Quick and Easy Tips: How to Get Rid of Coffee Smell in Plastic Containers

If you’re a coffee lover like me, chances are you have several plastic containers that have been stained and imbued with that unmistakable coffee aroma. While these containers are convenient for storing coffee beans or ground coffee, getting rid of that stubborn smell can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, I’ve gathered some quick and easy tips on how to banish that coffee scent from your plastic containers, so you can continue using them without any lingering odors. Let’s dive right in!

Why Does Coffee Leave a Lingering Smell in Plastic Containers?

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s important to understand why coffee has the ability to leave a lasting smell in plastic containers. Coffee contains oils that can easily seep into the pores of plastic, causing it to retain the scent long after the coffee has been removed. Additionally, plastic is a porous material, which means it can absorb odors more easily than non-porous materials like glass or stainless steel.

1. Baking Soda and Water Solution

One of the simplest and most effective ways to eliminate the coffee smell from plastic containers is by using a baking soda and water solution. Start by rinsing the container with warm water to remove any leftover coffee residue. Then, create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply the paste to the inside of the container, making sure to cover all surfaces. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight before rinsing it thoroughly. The baking soda will help neutralize the odor, leaving your plastic container smelling fresh and clean.

2. Vinegar Soak

Vinegar is known for its deodorizing properties and can be a great solution for getting rid of stubborn coffee smells in plastic containers. Fill the container with equal parts white vinegar and water, ensuring that there’s enough liquid to cover the affected area. Allow the container to soak for at least an hour, or overnight for more intense odor removal. After soaking, rinse the container thoroughly with warm water to remove any vinegar residue. The smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, and you’ll be left with a container that smells as good as new.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another natural deodorizer that can effectively eliminate coffee odors. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon into the plastic container, ensuring that all surfaces are coated. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing it out with warm water. The acidity of the lemon juice will help break down the coffee residue and neutralize the smell. Plus, you’ll be left with a faint citrus scent that’s much more pleasant than that of coffee.

4. Coffee Grounds

It might sound counterintuitive, but using coffee grounds to remove coffee smells from plastic containers can be quite effective. Simply place a handful of used coffee grounds into the container and seal it with the lid. Leave it overnight, allowing the coffee grounds to absorb the odor. In the morning, remove the coffee grounds and rinse the container with warm water. This method not only helps banish the smell but also adds a subtle coffee aroma, which some people may find enjoyable.

5. Dish Soap and Warm Water

If you don’t have any specialized deodorizing products on hand, a simple solution of dish soap and warm water can also do the trick. Start by washing the plastic container with a generous amount of dish soap and warm water. Use a sponge or a brush to scrub the inner surfaces, paying extra attention to areas that have come into contact with coffee. Rinse the container thoroughly, making sure to remove all soap residue. The dish soap will help break down the coffee oils, effectively removing the odor.

Prevention Tips

Once you’ve successfully removed the coffee smell from your plastic containers, it’s a good idea to take some preventive measures to avoid future odors. Here are a few tips to help keep your plastic containers smelling fresh:

1. Use Glass or Stainless Steel Containers

While plastic containers are convenient, they are more prone to absorbing odors compared to non-porous materials like glass or stainless steel. Consider switching to these materials for coffee storage to minimize lingering smells.

2. Rinse Immediately

After using a plastic container to store coffee, rinse it immediately after emptying it to prevent coffee residues from drying and becoming harder to remove. This quick rinse will go a long way in preventing stubborn odors from developing.

3. Store in a Cool, Dry Place

Exposing plastic containers to heat can amplify the absorption of odors. It’s best to store your containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to minimize the chances of any smells becoming ingrained.

4. Air Dry Thoroughly

After washing your plastic containers, make sure to air dry them thoroughly before putting the lid back on. Trapped moisture can lead to the development of unpleasant odors over time.

5. Use Odor-Absorbing Materials

To keep your plastic containers smelling fresh, consider adding odor-absorbing materials such as activated charcoal or silica gel packets. These materials are readily available and can help neutralize any lingering odors.


Getting rid of the coffee smell in plastic containers doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these quick and easy tips, you can banish that lingering aroma and keep your containers smelling fresh. Whether you opt for natural remedies like baking soda or vinegar, or prefer using simple dish soap and warm water, these methods are sure to restore your plastic containers back to their odor-free state. Remember to take preventive measures to keep those coffee smells at bay, and enjoy your coffee without any unwanted olfactory reminders!

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