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How to Get Smells Out of Plastic Food Storage Containers

Reusable plastic food containers help safely and conveniently store leftovers for future use. Depending on what type of food is stored, for how long and if the food is warmed repeatedly in a microwave, unpleasant and lingering smells can develop in the plastic of the containers. If left untreated, the smell may affect the taste of future food stored in the containers. Fortunately, several solutions exist that can eliminate the problem.

  1. Slice a few lemon wedges and place them in each container; the size of the container dictates how many lemon wedges you need. Cover and seal the container(s) with their lids and leave them to sit in direct sunlight. The incoming light combined with the lemon juice often can rid the containers of the lingering odor.

  2. Slice a few small crusts of bread and place them in each smelly container. Douse the bread with white vinegar, replace and seal the lid and leave the container to sit overnight. You may have to wash the containers a few times after removing the soaked bread to eliminate the vinegar scent.

  3. Fill each container with just enough water to cover the bottom of the containers. Place a teaspoon or two of baking soda into the containers, and mix the soda into the water. Use an old (and clean) toothbrush to scrub the sides and bottom of the container to get rid of smells and remove stains. This method is particularly effective for containers that contained tomato-based sauces.