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Cleaning plastic storage containers

Every kitchen hides an overflowing cupboard of plastic containers. Whether you’re a Tupperware fanatic or happy with the supermarket brands, there is no hiding the fact that plastic containers can get a bit whiffy.

Here are some tips for keeping them clean, odour-free and ready for tonight’s leftovers.

Wash or rinse as soon as possible

This will help immensely in keeping food from penetrating the plastic. If you cannot wash, try to rinse the food out at a minimum. Hand washing works best, in warm and soapy water.

Use the top rack of the dishwasher

If you do use the dishwasher, keep the containers on the top rack. Any lower down and the dishwasher is actually counter-productive as the water is too hot and sets stains and odours rather than removing them. Plastic can also warp if the water temperature is too hot.

Store with salt or baking soda

If you can, store containers with a pinch of salt or baking soda in them. This will eliminate any smells from the containers. Obviously, rinse before use! This may not always be practical, especially in overflowing cupboards… so read on.

Store with the lid off

Placing the lid on containers traps odours in. Ensure they are always stored with the lid off to let them air out naturally.

Store with newspaper

If you still get the occasional Sunday paper, keep them for your containers. Scrunch a ball of newspaper into each container. Apparently, this removes any odours, though I haven’t bought a newspaper this century, so haven’t tried this one.

Removing set in odours

If the odours are really set in, try spraying with vinegar, leave for 5 minutes then wash with warm soapy water. If that doesn’t work, add baking soda to the mix, forming a thick paste. Leave overnight then wash well in soapy water. Leaving the containers on a windowsill that gets direct sun will also help in clearing away smells – natural sunlight is a very effective sanitiser.

Invest in glass or stainless steel

If you’ve decided that all this is too hard and would rather start fresh, look at investing in glass or stainless steel containers. We love the range of non-toxic glass and stainless steel containers at Biome Eco Stores (affiliate).

What containers do you use? Have you made the switch from plastic? Leave us a comment below.