I Tried That Viral TikTok Hack for Cleaning Stained Food Containers — Here Are the Before & After Pics

updated Sep 29, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Everyone seems to have those last-resort plastic food containers at the bottom of their drawers or shelves. You know, the ones that seem to be eternally endowed with stains or a strong stench, likely from sitting in the back of your fridge full of curry or pasta with tomato sauce. Well, no matter the reason your containers made it to the island of misfit food storage, you may not be eternally doomed to a future of discolored plastic. 

And that’s on, you guessed it, cleaning TikTok! According to user Adi Kempler, it could be easier than you think to banish stains and odors from your plastic food storage. In a video with more than half a million likes, Kempler shares a simple cleaning hack that, if effective, could save some time and money. 

All you have to do, she says, is add a few pumps of dish soap to your stained or grease-film-covered container, then, add a bit of warm water from the faucet. Then, what seems to be the clincher: Tear up a paper towel, add it to the soapy water solution, pop on the lid, and shake the container vigorously. (Kempler recommends shaking forcefully for 45 seconds to a minute.) 

After the process in the video, the container looked brand new. So naturally, I raced to my food container drawer to try the hack myself. 

Credit: Ashley Abramson

I found the perfect guinea pig: an old plastic container that had been stained yellow from a turmeric-based sauce. It was clear to me at that point that my normal dish-scrubbing regimen wasn’t going to erase the golden hue circling the inside of the container, so Kempler’s trick was my only hope. 

Credit: Ashley Abramson

I squirted a few teaspoons of regular Dawn dish soap, then filled the container about ⅓ of the way with warm (semi-hot) water. I used about half a paper towel, torn in three-inch or so sections. (Probably five or so torn pieces in total.) Then, I added the lid and shook. Knowing turmeric is especially stubborn (it’s stained my hands for days before!), I shook for a good 90 seconds, hoping I’d be shook myself with the end result.

Credit: Ashley Abramson

The results, unfortunately, weren’t all that amazing. I could definitely still see the yellow in the container, even after rinsing and scrubbing it again with a dish soap and a brush. In the end the discoloration was a bit faded, but honestly not enough to put the container back into my favorite food storage rotation. Who knows which one of the variables contributed to my lack of visible results. Maybe I didn’t use enough soap or paper towel, or the trick doesn’t work as well on inexpensive containers.

Guess I’ll have to try again next time I leave something in the fridge too long (which, I’m sad to say, happens more often than I’d like).

Credit: Ashley Abramson

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: I Tried That Viral TikTok Hack for Cleaning Stained Tupperware—Here’s the Before and After