How to Clean a Metal Lunchbox

Cotton swabs are valuable additions to your cleaning arsenal.
Cotton swabs are valuable additions to your cleaning arsenal. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

With bread crumbs, small pieces of meat and cheese, drops of applesauce and a bit of spilled milk, remnants of your or your child’s lunch can create a smelly breeding ground for molds and bacteria. While some of the newer stainless steel lunchboxes are dishwasher safe, older models are not. Both types can be washed by hand. Clean your metal lunchbox after every use, and pay particular attention to the corners and crevices where crumbs tend to get stuck.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Cotton swabs

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Wet your sponge with warm water and squeeze a bit of dish soap on the sponge.

Scrub the inside and outside of your metal lunchbox with the soapy sponge.

Rinse the lunchbox with warm water.

Wet one end of a cotton swab with warm water.

Clean the corners and crevices with the cotton swab. You might need to use multiple cotton swabs to reach all of the crevices.

Rinse your lunchbox and leave it open to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • During school and work vacations, sprinkle your clean metal lunchbox with baking soda to keep it smelling clean and fresh. Rinse the lunchbox before you use it again.
  • Every month or so, you can polish your lunchbox with car wax. Place some car wax on a cotton cloth and wipe your lunchbox with the cloth. The wax will simultaneously clean and polish your lunchbox.


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