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.

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  • So, are you asking for ways of whiten it or... ? – Thecafremo Jun 6 '12 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 '12 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. – Aram Kocharyan Jun 7 '12 at 3:46
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    Are you a smoker? – macaco Jun 7 '12 at 9:21
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    no, I don't smoke either – Aram Kocharyan Jun 7 '12 at 9:24

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.

  • Good point, I do the same and I believe the manual also mentions unwinding it, and also turning off from the wall first. – Aram Kocharyan Jun 8 '12 at 7:52
  • The Apple Forums also suggest the overheating/overstraining theory. Just for additional info. – filoxo Apr 7 '16 at 18:47

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.

  • 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 '12 at 15:25

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!


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. – user1721135 Sep 1 '18 at 19:29
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    yea mine is 2015 and it's yellow af – shim May 16 at 3:45

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protected by Tetsujin Jul 16 '18 at 16:05

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