful!

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    After using alcohol, soap, baking soda and toothpaste my floor now has a very clean patch that I used as a work surface. The cable is still yellow.
    – Andreas
    Aug 28, 2020 at 12:57
  • @Andreas have you found a method that worked for your cables? Aug 28, 2020 at 13:22
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    None that seems worthwhile without owning some sort of powered multi-tool, but the one that had the most effect was using an eraser/rubber.
    – Andreas
    Aug 28, 2020 at 13:30
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I got it replaced at the Apple Store. The "genius" explained that the old ones (pre-2011?) were softer and contained halogen from memory, whereas the new ones were more rigid and environmentally friendly. This probably means they don't change colour as easily and break.

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    they do though. Sep 1, 2018 at 19:29
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    yea mine is 2015 and it's yellow af
    – shim
    May 16, 2019 at 3:45

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