How to Get an Odor Out of Plastic

Favored for their durability and versatility, plastic food containers are convenient for storing leftovers or for transporting food to be eaten away from home. Food odors, however, can linger in plastic containers. Odors in a sealed container cannot escape, so they are absorbed into the plastic. Simply cleaning a plastic container doesn't always remove the odor, especially if it has been allowed to sit for a time. Fortunately, you can get food odors out of plastic containers using white vinegar and newspaper.

Plastic containers tend to absorb food odors.
  1. Fill the smelly plastic container with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. Let the mixture soak in the container for 30 minutes.

  2. Pour the vinegar solution out of the container. Thoroughly rinse the container with cool water.

  3. Examine the container for lingering odors. If the container still smells unpleasant, moisten pieces of newspaper with water.

  4. Place the moistened newspaper pieces in the container. Seal the container and leave the newspaper in the container overnight. Carbon in newspaper ink absorbs odors.

  5. Remove the newspaper pieces from the container. Wash the container container thoroughly with a soft sponge and dish detergent.


  • Abrasive cleaning materials can scratch plastic containers and probably won't help remove odors.
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