Smelly Kitchen Plastic Containers

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Removing Kitchen Odors

Plastic Container Storage

Smelly Plastic Containers

I've had to throw perfectly good containers away because they retain the smell of whatever was in them. For example, I froze chicken stock in a big yogurt container, and after I used it and cleaned it out really well, it still smelled like chicken. It kind of made me feel sick when I sniffed it because I am sick of chicken right now!

I tried soaking it in bleach, but that only made it smell like bleach and chicken. I always freeze anything with tomatoes in freezer bags because I know they'll stain my containers and make them smell. Is there any way to get smells out of my plastic containers?

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Vinegar

I used to collect plastic deli-style pickle jugs from restaurants, and they always smelled like whatever pickle was in them, even after bleach and several trips through the dishwasher. I discovered that soaking them overnight in a 70/30 mix of water to vinegar (vinegar being the 30%) worked for me.

If they still smelled objectionable, I dusted the insides with baking soda after trying the vinegar trick. I put about a cup of baking soda in each one, put the lid on it, and rotated it around so the baking soda reached all surfaces and sides.

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Boiling Water and Baking Soda

Nearly boiling water and baking soda do the trick every time for me!

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Newspaper

You may not believe this solution to the smelly plastic container problem. I didn't until I tried it on a plastic container that chopped onions had been put in and accidentally pushed to the back of the fridge.

Wash the container well and then dry and fill with crumpled up newspaper. Fill the container loosely. Put the top on and check it in a day or two. The scent will be gone.

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Lemon

I personally have found that filling the container almost to the top with water, adding lemon juice and letting it sit overnight has helped me with smelly plastic containers. Depending on the amount of smell you have, you may have to add a higher proportion of lemon juice to the water than I do. Try it and see.

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Coffee

Don't throw out those perfectly good containers! Put unused coffee grounds in them, close the lid, and let it sit for a few days. It will take the smell away.
Lisa C. in Leesburg, GA

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Baking Soda

Baking soda is effective for removing smells from plastic food containers.

Tomato-based products will stain plastic, but this is easily avoided by dropping a plastic bag into your plastic container. Put your tomato-based product in the plastic "liner." The container will allow the product to freeze to the container's shape.

Remember that some plastic containers are not suitable for freezing food. Food can also be frozen in glass jars, but need room for expansion so don't fill too full.

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Sunlight

I have always found that if I put the container in the sun for a few days, the odor and the discoloring go away.

Cleaning Plastic Containers: Vanilla

Try putting a half of a teaspoon of vanilla on a paper towel and sealing the container with this paper towel inside. I have found this works for even the smelliest coolers, so it should work for most plastic ware.
Vickie in NJ

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