Here’s How to Get Tomato Stains Out of Containers

Containers stained with tomato sauce.

Have you ever packaged up tomatoes or tomato sauce after dinner? You don’t want those leftovers to go to waste, of course. But after you’ve used up that extra sauce or eaten that one last slice of lasagna, you’ve probably noticed something funny about your plastic container.

Namely? That funny red/orange tint that’s staining the inside, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to get out.

Seriously, you can scrub your heart out, you can run that container through a million dish washer cycles, but nothing will ever bring back your nice, clean plastic container. It’ll always have that rusty-looking ring around it, or worse, be completely stained inside.

Well, sauce-lovers, it turns out there are ways to reverse these tomato stains! They requires a little more work than just sticking the container in the dishwasher for the fourth time in a row, but they’re much more effective. You can try one technique on its own or maybe a couple together, if that stain is really tough.

Method #1: Chlorine Bleach

The first method involves bringing out the big guns: a.k.a. chlorine bleach. Letting your container soak with some bleach and warm water for about a half hour should do the trick at removing those orange marks.

While this bleach can work wonders on tough stains, it has its downsides, too. For instance, the smell and the lingering chemicals that might be left behind on your containers.

Of course, we highly suggest that you rinse out the container afterwards, maybe even letting it cycle through the dishwasher a few times to get those chemicals (and those chemical smells) off.

Method #2: The Sun

We take the sun for granted most of the time. It’s there, lighting and heating our whole planet, and sometimes we forget to give it credit where credit is due. But for this little DIY cleaning project, you can use the sun in all its blinding glory.

If you set your plastic containers out on a sunny day, and the sun will bleach those tomato stains away. The only problem with this method is that repeat exposure to sun and heat will eventually make your plastic containers brittle.

Method #3: Dishwasher Paste

To get a little more direct focus on those stains, you have to give them all the concentrated power of your dishwasher detergent. The best way to do that is to make this paste, which uses dishwasher detergent to really break down stubborn stains.

Combine dishwasher detergent and hot water to make your paste. Rub this onto the stains and let it sit for a while. After about thirty minutes rinse off the paste and see clean, stain free plastic.

What do you think of these options? Do you have another method of getting out tomato stains? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Make sure to check out Stain Removal 101 for a few extra tips on these removal methods.