How to Clean Cloudy Plastic?

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Plastic is a routine material for a lot of products primarily because of its durability and multiple uses. However, with time plastic begins to appear cloudy and loses its aesthetic value. Cleaning it properly can restore its usability. Here we will tell you how to clean cloudy plastic.

How to Clean Cloudy Plastic?

There are five methods of cleaning cloudy plastic:

Fruits in a plastic container

Method #1: Use Toothpaste

  1. This method is used for cleaning plastic material that has a mild amount of dirt accumulated on them. Before using toothpaste, apply some warm water in a dishwasher.
  2. After cleaning the plastic with water, dry it properly. Once again, wet it in normal water and prepare to add the toothpaste.
  3. Now, apply toothpaste over the entire surface to be cleaned using a soft cloth or a spare toothbrush.
  4. Allow the plastic to sit for about five minutes once you’ve covered its entire surface with toothpaste.
  5. Now remove the paste under running water and let it dry. If the cloudy build-up on its surface doesn’t disappear, repeat the same process two or three times.

Usually, the cloudy cover should disappear after doing this. If not, you can move to the following process, which involves the use of baking soda.

Method #2: Use Baking Soda 

Baking soda is used to clean cloudy covers that cannot be removed by toothpaste alone. 

  1. Make a paste by mixing the same amounts of baking soda and toothpaste. You should maintain the ratio throughout.
  2. The amount of the mixture you make should be enough to cover the entire plastic surface you intend to clean.
  3. The baking soda will remove the cloudy cover, while the toothpaste helps it set better on the plastic surface.
  4. While the paste is still wet, scrub it on the surface properly. The moistness of the surface ensures a smooth cleaning action.
  5. After scrubbing the paste properly on the surface, let it sit and dry for about an hour and a half.
  6. Then rinse the paste off carefully and get your clean plastic.

You can also mix baking soda with water to remove the cloudy cover that appears on the plastic.

  1. Make a paste of baking powder and water. Remember to add water and baking powder in the same amount.
  2. Apply the paste with a soft piece of cloth on the surface to be cleaned. Scrub it with a toothbrush and let it stand for some time.
  3. After about 10-15 minutes, wash the paste off with lukewarm water. 
  4. Let it dry by keeping it in sunlight for some time. You will see a clean and clear plastic after the process is complete.
Plastic water bottle

Method #3: Use Vinegar 

Acetic acid can also be used to clean plastic. Vinegar used in the kitchen contains acetic acid and hence can be used for cleaning plastic as well.

  1. Take a container that is large enough to hold the plastic items you wish to clean. Fill the container with vinegar you use in the kitchen.
  2. Ensure the container is dry and doesn’t contain any foreign material to prevent the acetic acid from reacting with it.
  3. Put the plastic material you wish to clean inside the container. Make sure it stays completely soaked in the vinegar.
  4. Take out the plastic material and if the cloudy cover still exists, sprinkle some amount of baking soda to get an enhanced cleaning effect.
  5. You can also use a sponge to apply the baking soda to the plastic surface to be cleaned. The baking soda will help to clean the surface better.

You can also try using vinegar and water.

  1. Make a solution of vinegar and water in equal amounts. The solution should be enough to soak the items to be cleaned.
  2. After soaking the foggy plastic item for about an hour, begin to scrub it properly. It is advisable to use a moistened piece of cloth to scrub the material effectively.
  3. Then, rinse it properly. Do it with warm water and then wipe and dry it to get the best effect.

Method #4: Use Lime Juice

Citric acid is another chemical that can be used effectively for cleaning purposes. The lemons that you use in food contain an ample amount of citric acid.

  1. Squeeze out the juice of a medium-sized lemon into the container and dip the plastic item to be cleaned.
  2. To it, add some baking soda. This initiates a neutralization reaction to remove the cloud cover. Two tablespoons of baking soda should be enough.
  3. Then add tap water to the container to fill it up to the brim. Put on a lid to cover the container. 
  4. Shake the covered plastic item for about five minutes, increasing the pace slowly.
  5. Let it stand for some time. Then with a smooth cloth, scrub the item as well as the walls of the container.
  6. Once you see the cloud cover has disappeared, you can throw away the water and let the plastic item dry.

Method #5: Use Detergent

You can also use laundry detergent to remove the cloudy cover from plastic.

Stacks of cloudy plastic containers
  1. Depending on the size of the plastic surface and the extent of cloud cover, take an adequate amount of detergent.
  2. Pour the detergent on the plastic surface and add warm water to make a paste out of the detergent.
  3. With a small piece of cloth, spread the paste throughout the surface of the plastic and let it stand for some time.
  4. Scrub it off with your hand, and then rinse it with tap water. Once it has dried properly, you’ll notice the cloudy cover is gone from the plastic surface.

For better cleaning, you can use sandpaper to scrub the plastic surface as well. However, it can damage plastic surfaces that are too soft.

Only use sandpaper if the surface can handle its friction. Otherwise, it is better to use a smooth piece of cloth or even your bare hands.

Here’s a short video about the different ways to clean cloudy plastic. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can We Use Muriatic Acid to Clean?

Hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid is used for cleaning bathrooms and other hard surfaces like concrete. It is a strong acid that reacts with tough stains and ultimately removes them. However, if used on plastic, it can corrode the plastic and damage it.

Can Vaseline Be Used to Clean Cloudy Plastic?

Vaseline has the properties of a lubricant. When applied to old and faded plastic surfaces, it can restore their new appearance, and it can also be used for restoring plastic lawn chairs. However, this tends to be temporary as it does not remove the cloudy appearance but just adds some glossy appearance to the plastic.


Plastic items used in every household begin to fade with usage. They begin to look dull, and their usability also reduces. However, cleaning and maintaining plastic is simple and can be done easily using household items. Therefore, it is advised to clean your plastic household items periodically.