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How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.

Clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware

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How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.

How to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. My 3-step process removes tomato-based stains.

If you have plastic containers, chances are they have gotten stained over time, but they are still perfectly usable. I have several pieces of Tupperware that are that way, believe me. And because they are good Tupperware, I hate to throw them away.  Recently, I really had to do something about one of my favorite Tupperware containers. It’s a perfect size for storing leftovers. My son had taken leftover meatballs and sauce for his meatball sandwich to school on Friday and then left the sauce-filled container in his backpack all weekend. We didn’t discover it until Monday morning. Fortunately, it wasn’t moldy, just really stained.

So, here is my easy, 3-step way to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware.

Step 1 to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. Wash the container with soap or run it through a dishwasher cycle.

Here is what the container looked like after washing it with Dawn dish soap and also run through a hot wash cycle of the dishwasher. It was still bad. Oh, believe me, it was better, but still very stained.
How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.

Step 2 to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. Use diluted lemon juice to soak the container.

I know that lemon juice is a great way to lighten stains. So, I added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and enough water to cover the stain in the container and let it sit overnight. I did the same with the lid because it was stained, too. I hoped that would remove the stains.
Adding the lemon juice:
How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.
After adding the lemon, add enough water to cover the stain.
How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.

The result?

After soaking overnight, the container and lid were much better, but still stained and rough.
How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.

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

So, I had read that several people have had success removing stains by skipping the lemon juice soak and simply leaving the container out in the sun for a few hours. Well, hey, I live in Florida and it’s summer! I have plenty of sun! So, I left the container and lid out on the pool deck in the direct sun from 7am until I got home around 4pm.

The stains were gone!

This is what they looked like when I got home!
How to really clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware. This tutorial shows how to use lemon juice and the sun to remove tomato-based stains.
Pretty good, huh?

Final thoughts.

Now, let me just say that this container was already slightly stained before the meatball incident, so I think the amazing part is that this process worked on the really old stain as well. You may find that either just using the diluted lemon juice soak OR just putting your container out in the sun will do the trick on your container’s stain. So, try one first and then the other to see what happens. It took both to clean mine, but it was very easy.
Here are some ways to really deep clean your kitchen, too.
Are there parts of your kitchen that you just can't get as clean as want, like appliances, sponges, & cookware? Here's 10 ways to really your kitchen clean!

I hope you found my way to clean stained plastic containers and Tupperware helpful!

Let me know what worked for you. Did you only need one or the other or did you have to use both the lemon juice and sun to remove your stains?
Happy cleaning!
~ Pam

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Author: Pam Hoepner

Hi I'm Pam, a seasoned homemaker with a husband, 3 teenagers, and a houseful of pets. I'm also a librarian and professional organizer (The Economical Organizer) who loves to share my hard-earned homemaking, DIY and organizing skills with others so you too can have a Life, Creatively Organized.

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