My food is corrosive?
August 12, 2010 1:28 PM   Subscribe

What's corroding my Tupperware?

I'm a huge fan of the Lock&Lock tupperware on the market. I've noticed that my (fairly new) set is somewhat corroded and I turn to the hive mind for why.

My current set is frosted-clear, with blue rubber seals, with a recycling symbol with the number 5. (Polypropylene) I've noticed that it has little...not quite scratches, but patches of what seems like corrosion here and there. I can feel the rougher texture when I run my fingers over them, and they are on the inside. Originally I thought it might've been the dishwasher that did it, but I've since got some new ones (same style, same material) and these suffered the corrosion problem too and I've handwashed all the new ones. So it's not the dishwasher. Maybe it's food?

For the record, my older set of Lock&Locks were orange lid, orange seal, and labeled [recycling symbol] 7 (other materials), and they don't have this problem. I'm sure over time the distribution of whatever I put in them has evened out, so maybe some foods don't agree with the polypropylene plastic? I have a faint impression that the first instances of these corrosion patches occurred when I first put pasta sauce (tomato) into one of them, but I'm not perfectly certain. Plus, I don't cook tomato sauce very often...

Here is a sub-par picture (sorry, can't do better; the shots get blurrier as I zoom in more since I don't think the camera can focus on the textured places well).

Anyone suffered similar with their tupperware? Is it food or something else that causes it? And if it's food, what kind? Thanks in advance!
posted by Hakaisha to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Do you use them in the microwave? Uneven heating can cause pockets of liquid to boil, and if those boiling liquids are in contact with the cool plastic, some damage can happen.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:33 PM on August 12, 2010

Anything tomato-based will eventually corrode plastic. Especially if you microwave the tomato-based foods in the tupperware.
posted by phunniemee at 1:50 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

For some reason I missed in your question where you mentioned the tomato sauce. Yes, it is definitely the tomato sauce.

To a certain extent, anything acidic will damage the plastic, but there's just something about those tomatoes...
posted by phunniemee at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2010

Those look like (physical) scratches to me. Polypropylene is quite soft.
posted by bonehead at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2010

What BitterOldPunk says. It also might be caused by putting hot food into them before storing that food, so let the food you're storing cool down first. I have a lot of Lock&Lock containers, and some of them have the marks.

Also, plastics that are coded with the numbers 3, 6, and 7 should not be used for food storage, unless they're the biodegradable 7s.
posted by SillyShepherd at 1:58 PM on August 12, 2010

This "corrosive" look was one of the reasons we switched to glass containers. I know you like your brand, but seriously the glass/Pyrex tupperware stuff is great.
posted by pised at 2:11 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was also going to ask whether you use them in the microwave. The microwave hates Tupperware and wants to kill it.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:13 PM on August 12, 2010

tomatoes and microwaves - happened to almost all of my tupperware/rubbermaid storage containers.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:51 PM on August 12, 2010

The majority of "tupperware" sucks. It stains, it pits, it scratches. Me, I love my polycarbonate
Cambro Camwear. Alas, like basically all polycarbonate, I suspect it contains BPA. I bet your old Lock&Lock containers were also polycarbonate.

The only reasonable replacement that I have noticed (not that I have looked very hard) is Rubbermaid Premier storage containers. Noting that a previous version using the Premier name is not BPA free. The new version is marketed as being BPA free and is made from Tritan plastic from the Eastman Chemical Company.
posted by fief at 4:31 PM on August 12, 2010

I agree it's probably tomato sauce or anything else acidic combined with microwaving. This always happened to my plastic storage containers. And it's one of the big reasons I love my Snapware Glasslock containers so much.
posted by thejanna at 6:41 AM on August 13, 2010

The microwave hates Tupperware and wants to kill it.

Not if you're using actual Tupperware (it's a brand, y'all). They specify which ones are made for microwaves. I've haven't had a problem with them yet.
posted by zerbinetta at 10:01 AM on August 18, 2010

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