How to Decode the Tupperware Symbols on Every Product

Dishwasher safe, microwave safe and more—here's everything you need to know about the Tupperware symbols.

When was the last time you really took a look at your Tupperware products? Most of us don’t think twice about the various plastic containers we use to store leftovers or office lunches. Though fitting lids to containers is challenging enough, there’s more to your stash of Tupperware than you think.

Conveniently, Tupperware includes symbols on its products that tell you everything you need to know. From recycling information to safe-use instructions, here’s how to understand the symbols.

What Do Tupperware Symbols Mean?

Food Safe

Though Tupperware is often considered to be food safe, you shouldn’t automatically assume so. Your storage containers will have the symbol of a fork and wine glass engraved into the plastic if it actually is safe to store your meals in. Don’t worry—most of your Tupperware should be completely usable with food, but it’s always a good idea to check.

Dishwasher Safe

Get in the habit of checking to see if your storage containers, utensils and other kitchen items are dishwasher safe. (Once you’ve melted a new water bottle, you’re likely never to make that mistake again.)

To see if Tupperware is dishwasher safe, look for a symbol of dishes being sprayed by water. According to the Tupperware FAQ, the dishwasher symbol on the bottom of each product will help you determine whether it’s dishwasher safe and if it is, which rack it should be placed on. Most products purchased after 1979 are made to be dishwasher safe, though!

Have more questions about Tupperware care? Here’s how to take care of your Tupperware, according to an expert.

Microwave Safe

The squiggly lines on your Tupperware mean that it is safe to put in the microwave. This symbol varies from an actual microwave with a dish to waves representing radiation, but either one means you’re able to heat up last night’s takeout—unless you’re part of the crowd that prefers pizza cold, of course.

Freezer Safe

If your Tupperware container has a snowflake symbol on it, don’t worry about freezer damage—that symbol means it’s freezer safe. If you don’t see the snowflake symbol, avoid putting your new containers in the freezer. Extreme temperatures can deteriorate plastic, and if containers aren’t food safe, this can cause chemicals to spread to food when the containers are taken out of the freezer.

Recycling Information

Plastic containers are recyclable, right? Kind of right, kind of wrong. You’re likely to recognize the triangle made of arrows representing recyclable materials, but plastics also have a number from one to seven. Each plastic recycling number is code for the specific plastic that your containers are made of. Most Tupperware is imprinted with the number five, representing polypropylene, generally a food safe plastic.

Unfortunately, most hard plastics coded in the “five” category are not usually accepted through curbside recycling, but you can recycle your Tupperware this way.

If you have plastic storage containers that are non-recyclable, there are still plenty of solutions. Here’s some inspiration to give your reusable plastic containers a second life.

Do Your Research on Symbols

Bottom line—if you aren’t sure about the symbols on your Tupperware, look them up. It’s best to head over to the manufacturer’s website if you’re unsure about something. Every brand follows its own guidelines, so getting into the habit of checking symbols should help answer any questions about the plastic containers in your kitchen!

Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.