How to Clean Sticky Plastic


Heather asked: My plastic food storage containers are in my kitchen cabinets – some with stuff in them, some without. If they sit there long enough without being used, there will be this extremely sticky, light yellowish, almost clear stuff on them. Do you have any idea what this might be? I usually have to throw them in the dishwasher just to get them clean again, that’s how sticky it is. Thanks.

There are a variety of thoughts as to the cause of the sticky film on the plastic containers, but none have been proven. Some feel it’s the plastic seeping, a sign that it’s old. Other thoughts include grease and oils from the air collecting on the surface, or oils from previous items that were stored in the container coming to the surface. Regardless of the cause, the removal of this sticky film is quick and easy.

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Stickiness:

  1. Mix baking soda and water in a small dish to make a paste.
  2. Use a soft cloth to rub the paste over the surface of the plastic. The baking soda will act as a mild abrasive and remove the sticky film.
  3. Rinse completely with water.
  4. Repeat if necessary.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Some plastic containers get sticky as they get old. If this is the case, it may be time to purchase some new storage containers.
  • Store plastic containers in a cool, dry location. Areas where steam rises (near the stove) allow for grease to travel with it and transfer to the plastic. Even though they are stored in the cupboard, whenever the doors are opened, the air enters and can settle on the pieces.


  1. Mark says:

    What about brand new plastic items? I purchased some of those new Ramen noodle cooking trays. After the first time I used them, they felt oily. I thought that it was because of the noodles or the spice package contents that left an oily residue. Rinsing had no effect, but even after washing, they still felt oily. They were not oily feeling before I used them. Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions? Thanks, -M

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