The Recycling Hack That Will Fix Your Smelly Tupperware

Tupperware is perhaps one of the most useful inventions of the 20th century. While people have needed to store and transport food pretty much since forever, these handy plastic airtight containers didn't come into use until 1946, when a chemist by the name of Earl Tupper, inspired by the tight seal of paint cans, created a durable, lightweight, airtight plastic container that would keep leftover food fresh and prevent leaks and spills (per Tupperware). These innovative new containers were made with a type of plastic called polypropylene, which was selected because it has a very high melting point, says Everyday Recycler. It's also strong, yet lightweight and resistant to moisture, making it the perfect material for an easily transportable, yet unbreakable, reusable food storage container.

However, this polypropylene plastic that makes Tupperware so great at storing leftovers does have one big downside. While polypropylene makes a great storage container, it is also quite porous. That might help make it moisture and heat-resistant, but it also means odors can get inside the plastic, according to Hunker. Once the food smells are absorbed, the whole container can start to smell like whatever fragrant meal was stored in there last, even after they have been thoroughly washed and cleaned. But just because a Tupperware has started to smell pungent, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is time to toss it in the trash.

Newspaper can absorb old Tupperware odors

There are some effective ways to remove strong lingering scents from the plastic and make your containers smell good as new. And the good news is, not only can lingering Tupperware smells be remedied, you don't have to use strong cleaners or harsh chemicals to do it. Many of the most effective tools you need to freshen up your Tupperware you probably already have on hand in your home. In fact, if you are looking to recycle more and reduce your environmental footprint, you may even be able to kill two birds with one stone by giving old newspapers a new purpose, while eliminating bad odors from your Tupperware at the same time.

According to Lifehacker, old newspapers have deodorizing properties. In fact, putting old newspapers inside smelly shoes has been shown to absorb nasty foot odors, and newspapers can even help eliminate bad smells inside refrigerators. And the principle works for smelly containers inside the fridge, too. To eliminate smells, simply wash the Tupperware as you normally would, then crumple up pieces of old newspaper and stuff them inside the container, seal it, and let it sit overnight. Once you open the Tupperware again, the odor should magically be gone. Simply give it another thorough wash to erase any lingering germs left by the old newspaper, and voila — your Tupperware should be as fresh as the day you bought it.

Some common household items have deodorizing properties

If newspaper for some reason doesn't quite do the trick — or you've converted to all-digital subscriptions in recent years and simply no longer buy a physical newspaper anymore — no need to fret. There are plenty of other useful household items you can use to deodorize your old Tupperware containers with no paper required.

All Recipes recommends using another famous all-natural deodorizer, baking soda, to eliminate Tupperware smells. Simply fill the clean container up with water, add in at least a tablespoon of baking soda, and let it sit for an hour. Sprinkling baking soda over the lid can clear up any lingering smells that have set in there as well. A mixture of warm water and ¼ cup of vinegar or lemon juice can also help get rid of bad odors, per Hunker. And if you are a coffee drinker, you already have another easy deodorizer in your cabinets. Dry coffee grounds can soak up bad odors, so storing dried grounds in your sealed Tupperware overnight can erase leftover food smells. No matter what fragrant sauces, soups, or leftovers you may have previously stored in the plastic, the scents of these meals past no longer have to stick around inside your favorite Tupperware.