How to Remove Stains From Plastic Food Storage Containers

Leftovers are easily stored in plastic food containers, helping you preserve your food a little longer while containing odors. As food is stored, natural dyes from the food can cause stains on your plastic containers. These stains appear to be on the surface of the plastic, but they become absorbed into the material's pores, making them harder to remove. When left unattended, stains in your plastic food containers affect the taste of other foods stored and make your containers look dirty even when they're clean.

Food pigment transfers to plastic bowls, causing stains.

Step 1

Lemon juice is a natural plastic container stain remover.

Pour lemon juice onto a paper towel, and wipe around the inside of your plastic container.  Make sure the stained areas are completely wet with the lemon juice, then place the containers in direct sunlight so the lemon juice can bleach out the stains as it dries.

Step 2

Rinse out your plastic containers with water.  Place 2 tbsp.

baking soda in a bowl.  Add just enough white vinegar to make a thick paste.

Step 3

Spread the foaming baking soda and vinegar paste onto the remaining stains on your plastic containers.  Rub the paste into the plastic with a clean, damp cloth.

Allow the baking soda and vinegar paste to sit on the surface of your plastic container for 10 minutes. 

Step 4

Lint-free kitchen towels dry plastic containers after stain removal.

Dampen a clean cloth and scrub your plastic container with the paste on the surface.  Rinse with plain water, and dry your containers with a clean, dry cloth.

Things You Will Need

  • Lemon juice
  • Paper towels
  • Bowl
  • 2 tbsp. baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloths

About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.

Photo Credits

  • carrot and knife image by Dmitry Grishin from Fotolia.com
  • lemons image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
  • stack of brown, blue and white striped towels image by DSL from Fotolia.com