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How to Clean Stains out of Tupperware

Updated on March 15, 2018
jimmythejock profile image

James makes a living cleaning strangers' toilets. As a professional house cleaner of over 5 years, he loves to share what he has learned.

Plastic dishes and Tupperware

With the birth of the microwave oven more and more plastic dishes were made, dishes that are microwave friendly and stay cool to the touch whilst the food being cooked in them is piping hot.

The trouble with these plastic dishes is that they stain very easily and it is a difficult job trying to remove those stains without damaging the plastic beyond repair, even putting them in the dishwasher will not remove the most stubborn stains.

Luckily there are a few methods that make the job of removing stains from plastic containers quite simple and in this article i will outline the easiest and quickest methods.

Stain in Tupperware.

Baked beans cooked in the microwave can leave hard to remove food stains.
Baked beans cooked in the microwave can leave hard to remove food stains. | Source

Problems removing stains from plastic dishes

The main problem in removing stains in plastic is that chemical cleaners are not an option, chemical cleaners can burn into the plastic and make them toxic to the user, do not use any chemical cleaners to clean plastic, there should be a health warning of the risks on plastic product packaging.

Another problem with cleaning stained plastic dishes is that if you use abrasive cleaners you will scratch the plastic and will have to throw it out because bacteria live in those areas that will be impossible to clean thoroughly.

Would you drink out of that yellow cup in the picture above?

Although the cup in the picture has been cleaned the stain is not for coming off, would you drink water from it? probably not because

1. It does not look very clean.

2. You would probably get a slight taste of the baked beans that made the stain in the first place.

Most people would throw this cup out but the stain can be removed without harsh chemicals, without using a scourer and without much effort on your behalf.

Fun Plastic Fact

The word ‘plastic’ comes from the Greek plastikos, meaning ‘capable of being shaped and molded

Cleaning really tough stains on plastic containers

Vinegar, lemon juice and water microwave for 3 minutes and voila a stain free microwave friendly cup.
Vinegar, lemon juice and water microwave for 3 minutes and voila a stain free microwave friendly cup. | Source

How to remove stains from microwave dishes.

Salt, is a natural abrasive that is not too harsh and is soft enough to clean plastic without scratching it, sprinkle some salt on to the stain and rub it in with a wet cloth, you can remove most stains in plastic dishes using salt as a scourer.

Lemon or lemon juice, The acid in a lemon or in lemon juice reacts with the foodstuffs in the stain and breaks it down, rub a piece of lemon or some lemon juice on to the stain and leave sitting for a few hours, most stains will just wipe away when you wash the plastic as normal.

White vinegar works in the same way as lemon or lemon juice, rub some into the stain and leave for a few hours, again the acid in the vinegar will break down any food stains leaving it an easy job to wipe the plastic dish clean.

Baking soda, is again a natural scourer and it also eliminates food smells, mix a little baking soda with water and make it into a thick paste, dip a cloth into the paste and rub it onto the food stain.

Denture tablets, place two denture tablets into the plastic dish fill with water and just like your teeth leave soaking overnight, wash and rinse as normal and the stain will be gone.

Fun Plastic Fact

Polypropylene, is what most of our plastic dishes are made of, the material’s high heat resistance makes it microwave and dishwasher safe

How to remove tomato soup stains from plastic dishes

Tough stains like tomato soup, blackcurrant juice and baked beans can be a lot more difficult to remove but recently I learned the quickest and simplest method that works perfectly every time and it has a rather nifty added bonus that you probably wouldn't expect but more about that later.

Half fill your stained dish with white vinegar and add about 5 drops of lemon juice, then fill the dish to the top with water and place it into the microwave.

Set your microwave on full power and cook the mixture in the stained dish.

When the microwave beeps to let you know it is finished, remove the stained dish and let it cool down for around 30 minutes, after the 30 minutes are up just wash your dish as usual and it will be stain free and ready to use.

The added bonus is that you can kill 2 birds with one stone as the old saying goes, when you microwave a mixture of vinegar and a few drops of lemon the steam created whilst it is boiling in the microwave actually makes it a very easy task to clean the inside of your microwave oven, the steam loosens any hard baked on foods and food stains in your microwave and all you have to do is give it a quick wipe over with a clean damp cloth, your microwave will sparkle.

Do you re-use plastic

Do you clean your stained plastic dishes?

See results

No more stains in your plastic dishes

No more stains, and no hard work to achieve this result.
No more stains, and no hard work to achieve this result. | Source

© 2007 Jimmy the jock


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    • Lisabean2202 profile image

      Lisa Bean 

      11 months ago from Nevada

      Neat idea. I hate to throw them out but they look gross after being stained.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      20 months ago

      Lemons are miracle workers on stains. Thank you for these handy remedies for those container problems.

    • Susan Salem profile image

      Susan Salem 

      2 years ago

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Jim Koster 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Lemon works exceptionally well when it comes to cleaning water stains off tupperware. Or if you don't have lemons, try undiluted plain white vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar cleans pretty much the same way as lemon.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      7 years ago from Atlanta

      Boy talk about quick and to the point! Execellent short hub, plan to definitely try this on tupperwave. I am always popping plastic containers in the microwave, and you know what this does, stains..stains...stains. Thanks for the tip, voted up!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow!!! That works. Thanks.

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Irene, wipe the dishes down with lemon juice or even a piece of lemon, leave them for about an hour then rinse they should be frsh smelling after that.....jimmy

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Please help me.... my tupperware dishes r still good but they have a smell to them that i can't seem to remove,i've tried many things no luck.

    • sultana657 profile image


      10 years ago from Dhaka

      nice..keep it up

    • Rainbow World profile image

      Rainbow World 

      10 years ago

      I certainly will have your hubpage bookmarked for my quick info reference. Thanks.

    • yojpotter profile image


      11 years ago from Iloilo City

      Thank you for the great tips on how to remove stains from Tupperwares properly..^^ it has been very helpful!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      Good advice. Tomato sauce & carrot soup are the worst offenders for my tupperware.

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      12 years ago

      great hub..thanks


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