How to Clean Plastic Containers


Whatever name brand they are, plastic containers are great for storing food. Cleaning these containers, however, can be a challenge, especially if there are stains. Plastic containers are not cheap, so throwing them away when they get stained can cost the user too much money. There are ways to clean these containers and even remove stubborn stains, making these containers easily used again and again.

Things You'll Need

  • Nylon Scrubber
  • Liquid dish washing liquid
  • Liquid automatic dish washing detergent
  • Liquid chlorine bleach
  • Tablespoon measure
  • Measuring cup
  • Bar Keepers Friend or Cameo or Dawn Power Dissolver
  • Oven cleaner
  • Plastic gloves
  • Cleaning cloths or sponges

How to Clean Plastic Containers

  • Clean the plastic containers in hot, soapy water, using a nylon scrubber. Rinse well. Never use metal scrubbers on the containers, as they can damage the plastic.

  • Remove the stains by trying one of several methods. Try covering the stain with a liquid automatic dish washing detergent (one plastic company recommends Palmolive) and allow it to stand for about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Soak the container in a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach to 1 cup of warm water. Allow it to sit for thirty minutes. Rinse until you can no longer smell the bleach in the container.

  • Remove exterior stains. Try using Bar Keepers Friend (or Cameo or Dawn Power Dissolver) and a nylon scrubber to remove stains. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Try an oven cleaner for exterior stains. Make sure there is adequate ventilation. Wear gloves and pour the oven cleaner on the stain. Allow it to sit for the time recommended on the can. While still wearing gloves, use a cleaning cloth or sponge to remove the oven cleaner. Do not reuse this cleaning cloth until it has been laundered. Do not reuse the sponge at all. Discard it. Rinse the plastic container thoroughly under hot running water and wash with liquid dish washing detergent with a fresh sponge or cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when using metal utensils or cooking tools with plastic containers. These can damage the surface of the containers, making it easier for stains to set into the surface.
  • While you can store tomato-based foods in plastic containers, do not heat these foods-in plastic containers-in the microwave. Instead, transfer the food to a glass container to heat them.
  • Do not mix liquid chlorine bleach with liquid dish washing detergent. It will create chlorine gas.
  • Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children.

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