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Removing Odors from Plastic Containers

Category Cleaning
Plastic food storage containers are convenient to use, but sometimes it is very difficult to remove the residual odors left by their contents. This is a guide about removing odors from plastic containers.


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By 20 found this helpful
May 22, 2011

I've really gotten into washing out and reusing jars and containers instead of buying brand plastic products. Sometimes the best jars have really tough odors, like pickle and olive jars. I've used this tip that was taught to me from a lovely lady when I was just a child. Wad up a page of newspaper, put it in the jar, seal it, and let it sit for a few days. When you take the paper out, you won't smell any trace of the previous item!


Also, along the same lines, if your refrigerator needs an air freshener, put a few charcoal briquets in a bowl in the back. Works like a charm!

By Maile from Onalaska, WA

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July 29, 20121 found this helpful

Wow this is the most amazing thing ever! Just the other day - I tried to do the same thing. I happened to sniff at a jar used to have. God knows what was in it. I wanted to to use for rice or something. Couldn't because of the evil smell! Will definitely try your tip & see if it works :D

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By 2 found this helpful
January 12, 2010

Use new coffee filters to get rid of odors in enclosed containers. Like re-using plastic coffee cans or in stored Tupperware with lids on, equals no plastic odor!

By nancyintx

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June 1, 20110 found this helpful


What do you mean by a new coffee filter to remove the smell? Is this something you place in the pot? I have a plastic, self-contained coffee maker that I need to remove the smell and taste of coffee from as coffee makes me nauseous.

Thanks for the help.


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January 17, 2011

You will never guess what finally removed the leftover aroma from my plastic bowl. I put it outside in a flower pot (to keep the squirrels from playing with it) in full sunlight for 2 days.

Darn! My Mother was right - you can do a lot with the simplest things and absolutely no energy expended on my part. Absolutely no odor left either. I could hardly believe it and kept sniffing away, but there was no, absolutely no odor. Now I am putting the salsa in a glass jar, which is great because it keeps the salsa ice cold.

By JodiT from Aurora Colorado

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By 2 found this helpful
March 12, 2008

Cyclists' water bottles often come with a pungent plastic taste/odor. To eliminate this; fill bottle 2/3 with vinegar (clear) and 1/3 water; cover/close and let set for 24 hours. Rinse with clean water. No plastic taste, no vinegar smell, as odor free as using glass.

By Cajun62234 from Collinsville, IL

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September 3, 20050 found this helpful

Here's something I just learned, if you have plastic that has like an onion smell or something. wad up newspaper and put it into the container. Then close it up for a day and the smell will be gone. Also newspaper is the best way to clean windows and mirrors, streak free. Happy days!


By RoseMary B.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 20, 20080 found this helpful

I use a 50% bleach and 50% water solution and soak the plastic in it for a 15 to 30 minutes or so, depending on how strong the smell in the plastic is. Then rinse thoroughly. The smell in the plastic should be totally gone after that.

snowpea25 AT hotmail DOT com

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January 17, 20050 found this helpful

Do your plastic coffee mugs have a soapy smell to them? Just soak them in vinegar overnight. If there is a leftover smell of vinegar re-soak in a sink full of hot water and baking soda. By Kat

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 28, 2015

How do you get the smell out of the Gerber baby food plastic food containers (even though you wash them) before doing a project?

By Marilyn

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January 29, 20150 found this helpful

Just let them air out a while, couple of days or weeks.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 17, 20110 found this helpful

How do you get the smell out of plastic containers - ie: onions?

By Beverly from Kelowna, BC


Removing Odors from Plastic Containers

I was just reading this afternoon that if you leave them sit overnight with a mixture of baking soda and water the smell will be gone the next morning. I haven't tried it yet but hopefully it will work. (09/01/2010)

By zoodad

Removing Odors from Plastic Containers

I wash them in warm soapy water and soak overnight in a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. (09/04/2010)

By Sheltiemom

Removing Odors from Plastic Containers

I run them all through the dishwasher, and don't seem to have odor problems, no matter what I store in them. (09/05/2010)

By louel53

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September 1, 20100 found this helpful

To take nasty odors out of a plastic container just stuff a crumpled piece of newspaper into the container after you have washed it and put the lid on. The next day all you have to do is wash the container again and the nasty odor will be gone!

By Robin

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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