This fix is super simple, and you likely already have the key in your pantry.

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If you do a quick Google search for ways to remove smells from your plastic food containers, you will get a host of suggestions, some of which are more helpful than others. A few of the less practical ones include:

Throw a piece of charcoal (without mesquite or easy-light properties) in the container, then seal. Leave for a day or two.

Who keeps charcoal in their kitchen? You're really supposed to wait more than 24 hours for your Tupperware to be usable again?

Leave the open container and lid outside in direct sunlight for a day or two.

Again, a day or two? What about people who live in apartments/don't have a front or back yard?

Rub the container with a cut lemon, since citric acid can help remove odors.

Am I roasting the plastic or trying to deodorize it? I'd prefer to save my lemons for cooking/baking/drinking.

Crumple newspaper, then seal it inside. Leave overnight or longer, then wash thoroughly.

I haven't subscribed to a paper newspaper since 2006, but thanks.

Instead, here's what you do:

If possible, it's helpful to rinse out your container as soon as you've finished eating whatever's inside. It's not critical that you do this, but it is helpful, especially if you're eating something particularly aromatic. If you're already past this point, don't sweat it!

Leftovers in Plastic Food Containers
Credit: jmalov via Getty Images

Then, fill up the container with water. Add at least a tablespoon of baking soda, and more if your container is large or especially smelly. Wet the lid, then sprinkle on some baking soda. Wait an hour, then rinse and wash normally. The odor will have disappeared.

I've been using this method for years and it's never let me down. Sometimes if I'm in a hurry, I'll dump in more baking soda (up to a quarter of a cup) and leave it for less time. Sometimes, of course, Tupperware sits in the fridge for longer than it should and an hour just isn't enough time to get rid of the smell. In that case, dump in more baking soda to soak with some water and leave it for a few hours or overnight. Even the most pungent dinner has never been a match for a good baking soda soak.