House and Home

6 Ways to Clean Plastic Containers Without Harsh Chemicals



Even if you are making a transition to glass containers for your lunches and leftovers, chances are you still have a small stockpile of plastic containers in your kitchen.

And no matter how thoroughly you scrub them, there comes a point where they start to smell a little…stale.

If you have any plastic containers that could use a little spring cleaning, here are six ideas to freshen them up — without resorting to harsh chemicals.

Always start by giving your container a good scrub with soap and hot water. Then try one of these methods to get rid of lingering odors.

  • Newspaper: Crumple newspaper and stuff it into the container. Snap on the lid and leave it overnight or longer. 
  • Charcoal: Place a piece of charcoal in the container. Seal shut and let sit until the odor has been absorbed. 
  • Baking soda: Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub over the interior of the container. Let it sit for a day or two and wash off. Repeat if necessary. 
  • Lemon: Rinse container with lemon juice or rub a cut lemon over the interior surface. 
  • Coffee grounds: Place used coffee grounds (wet or dry) in the container and let sit until odor is gone. 
  • Sunshine: Place your containers outside on a sunny day to simultaneously air them out and take advantage of the odor-fighting power of the sun.

Do you have any other tips for removing odors from plastic food containers?