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, all of which could be the issue. 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
- Soft cloths
Steps to Remove the Stickiness:
- Mix baking soda and water in a small dish to make a paste. It should be about the consistency of toothpaste. (Make a small pile of baking soda and keep adding a little water until you have the right consistency.)
- 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.
- Rinse completely with water. If you cannot rinse the item, wipe if off with a damp cloth instead.
- Repeat if necessary.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you don’t have any baking soda available, white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol can work as well. Simply apply them to a cloth and scrub the plastic clean.
- Some plastic containers get sticky as they get old. If this is the case, it may be time to purchase some new storage containers. The stickiness can be removed, but it will return, which could get into the food if your container is used for food or could damage any non-food items stored in the container.
- 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. One site user recommends storing plastic containers in plastic bags, saying that it helps to prevent them from becoming sticky, as well as keeps dust and other unwanted items off of them.