How to Clean Stained Plastic Containers and Tupperware

Pam Hoepner
by Pam Hoepner
2 Materials
1 Day

If you have plastic containers, chances are they have gotten stained over time, but they are still perfectly usable. I had several pieces of Tupperware that had hard-to-remove tomato-based stains. And because they were good Tupperware, I hated to throw them away. Especially since I am a professional organizer and I try to keep only the number of containers that I need. Here's my very easy, tried and true way to even remove tomato-based stains.

Step 1 to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. Wash the container with soap and water or run it through a dishwasher cycle (and yes, this is AFTER it was run through the dishwasher - clean, but still stained).

Step 2 to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. Fill the container with enough water to cover all the stains. Then mix in a couple of tablespoons of (aff. link) lemon juice. Let it soak overnight.

Here's the result. The container is much less stained but still has some staining and rough patches. So, on to the final step...

Step 3 to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. Use the sun!

The sun will help bleach out the remaining stains. Right before I left for work, I set my container and lid out on the back porch - in direct sunlight - and this is what it looked like at 4pm. The stains and roughness are gone!

I've found that this 3-step process is the BEST way to get those stains out and rescue your Tupperware and other plastic containers for many more uses! See all the detailed photos in my post.

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Pam Hoepner
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2 of 8 comments
  • Shelby 🐈 Shelby 🐈 on Apr 11, 2021

    I used to get tomato based stains in my tupperware. Then I learned that it was because I heated the sauce up in the microwave. That causes the sauce to cook into the plastic. So now I just transfer red sauce into pyrex bowls before heating in the microwave. That saves a lot of time. Still use my tuppeware though.


    Yes that was a long time ago I don't need a lecture about microwaving plastic. I have been informed.

  • Pam Hoepner Pam Hoepner on Apr 11, 2021

    I use my Tupperware for leftovers, so yes, many are stained that way, but I still prefer using my Tupperware to using glass. :)