Bobby Berk’s Easy Hack Cleans Stained Food Containers in Seconds

published Apr 5, 2024
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Credit: Photo: Getty Images; Design: Apartment Therapy

Leftovers are a wonderful thing, but your clear containers may not agree. If you’ve noticed that your food storage containers have a stubborn orange tint in them no matter how hard you’ve scrubbed at them, you might wonder if you’ll be left with the remnants of your favorite curry or tomato-based pasta forever. 

In an article for BBC Science Focus, Dr. Emma Davies explained that the bright red pigment in tomatoes, lycopene, is hydrophobic — and so are your plastic containers. This means that the sauce and containers repel water, which leads to the pigment clinging to the plastic. “The hydrophobic nature of lycopene also means that it resists attempts to clean it with soapy water, and the high temperatures in a dishwasher can drive stains even deeper into your plastic containers,” Davies wrote. 

Not on Bobby Berk’s watch, however. The interior designer and TV personality shared a super simple hack that will clean your dirty containers in seconds — no scrubbing required!

Sharing a Reel with his Instagram followers, Berk showed how you can banish those pesky stains once and for all with the help of three things you’ll already have in your kitchen: water, dish soap, and a paper towel. 

“And here I was thinking I’d just have to deal with stained curry Tupperware my whole life🥲🫙🧼” he wrote in the caption. 

This simple trick, as Berk demonstrates in the video, involves adding dish soap (Berk uses Dawn,) water, and a folded-up paper towel to the stained container. Next, you pop on the lid and give the container a vigorous shake before tipping everything out and giving it a rinse with water. The result? Squeaky-clean clear containers that look almost as good as new. Sure, it may not remove all stains, especially if they’re super old and caked on, but it still does a pretty good job while saving you time and money in the long run. 

It’s such an easy hack that some of Berk’s followers were skeptical. The Queer Eye alum posted the clip on April 1, so it’s reasonable to think it could be an April Fool’s joke. There’s no fooling anyone, though, as others backed up Berk and clarified that the hack actually works. 

“Not at all a joke. I do this all the time. It’s my favorite hack!” one person commented. Another person added, “This actually works, I do it all the time!!” while a third wrote, “I literally just did this it’s one of my favorite cleaning tricks!”

So the next time you’re close to admitting defeat and are browsing for brand-new containers, look to Berk for some expert advice.

Looking to spring clean? Sign up for Apartment Therapy’s 10-day Spring Cleaning Cure, a free guided program that’ll bring you one step closer to a tidier home.