How to Remove Mold from Plastic


Carol asked: How do I remove mold from a plastic yogurt container used for yogurt making? The 2-liter container which goes into our incubator has a mold line near the top. I washed it well, but fear the mold may be the cause that our yoghurt processing has not functioned correctly the last two times. We could not find a specific ratio of bleach to water for removing mold from plastic food containers. We need to know that amount and the length of time to leave it in the container.

Anywhere that there is moisture, mold spores can thrive. Mold can be dangerous in so many ways and cause problems when it enters the body. Use these steps to quickly rid your plastic pieces of mold and freshen up your dishes.

You Will Need:

  • Non-ammonia soap or detergent
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

Steps to Remove the Mold

  1. Begin by washing away any visible mold from the surface of the plastic using a dish soap or detergent that does not contain ammonia. Ammonia is avoided because bleach is used in the following step. If bleach and ammonia mix, it creates toxic fumes.
  2. Mix a bleach solution with ½ cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water. For mold that cannot be cleaned off, use a stronger strength solution of 1 cup bleach and 1 gallon of water.
  3. Place the plastic container in the solution so that all of the moldy areas are completely submerged.
  4. Allow the moldy areas to sit in the bleach solution for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Remove and wash away all bleach with a non-ammonia soap or detergent.
  6. Allow the piece to dry completely before use.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • The sun is a natural mold remover. Set the piece in the direct sunlight for several hours to remove any remaining traces of mold.
  • Be sure to ventilate the area well and use rubber gloves when working with bleach. The liquid and fumes can be irritating to the eyes and skin.
  • If the mold is visibly setting on top of the surface of the plastic, it can be removed by very carefully scraping it away with a razor. Use caution not to cut into the plastic.
  • An alternate to bleach is using white vinegar. The vinegar will remove the mold without the harsh fumes. Follow the same applications as above.
  • Disinfecting the plastic pieces regularly will help deter mold build-up. Quickly drying each piece will keep the moisture away that mold requires to grow.


  1. M. Fish says:

    According to the manufacturers of Tupperware, the only (non-toxic) way to truly remove mold spores from plastic is to soak it in white vinegar. (I imagine other vinegars might work too, but white is generally used for cleaning purposes.) I would try this and then dry it in the sunshine before I tried to clean a food-related item with bleach.

  2. MS says:

    I need to remove mold from colored plastics (toys), so I am hesitant to use bleach. Will vinegar preserve the color?

  3. Nancy says:

    I have orange mold inside my coffee maker. I lifted the lid to remove the grinds and was met with flood of orange mold all over the inside the lid and where the basket goes. These parts can’t be removed so now I am stuck with this mess. Any ideas what to use to remove this nasty, nasty stuff!

  4. Melanie says:

    Vinegar will kill most kinds of mold. First, unplug the coffee maker. Soak a paper towel with white vinegar and wipe away as much of the mold as you can reach. A toothbrush or scrub brush soaked with vinegar could help you reach the mold in any crevices; the article How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker with Vinegar and a Toothbrush might help. Then, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray the affected areas on the coffee maker to remove any mold spores. The vinegar smell will dissipate when dry. Finally, run a cycle of diluted vinegar through the coffee maker to remove any spores from inside the system.
    Source: Mother Nature Network – Kill mold naturally – 5 eco-friendly ideas

  5. Tom says:

    I cleaned my plastic blender cup of the mold I found using the bleach method and ran it through the dishwasher twice afterwards. It still kinda smells of mold on the inside and I’m hesitant to use it, however these are expensive. How do I get rid of the smell? I’m in Minnesota and a winter storm front is coming so there may not be a lot of sunlight for a while. Does a lingering smell mean lingering live spores?

  6. Melanie says:

    Try using vinegar; it is great for removing odors as well as for killing mold. Just fill the blender cup with a diluted vinegar solution and allow it to soak for several minutes. Then pour out the vinegar solution, rinse, and once the vinegar smell is gone (dried), the mold smell should be gone as well.

  7. Kelle says:

    I forgot about coffee left in the pot and now have a major science project happening. On top of the liquid coffee there is mold growing. I am not sure how to dispose of the coffee/mold. I am afraid to run it down my garbage disposal for fear it will become airborne as it is going down drain and churning in the disposal. Any suggestions to safely dispose of it?

  8. Melanie says:

    That’s smart – I made that mistake one time (pouring the moldy coffee water down the disposal) and it was terrible. Instead, you can pour it into a disposable drink cup (coffee) or soup cup that has a lid. Another idea is to pour it into a Ziploc bag. Good luck!

  9. Roxanne says:

    I am forever trying to get rid of mold inside my Dyson hose pipe. I have tried putting bleach down and scrubbing with a radiator cleaner, and am getting no where. I can’t really afford to get another; please help. Thanks in advance.

  10. Jannie says:

    My grandma taught me to pour dirty water, used “bleach water,” or anything nasty outdoors on the ground, away from the house and pets or humans. I dump old dishwashing water way in the back of my yard. I am careful not to dump near my neighbors or anywhere it could get into the ground water. After I cleaned some plastic shelf lining paper with bleach/water solution recommended, I then poured the excess outdoors.

  11. Melanie says:

    Mold is a fungus, which spreads by spores. If there is mold in your vacuum’s hose, there is likely mold throughout the vacuum system as well, so in order to remove it, you need to completely take apart the vacuum and clean each part. If you don’t want to take the vacuum apart for cleaning yourself, call a vacuum repair shop and ask if they will do the cleaning. For more vacuum cleaning ideas, see the article, How to Clean a Vacuum.

  12. Just Some Guy says:

    I would search around on the web! Telling people to use bleach with plastic is potentially dangerous. Due the porous nature of plastic, never use bleach to clean it!

  13. Some Other Guy says:

    Bleaching dishes/Tupperware is perfectly harmless if you rinse with an acidic substance afterwards. I would recommend thoroughly washing as much bleach out as possible with water first, so you don’t create a big puff of chlorine gas. Then, splash a little vinegar into the Tupperware and make sure it contacts all the surfaces. Any tiny remnants of bleach will be neutralized fully by the vinegar and you’ll be left with nothing but water. Just don’t huff the resulting vapor.

  14. Ren says:

    A non-toxic way of ridding plastic of mould spores after soaking it with vinegar, then washing with dish soap, is sticking it in the freezer, provided it is dry before it goes in. Mould lives at specific temperatures, and cold kills it just as heat would, without ruining the plastic. This only works if the whole thing is plastic – metal or other substances react to cold in different ways and could cause cracks.

  15. Jackie says:

    Hi, I have an outside spa with a plastic inside. I have left the water inside all winter with the cover on and when I have opened it, the plastic where the water line is has gone mouldy. I have tried bleach and the liquids the pool cleaner brings to clean the water line, but it does not come off. Can u suggest something? Thanks.

  16. Patti says:

    For those who want the ‘cliff notes version’…
    1) Wipe it with a paper towel.
    2) Rinse it.
    3) Put a 5% bleach solution** (1:16 ratio, bleach to water) in and wait 30 minutes.
    4) Dump the solution; rinse well.
    5) Clean as normal with soap and very hot water. The dishwasher works very well, especially if you add vinegar to the wash water (1/4 to 1/2 cup) after you have done steps 1-4!

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