Do you have a hard time keeping your lunch containers from getting stained?
Leftover tomato sauce and pasta for lunch is definitely a favorite, but the red stain it leaves on our plastic Tupperware… not so much.
Before we begin, let’s discuss why plastic containers stain in the first place.
Stains usually happen when the container, filled with a tomato-based sauce, is heated in the microwave. The sauce gets baked into the plastic giving it the orange-reddish color.
When this happened to me, I use to think my containers were permanently ruined, but that’s not always the case. There are a few ways to help clean up those containers and get them looking new. Let me show you how.
How to Remove Stains from Plastic Containers
I tried a few popular methods and noted my findings below, along with ratings of which performed best.
- Mix equal parts of water and vinegar and pour it into the container.
- Soak for 2 to 3 hours. Dump out the vinegar solution, then wash and dry. If you’re worried about the vinegar smell, don’t worry. It disappears after it dries.
Make a paste by combining 2 tablespoons of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Apply it to the stained area of your containers, and let it sit for 2-3 hours, then clean with a moist cloth or sponge. Wash the containers as normal and let dry.
Sunny day outside? Perfect. Rub lemon juice on the stained area of the container then set it outside in the sunshine for 1 to 2 days. The sun and lemon juice work together to remove the stains.
Alka Seltzer (or denture tablets)
Put two tablets in warm water inside the container, and let it sit overnight. Wash the container thoroughly and let dry.
Note: Remember that plastic is very porous, so I recommend not using bleach to clean your containers.
If you find simple tips like the ones I shared in this post helpful, be sure to check out the 101 Packed Lunches eBook. Along with incredible recipes, I also answer popular questions and provide step-by-step directions on how to pack lunches so they stay fresh.
Check out more about what the 101 Packed Lunches eBook has to offer here.
101 Packed Lunches eBook
All my best kid-friendly lunches from over a decade of creating meal plans. Add some variety to your child’s lunchbox with these epic lunches, plus receive my Pack Meals Like a Pro ebook, free with purchase!
How to Prevent Containers from Being Stained
It’s hard to remove the stain once a container has been microwaved, so try lining the lunch container with a silicone cup, using silicone containers or glassware for foods with tomato sauce. This will prevent any of your plastic Tupperware from discoloration or damage.
How to remove stains from plastic containers
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- Plastic container
- Mix equal parts water and vinegar into the stained container.
- Allow the container to soak in the mixture for 2 to 3 hours. Drain the water vinegar, then wash and dry.
- The vinegar smell will disappear after it dries.