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Proper Cleaning of Plastic Food Storage Containers

Updated on March 13, 2011

Are you resolving to eat more meals at home rather than spending the extra money to dine out several times each week? The key to avoiding the trap of picking up fast food or running out to a restaurant on busy days is to cook ahead and keep meal items in your refrigerator that can easily be reheated on hectic evenings.

Why not cook several dishes each weekend, so you won't have to worry about what to have for dinner during the work week? Of course, if you're going to cook ahead, you'll likely be using plastic food storage containers on a regular basis.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and other companies make convenient containers that are designed for food storage, microwave heating, and eating. These containers an be an invaluable tool in any kitchen, but it's important to keep them clean if you're going to use them on a regular basis.

Cleaning Food Storage Containers

Plastic food storage containers are dishwasher safe, which makes it easy to disinfect and sterilize them between uses. However, with repeated use, these types of containers can easily become discolored and stained. Depending on what you store in them, they can even hold odors which can be transferred to other food.

Baking Soda

When your plastic food storage containers start to show the stains that naturally come with wear and tear, it's time to tackle them with baking soda. Simply pour a little baking soda in a stained container, add a little cold water, and scrub with a clean sponge. If the stains are particularly stubborn, you may need to use something a little more abrasive to scrub, such as a pot scrubber or previously unused toothbrush.


If your food storage containers have an odor, or stains that are too tough for the baking soda cleaning tip, don't give up. Vinegar can eliminate odors from these types of containers. It can also be an effective cleaning agent for the toughest stains.

Mix water and vinegar together in equal proportions and pour into the stained containers. Allow the solution to sit in the container for about 45 minutes. When the time is up, pour out the solution and rinse with cold water. Follow up by washing in the dishwasher. The container will be as clean as it's going to get at that point. If you're not satisfied with the results, you can buy new containers knowing that you did everything within your power to extend the life of the food storage containers you already had.


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  • Triplet Mom profile image

    Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

    Thanks for this hub! I have a few containers that can use some deep cleaning, I am going to give your tips a try.