A great piece of Tupperware can last a lifetime. There’s nothing quite so off-putting, however, as sticking your nose in a tub to smell last week’s leftovers!

While this unpleasant pong is best avoided by opting for glass storage for smelly items, what’s a girl to do if the horse is already out the gate?

Here’s some tested strategies that will save your pricey storage containers and banish the smell for good.

Why do plastic containers hold smells?

Unlike glass containers, plastic has little ‘pores’, or microscopic surface imperfections, that allow air to pass through the surface.

That’s why not all plastics are actually airtight, and why items will spoil over time even in a well-sealed container.

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These same microscopic imperfections help give plastic its malleability, but can hold on to scent molecules from pungent foods.

How do I get rid of the smell?

If last week’s curry is still lingering in your favourite Tupperware container, there are a couple of things you can try.

For most smells, a good wash with hot, soapy water and an airing will do.

For more stubborn stinks, place one of the following in the well-dried container, pop the lid on, and leave it somewhere for a while:

  • Cat litter
  • Bicarb
  • Coffee grounds
  • Crumpled newspaper

They will absorb the smell, and can simply be thrown away later. In extreme cases, and as a last resort, you can try filling the item with dilute bleach or dilute vinegar mix.

However, the strong acid of the vinegar (and base of the bleach) will both damage the structural integrity of the plastic and shorten its lifespan, so this is best used only as a last-chance solution.