How to Remove Orange Stains from Tupperware: Effective Home Remedies and Preventive Tips

We’ve all been there—opening the kitchen cabinet only to find our once-clear Tupperware stained with stubborn orange marks from last week’s spaghetti or curry. It’s frustrating, especially when scrubbing with soap and water just doesn’t cut it. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Common Causes of Orange Stains: Orange stains in Tupperware are primarily caused by foods like spaghetti sauce, curry, and chili, which contain potent pigments from tomatoes, turmeric, and paprika.
  • Effective Cleaning Methods: Baking soda and vinegar, bleach soaking, and commercial cleaners like OxiClean can effectively remove stubborn orange stains.
  • Alternative Home Remedies: Lemon juice combined with sunlight and salt scrubs with dish soap are eco-friendly and effective home remedies for tackling orange stains.
  • Prevention Tips: To prevent stains, let food cool before storing, use barriers like plastic wrap, rinse containers immediately after use, and consider using glass or stain-resistant Tupperware.
  • Choosing the Right Containers: Opt for high-quality, BPA-free, and stain-resistant Tupperware. Light-colored containers can also help make stains less noticeable.

Understanding Orange Stains in Tupperware

Sources of Orange Stains

Orange stains in Tupperware usually come from foods like spaghetti sauce, curries, and chili. These dishes often contain tomatoes, turmeric, or paprika, which are high in natural pigments. For example, tomatoes have lycopene, a red-colored pigment, which can stick to plastic. Turmeric and paprika contain curcumin and carotenoids that contribute to the staining. When storing these foods, the potent colors seep into the plastic, leaving a stubborn mark.

The Science Behind Staining

Plastic’s porous nature is the main reason it absorbs stains easily. Tupperware, like many plastic containers, has tiny pores on its surface. When in contact with pigmented foods, these pores trap the color molecules. Heat worsens this process by expanding the plastic and making it more absorbent. Acidic ingredients like tomatoes are more problematic because they break down the plastic’s outer layer, allowing pigments to penetrate deeper. That’s why reheating tomato-based dishes in Tupperware leads to more persistent stains.

Common Methods to Remove Orange Stains

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combining baking soda and vinegar creates a powerful cleaning agent. To use this method, sprinkle baking soda generously over the stained areas inside the Tupperware. Then, pour white vinegar over the baking soda. The mixture will fizz, indicating a chemical reaction. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Once the fizzing stops, scrub the container with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

The Bleach Soaking Technique

A bleach soak can effectively eliminate stubborn orange stains from Tupperware. Dilute one tablespoon of bleach in one cup of water. Pour the solution into the stained Tupperware and ensure the stained areas are fully submerged. Let the container soak for 30 minutes. Wearing gloves, scrub the container with a brush, paying special attention to stained spots. Rinse multiple times with warm water to remove any bleach residue.

Commercial Cleaners

Several commercial cleaners are designed to tackle tough stains on plastic. Products like OxiClean, Clorox Clean-Up, and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser are effective. Follow the instructions on the product label for the best results. Typically, this involves applying the cleaner to the stain, allowing it to sit for a prescribed time, and then scrubbing and rinsing the container. Ensure thorough rinsing to avoid any residual chemical taste.

These methods leverage common household items, bleach solutions, and commercial cleaners to address the issue of orange stains, each presenting a viable solution depending on the severity of the stain and available resources.

Home Remedies Worth Trying

Home Remedies Worth Trying

Lemon Juice and Sunlight

Lemon juice, with its natural bleaching properties, effectively removes orange stains. I recommend cutting a lemon in half and rubbing it directly on the stains. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Then, place the Tupperware in direct sunlight for a few hours. The combination of lemon juice and UV rays breaks down the pigments. Wash the Tupperware with warm, soapy water afterward to remove any lemon residue.

Salt Scrubs and Dish Soap

Salt serves as a gentle abrasive that helps lift stains without damaging the plastic. For stubborn orange marks, create a paste using salt and a few drops of dish soap. Apply the paste to the stained area and scrub with a soft sponge. Focus on scrubbing in circular motions. Rinse off the paste thoroughly with warm water. Repeat if necessary until the stain fades.

Preventing Stains in Tupperware

Best Practices for Storage

Storing Tupperware properly helps prevent orange stains. I always let food cool down before placing it in containers; hot food is more likely to cause stains. I also try to avoid storing tomato-based sauces and foods rich in pigments directly in the Tupperware. Using plastic wrap or placing leftovers in a glass container first can help as a barrier. Additionally, I rinse my Tupperware immediately after use to remove any remaining residue, minimizing the risk of stains setting in.

Choosing the Right Tupperware

Choosing the right Tupperware can make a big difference. I opt for containers made from high-quality plastic or those that are BPA-free and stain-resistant. Some Tupperware has a special coating that resists stains better than standard plastic. I also prefer light-colored Tupperware, as stains are less noticeable on these compared to darker or clear containers. For foods known to stain, such as spaghetti sauce and curries, I use glass containers or those specifically designed to handle such items.


Tupperware stains can be a hassle but with the right techniques, they’re manageable. By using common household items like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, or opting for commercial cleaners, you can effectively tackle those stubborn orange marks. Don’t forget the power of preventive measures to keep your Tupperware looking fresh. Whether you choose to store food in glass containers or invest in high-quality, stain-resistant Tupperware, these strategies will help maintain your kitchenware in top condition.

Removing orange stains from Tupperware can be done using common household items such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. According to Good Housekeeping, making a paste with baking soda and water, applying it to the stains, and letting it sit before rinsing can effectively remove discoloration. Additionally, preventing stains by rinsing containers immediately after use and storing them in a cool, dark place can keep your Tupperware looking new, as suggested by Real Simple.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Tupperware get stained with orange marks?

Orange stains on Tupperware come from high pigment content in foods like spaghetti sauce, curries, and chili. Ingredients such as tomatoes, turmeric, and paprika seep into the plastic pores, making the stains tough to remove.

What are effective methods to remove orange stains from Tupperware?

Methods to remove orange stains include using baking soda and vinegar, a bleach soaking technique, and commercial cleaners like OxiClean and Clorox Clean-Up. Home remedies such as lemon juice and sunlight or a salt scrub with dish soap also work well.

How does lemon juice help in removing stains from Tupperware?

Lemon juice helps break down the pigments responsible for the stains. Applying lemon juice to the stained areas and exposing them to sunlight can effectively reduce or remove the stubborn orange marks.

Can sunlight really help remove stains from Tupperware?

Yes, sunlight can help. UV rays from the sun work with lemon juice or other cleaning agents to break down pigments and lift stains from the Tupperware surface.

What preventive measures can be taken to avoid stains in Tupperware?

To prevent stains, allow food to cool before storing, avoid direct storage of pigment-rich foods, and opt for high-quality, stain-resistant Tupperware, including those with special coatings. Using light-colored containers and glass containers for foods known to stain plastic also helps.

Are glass containers a better option for storing foods that stain?

Yes, glass containers are less prone to staining compared to plastic Tupperware. They provide a good alternative for storing foods known to stain, such as sauces and curries.

Is there any special type of Tupperware that resists staining?

High-quality, stain-resistant Tupperware with special coatings can resist staining better. Look for brands and types specifically labeled as stain-resistant to maintain your Tupperware in better condition.