Got a dirty iPhone 15 FineWoven case? There's still hope for it — a bit of detergent and some elbow grease might clean the grime (though Apple doesn’t recommend it)

A dirty iPhone 15 FineWoven case on a table, held by someone wearing rubber gloves
(Image credit: YouTube / iPhonedo)

The iPhone 15 FineWoven case has to go down as one of the least-well-received Apple products of all time. FineWoven was the only mistake in an otherwise spotless iPhone 15 line-up launch. Apple's best iPhones, the shiniest, fastest, most powerful mobile devices it had ever made, were paired with the all-new protective case that, while better for the environment than previous options thanks to its use of natural fibers, was an absolute grime magnet.

Expensive and poorly conceived, the FineWoven case’s natural fabric makeup meant that you’d be taking a glorious piece of luxury tech, and, after a few weeks of even gentle, careful use, would be like wrapping it in a grubby blanket. It was even prone to scratches with the lightest of scrapes. I look after my gadgetry as if they’re newborn babies, and even mine is starting to look worse for wear after a few month’s use.

But does it have to be this way? Is there a way to clean a FineWoven iPhone 15 case that will get rid of the dirty marks without damaging the case itself, and restore it to as-good-as-new status?

Perhaps almost — but it’ll mean actively doing a few things that even Apple’s own recommended cleaning method tells you to avoid.

Faruk of iPhone-focussed YouTube channel iPhonedo set about finding the crummiest iPhone 15 Pro Max FineWoven case he could on eBay, and set to work cleaning it up. You can see how he gets on in the video below — and the results are surprisingly good!

How to clean an Apple FineWoven case

With a bit of effort, Faruk is able to get the burgundy version of the case looking pretty good again. But to do so, he does a few things that Apple actively discourages, including putting loads of liquid detergent directly on the case, running the case directly under water, scrubbing the case and then using a hairdryer to dry it all out.

While we can’t say what gunk covered Faruk’s case in the first place, and as a result how effective his method would be against your own home-grown grime or other case colors, it’s a million times better than where he started off.

But if you want to do it by the book and follow Apple’s guidance, there are some very specific steps to follow. Apple suggests the following:

  1. In a clean container, mix 1 tsp. (5 mL) of liquid laundry detergent into 1 cup (250 mL) of water
  2. Dip a lint-free cloth into the soapy water solution, wring it out slightly, and rub the cloth on the case surfaces gently for 1 minute
  3. Wipe the case clean with a separate cloth that's slightly dampened with fresh water
  4. Dry the case with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth, making sure to remove any excess moisture
  5. The material may look different and show wear over time as the fibers get compressed with normal use. Some scratches may diminish over time

What may never be restored however is the case’s susceptibility to dings and scratches (though they’re better suffered on the case than inflicted on your iPhone itself), nor the discoloration that seems to occur when you’re using a MagSafe charging stand, which seems to be an irreversible side-effect of the heat generated by the charging connection. 

But if your iPhone FineWoven case has fallen victim to a tomato sauce spillage, a chocolate disaster, or a coffee tsunami, there may be hope yet.  If not? There are always our top picks of the best iPhone cases to try out instead.

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Gerald Lynch
Editor in Chief

Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. 


Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.