How to Take Care of Tupperware Properly, According to an Expert

Updated: May 27, 2024

Know how to wash and store your plastic containers to make them last. We'll cover how to know when to throw away Tupperware, too.

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?

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. That includes vintage Tupperware pieces like this.

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).

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.