This Cheap Hack Apparently Cleans Tomato Stains out of Plastic Containers


Dec. 12 2023, Published 4:25 p.m. ET

Tupperware containers are made to be reused. When leftover spaghetti leaves tomato stains in your plastic containers that seem impossible to clean, you may be tempted to throw the whole container out.

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Discarded plastic containers are terrible for the environment. Instead of tossing your plastic containers, you should try a new hack circulating on social media for how to get those pesky tomato stains out of plastic. Let’s look into this hack and other methods for removing tomato stains out of plastic.

A guy eating leftover spaghetti and meatballs from a plastic container.
Source: iStock
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TikTok's "Tupperware hack" supposedly cleans tomato stains out of plastic containers.

Numerous videos on the “Tupperware cleaning hack” can be found on TikTok, and the method looks pretty simple. In a viral TikTok video with over four million views, @smackbae demonstrated how easy this hack is. After rinsing out a plastic container that looks like it contained spaghetti or chili, a reddish film remains in the bowl.

A paper towel, a couple of squirts of dish soap, and warm water are added to the container. Then @smackbae secured the lid onto the plastic container and shook it vigorously. After shaking it for a few minutes, he dumped the soapy water from the container, and TA DA, there was no more tomato stain! The reddish stain had been transferred to the soapy paper towel.

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While some people in the comments were amazed by the hack, others suggested that you can get the same results with a sponge, dish soap, and warm water. Others suggested that things like baking soda, vinegar, or Clorox wipes also work. And a few commenters said there wouldn’t be tomato stains on the plastic containers if the spaghetti sauce were organic.

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Here's how to get tomato stains out of plastic, once and for all.

If you tried this Tupperware cleaning hack and it didn’t work for you, there are other tricks you can try to get tomato stains out of plastic. Here are a few options.

Butter or cooking spray

According to the Dawn Dish Soap blog, coating the inside of the plastic container with canola oil cooking spray or butter before you put your leftovers in it will prevent the tomato sauce from leaving a stain.

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Distilled white vinegar can be used for many things, including removing tomato stains on your plastic containers. According to wikiHow, you just fill the stained container with half vinegar and half water and let it sit for between 12 and 24 hours. The stain should then rinse away. If you want a faster solution, mix a teaspoon or two of baking soda in with undiluted white vinegar, per wikiHow.

Hand sanitizer

After the Covid pandemic, many of us are well stocked with hand sanitizer. Besides keeping your hands free from germs, hand sanitizer can also be used to remove tomato stains from your plastic containers. According to AllRecipes, fill your stained container with hand sanitizer to cover the stain, then let it sit for an hour. Then, you take a paper towel, wipe out the container, and wash it like you usually would.

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