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Aug 30, 2006 10:10 PM

How to keep tomato based sauces from staining plastic wear?

It goes like this:

I have leftovers.
I put them in the Rubbermaid/Ziplock style containers.
I take them to work and heat them in the microwave for lunch.
I have permanently stained bowls and lids.
I curse them and all that they stand for.

Is there a way to prevent the staining that tomato and other sauces leave?

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  1. It's almost impossible to get rid of the stain once it's set in the porous plastic. I would suggest buying plastic containers that say "stain resistent". They appear to be made with denser plastic. That type of plastic containers cost more than the Rubbermaid/Ziplock, but you do get a much longer, more sanitary use out of them.

    1. Keep the sauce in the can. The plastic container in the cupboard. That should work.

      1 Reply
      1. re: beckiefd

        Keep it in glass jars. No way around the problem. It is going to happen.

      2. Once you've washed the plastic container, let it sit out in the sun. For some reason, it removes the stain.

        3 Replies
        1. re: OCAnn

          Yes, the sunlight breaks down the red pigments from tomatoes and chili peppers.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Sun breaks down all natural red pigments with a vengeance. That's why it's the worst color to paint anything in full sun, and why it's the color of stained glass most likely to fade over centuries.

          2. One suggestion I have used is to spray a container with pam or something like that.

            That has limited use because it still imparts a flavor to the food, not so much with a sauce, but it depends on what is in the container.

            Even if you DON'T have a dishwasher (I currently dont), I cannot recommend Cascade Plastic Booster 2 in 1 highly enough.

            Not only does it clean ALL stains, it deodorizes. I feel like a commercial here, but I love this stuff.

            I knew that it worked with a dishwasher since I often used it in my last home.

            I decided to give it a try with tupperware dish that had been dyed deep red from bbq sauce and even kept the smoky smell. Anything stored in the bowl tasted like BBQ.

            So I squirt some plastic booster in the bowl, filled it with hot water and snapped on the lid. I leave these in the sink over night, so I'm not sure how long it takes to soak out, but when the stain is gone, just rinse the bowl out.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              I have never seen this cascade, I will look for it. I do, like you, use cascade for stains on anything, not only for dishwasher safe items. I soak with cascade and HOT water and stuck on messes come up easily. Sounds like this "product" of theirs is worth searching out...Thanks

              1. re: Michele4466

                It comes in a tube. Here's a picture.


                You can buy it on Amazon, but almost every big market has it next to the regular cascade. I think I got my last tube at Wal-mart.

                There's a glowing review on Amazon which I totally agree with ... said it much better than I could.

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks so much... I truly have never seen/noticed it. If I had, I would have HAD to try it :-)

                  Last purchase of cascade was the HUGE box at Target... perhaps I was too consumed with almost being out of the store... in my (new to me) local Target, the groceries/household items are right before the drugstore section and then the checkout (you start to get a bit antsy by then).

                  If I do not see it at my supermarket or my next trip to Target, I will place an order on Amazon. you are right about the review... sounds like a miracle worker. Funny though, we recently bought a house and before we moved in, my husband made me throw out all old and worn looking items, including storage containers. If I only knew then what I know now, how does that old song go?

                  Thanks again!

            2. I read an article in Organic Living, I think, regarding microwaving food in plastic containers. Certain types of plastics are worse-off being used this way than others. The bottom line was most plastic containers should not be subjected to high temperatures. Since then I've just refrained from microwaving food in any container that isn't glass/ceramic. I also handwash most plastic containers/utensils instead of putting them in the dishwasher. I'd suggest keeping a ceramic plate/bowl at work.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sweetTooth

                For me, I'm not talking about those type of plastics. I only use plastic containers which the manufacturer indicates are micro-wave safe ... and they stain.

                It is ironic, but the danerous-for-you type of containers don't seem to stain.