How to Get Tomato Stains Out of Plastic

How to get tomato sauce stains out of plastic

We all love spaghetti night. Especially those of us with our own little ducklings who love to twirl their pasta, as their smiling faces and cheeks become covered with tomato sauce! The part that’s not so fun? Finding that faint, orange-like hue all over your favorite plastic food container or Tupperware after finishing off those leftovers. Here’s the lowdown on why tomato sauce stains so easily, how to get tomato stains out of plastic, and what you can do to shield away the saucy messes, so your containers stay clean.

What You’ll Need to Get Tomato Sauce Stains Out of Plastic

Before cleaning out any tomato sauce from your plasticware, let’s gather up any supplies you may need—fortunately, you can find most of these in your home already!

  • Dawn® Platinum for breaking up all that grease, tough stains, and stubborn food splatters

  • Water

  • Sponge

  • Dish drying rack

How to Get Tomato Sauce Stains Out of Plastic

Put plasticware with tomato sauce in a dishwasher and what do you get? Clean plasticware with tomato sauce stains. Here’s how to clean tomato sauce stains from your favorite plastic container in four easy steps.

Step 1: Hand Wash.

Using a concentrated dish liquid like Dawn® Platinum, wash the stained plasticware with a sponge, just as you would any dish.

Hand wash plasticware to remove stains

Step 2: Air Dry.

Place the plasticware on the drying rack and allow it to air dry.

Step 3: Place on the Windowsill.

After the plasticware has dried, move the container to a windowsill that gets direct light from the sun. Over time, the sunlight will bleach out the stain.

Place stained plasticware in sunlight

Step 4: Wait for the Magic to Happen.

Check back periodically. It may take several hours or even days to completely remove the stain.

It may take some time to completely remove the stain

The waiting is the hardest part.

Why Does Tomato Sauce Stain Plastic?

It’s happened to the best of us—we finish off our favorite tomato sauce and go to wash out the plastic food container, only to find out it didn’t get as clean as it should. But why does tomato sauce stain plastic so easily and why is it so hard to get out?

Tomatoes are known for their bright red color, which is caused by lycopene, a naturally occurring antioxidant. Lycopene isn’t limited to just tomatoes though; some other lycopene-rich foods include:

  • Beets

  • Red Cabbage

  • Papayas

  • Pink Grapefruit

  • Rosehips

  • Red Oranges

  • Apricots

  • Guava

Just like tomatoes, when cooked these foods can leave behind stains as well—especially beets! Fortunately, you can scare away these stubborn stains, so your favorite plastics have nothing to fear.

When it comes to kicking stains out, whether caused by tomato sauce on spaghetti night or beets after they’ve been peeled, you can simply soak your cookware and utensils, including plastic containers, in dish soap. To ensure the stains break down and don’t linger, try using Dawn® Platinum. The unique formula is designed to be tough on food messes while staying gentle on dishes and plasticware—so you get amazingly clean dishes, every time! Plastic, unlike other materials such as glass, is also very porous. This allows for the stains to set in and make it harder to get them out. That’s why most tomato sauces are sold in glass jars rather than plastic containers—who knew?

Tomato sauce storage

Additionally, since most tomato sauces contain oil, the greasy ingredient looms over your plastics that much more, which makes it that much tougher to clean off any staining. To combat this and degrease faster, try showing your plasticware some extra love with Dawn® Platinum. The unique grease-fighting formula makes cleaning So Dawn Easy by effectively breaking up grime and tomato sauce stains, all while staying gentle on cookware. Tomato sauce can also stain spatulas and other cooking utensils. Check out the cleaning tips below to get those pesky, lingering stains out of your plasticware and cookware once and for all.

What to Avoid When Getting Tomato Stains Out of Plastic

Here’s what you should avoid doing when trying to clean out tomato stains from your plastic utensils and containers:

  • Rough scrubbing: Too much pressure from scrubbing can actually etch your plastic and ruin it. Instead, soak your plastic containers and utensils in Dawn® Platinum, the powerful formula cuts through grease and food stains while staying gentle enough to not damage your plasticware.

  • Scouring pad: Keep away from any rough scrubbers such as scouring pads. These can scratch your plasticware.

  • Not soaking enough: Soak your plastic containers and utensils in dish soap prior to loading up in a dishwasher to help keep that left-behind, orange tint from forming. The formula of Dawn® makes it So Dawn Easy to break down those lingering tomato stains and grease.

How to Prevent Tomato Sauce Stains on Plastic

Don’t want to deal with that orange tint in your white or clear plastic containers ever again? Don’t worry, there are a few steps you can take the next time you need to put your tomato sauce or spaghetti dinner in Tupperware.

Keep Plasticware Stain-free

To keep tomato sauce stains from setting into your plastic food containers, try any one of these tips:

  • Cooking spray: Spray the inside of your plastic container all over with cooking spray. These are usually meant for non-stick cooking and are primarily vegetable or canola oil based. The oil will keep the red of the tomato sauce from adhering to the porous surface of the plastic. Once it’s time to clean, simply soak with Dawn® Platinum to get rid of any excess oil.

  • Butter: Just like cooking spray, the fats and oils in butter will create a barrier between the tomato sauce and your plastic container. Simply rub your food container or Tupperware with butter, then wash with Dawn® to break up any of the leftover grease once your sauce is all gone.

  • Plastic wrap: To keep your tomato dish away from any additional grease or fat, you can always line your container with plastic wrap. The plastic liner will act as a shield, protecting your plastic container from any stubborn, set-in stains. And cleaning is a breeze! Just peel off the plastic wrap and throw it away, then wash out your container with a mild dish soap like Dawn®.

With the right prevention tactics and cleaning know-how, you’ll be better prepared to tackle any tough kitchen and food messes that may come your way—that includes lingering orange hues on plastic containers. Now, you can let that tomato sauce bubble over with flavor, without the worry of stains and lingering off-color leaks, with the stain-fighting power of Dawn® Platinum.