Clear Plastic Cleaning Tips

Updated April 17, 2017

You're surrounded by plastic products in your daily life, from food containers to shower curtains to car headlights. But such products, particularly those made from clear plastic, can become stained or yellowed and even harbour odours without proper cleaning and care. With a few tips in mind, you can extend the life of your plastics and save the money of having to replace them.

Cleaning Plastic Storage Containers

Clear plastic food containers are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. But if you've ever used a container to store tomatoes or curry sauce, you probably found out in a hurry how quickly the containers can stain. First, try soaking the item in warm soapy water with a little added bleach. Then set it out in the sun for several hours. When working with bleach, make sure you're in a well-ventilated area and wear rubber gloves to avoid harming your skin.
If you're more pressed for time, fill the container to the top with hot water and add a couple of denture tablets. If your container is stained and also has odours, try making a mixture of baking soda and water and scrubbing the container with a kitchen brush or sponge. As an alternative, you can use undiluted vinegar. If the plastic has yellowed, you can try soaking it in either a mixture of water and bleach or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and an oxygen laundry booster. Or try rubbing superfine sandpaper over the surface to remove the yellowed portions. To avoid stains and odours in the future, spray the container thoroughly with a cooking spray before you put the food inside it. If you aren't going to be putting the container in the microwave, you can line the container with aluminium foil and the food will lift right out with the foil when you're ready to use it.

Cleaning Plastic Headlights

Many new car models use plastic headlight covers which can become yellowed or develop a hazy film. To clean these, try using a cooking spray on the plastic and wiping it off with a clean cloth or paper towel. Avoid using any abrasives such as sandpaper or waxy polishes.

Cleaning Plastic Shower Curtains

Clear plastic shower curtains will become stained with water stains and soap scum over time. To remove the stains, try washing the curtain in your clothes washing machine with normal laundry soap and a cup of white vinegar. You can also hand wash the curtain using the same materials, but be sure to wear gloves.

Cleaning Plastic on Appliances

Many household appliances use clear plastic parts which can become stained and clouded. Try using automotive cleaner wax or a toothpaste (not the gel kind). Simply apply the product to the plastic and buff the surface gently, then wipe off the residue and finish with warm, soapy water.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Bonnie Singleton has been writing professionally since 1996. She has written for various newspapers and magazines including "The Washington Times" and "Woman's World." She also wrote for the BBC-TV news magazine "From Washington" and worked for Discovery Channel online for more than a decade. Singleton holds a master's degree in musicology from Florida State University and is a member of the American Independent Writers.