The Biggest Mistake You Make with Your Food Storage Containers, According to a Tupperware Expert

updated Nov 11, 2020
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Credit: Sarah Crowley

Even if you take good care of your food storage containers, they’re often prone to hold onto smells — especially if they’re made of plastic. High-acid foods, like tomatoes and carrots, and strong spices can linger in the plastic no matter how hard you scrub (and no matter what dish soap or scrubbing tool you use). While the discoloration and smells are unlikely to transfer to other foods you store, unwelcome smells are always an annoying problem to have in the kitchen. 

Luckily, the solution is a lot easier than you think. According to Chiara DeLeonibus, product and culinary expert at Tupperware, the simplest way to prevent smells in your plastic food storage containers isn’t to stop cooking your favorite recipes or even to swap out your go-to dish soap for a better one: It’s all about how you store them.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Let’s say, as an example, you cook tomato soup or chili, store it in the fridge, and then reheat it in the container, leaving the plastic with a tomatoey odor even after it’s washed. DeLeonibus says, as a general rule, you should store potentially stinky containers without the lids on — so that potential odors can easily evaporate as the containers are stored in your pantry or drawer. 

The same rules apply when it comes to staving off the effects of moisture on your containers: DeLeonibus says the no-lid principle is especially important to follow if your containers still have a bit of condensation from dishwashing when you go to put them away. They’ll dry a lot faster, and they’re not as likely to get musty-smelling when they can “breathe.”

Keeping lids off is better for organizing and space-saving, too. You can easily nest your storage containers (and neatly file the lids) if they’re left open. If you seal the containers with their lids on, you’ll be forced to stack them, which takes up way more space in your drawer or cabinet.

Related: 3 of the Most Brilliant Ways to Organize Your Storage Container Lids