There’s a reason that just about everyone you know has at least one kitchen cabinet or drawer solely devoted to storing Tupperware. These plastic food containers are affordable, convenient, and great for saving leftovers or transporting food. But do plastic containers last forever? Whether you keep your Tupperware or not, learn how to organize your kitchen properly to keep the clutter away.
Best care tips for plastic containers
According to the Tupperware website, your Tupperware-brand plastic containers should be washed with a soft sponge and a non-abrasive cleaner. Corinne Brown, known as The Fresh Expert, is a nationally ranked Tupperware sales director. Brown says that Tupperware is designed to last, but should be treated like anything you want to keep forever, and not to expose it to extremes. Only use the dishwasher if the plastic containers are labeled “dishwasher safe” and always use the top rack. The bottom rack is closer to the heating element and can melt your containers.
Brown says for Tupperware-brand containers, anything purchased before 1979 should not go in the dishwasher. See what else you should never put in the dishwasher.
How to remove stains and odors
Your plastic containers look smooth but have a porous surface that can be permeated by stains and odors. Brown says, “Like your skin, plastic has pores and will absorb what is around it. Store [your Tupperware] in a clean, dry place and it can last a lifetime.”
If you do encounter stains, usually from acidic foods like tomato sauce, here’s how to get your plastic crystal clear again: Fill the stained container with one part water and one part vinegar, then soak it overnight or until you see the stain start to fade. Or, according to Brown, Efferdent denture tablets work miracles! Fill the stained container with water and drop in one or two tablets, let it soak for about an hour, then wash with soap and water.
To remove odors like garlic from plastic containers, make a paste with baking soda and water. Scrub the container with the paste and a microfiber cloth, then wash with soap and water (the baking soda paste will also help with stains). Check out this viral video that shows how to get stains out of plastic containers the easy way.
When to throw away Tupperware
There’s no standard rule of thumb about when it’s time to throw out your plastic containers. How long your containers last depends on how well you care for them, and the quality of plastic they’re made of.
You’ll know it’s time to toss your containers if they become warped or cracked. Keep in mind deep scratches can trap bacteria, too. Brown says, “Tupperware-brand products have a lifetime guarantee, so if it cracks, breaks, splits or peels, your Tupperware representative can often replace it for you.” That sounds like a good reason to host a virtual Tupperware party!
Otherwise, if it’s time to say goodbye to your containers; be sure to recycle them if possible. Check with your local recycling service to find out which types of plastic they accept.
Corinne Brown, The Fresh Expert
More from Reader's Digest:
30 Things You Need to Throw Out ASAP
7 Food Containers You’ve Actually Been Using All Wrong
20 Kitchen Storage Ideas That Will Free Up So Much Space
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