11 Items You Should NEVER Store in Plastic Containers

Sharing is caring!

Plastic containers might be budget-friendly, but they’re not ideal for storing everything. Some items, when stored in plastic, can lead to health concerns or financial woes—or even both.

Food (Especially If Hot)


Storing food? Skip the plastic containers—these are vulnerable to temperature changes and can induce mold growth or odors in your food. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a clear guideline for using plastic containers: they should never be used to store hot foods. This recommendation stems from concerns about the safety and chemical stability of plastics when exposed to heat,

Instead, opt for glass containers for long-term storage. Glass keeps your food fresher longer and also ensures that the taste remains unaffected. For an alternative, choose food-grade containers that are specifically designed for safe food storage.

Delicate Fabrics 


Delicate materials (e.g. cashmere, wool, and lace) should never be stored in plastic storage containers. These fine fabrics are particularly susceptible to absorbing excess moisture, which can result in musty odors or damage. 

For an optimal storage solution, consider breathable fabric storage bags, which (luckily) come in various sizes and colors to suit your aesthetic and organizational needs, ensuring your delicate items remain pristine and fresh.

Electronics & Batteries


It may seem convenient to toss old electronics or spare batteries into a plastic bin, but this can be a costly mistake. Plastic containers can generate static electricity, posing a risk to sensitive electronic components and causing batteries to leak. 

To keep these items safe, store them in anti-static packaging or containers designed specifically for electronics. Additionally, maintaining a cool, well-ventilated environment for these items can prevent damage. And if you’re looking to declutter, consider recycling or donating your old gadgets.



For coffee enthusiasts, maintaining the freshness of coffee beans is essential. Metal and ceramic containers are excellent choices because they don’t interact with coffee’s flavors. Glass is also a solid option, but it’s best if it’s opaque or kept out of direct light to preserve the quality of the coffee.

While plastic isn’t ideal for long-term storage—since it can absorb flavors and odors—it’s okay for short-term use (say, up to two weeks). Regardless of the material, ensuring the container is airtight is key to keeping your coffee fresh and flavorful.

Anything Made from Leather


When it comes to leather—be it your cherished jacket, beloved handbags, or dependable shoes—choosing the right storage is key. Stashing them in plastic containers is a misstep that could lead to moisture build-up, which is notorious for causing cracks or promoting the growth of mold and mildew on your prized leather pieces. 

A smarter choice is breathable storage solutions like dust bags for smaller items or robust, dustproof clothing bags for larger pieces. Additionally, keep leather goods separate to prevent the transfer of oils that might stain adjacent items. 

Vinegar (or Vinegar-Based Products)


Storing vinegar in plastic containers is generally not recommended due to vinegar’s acidic properties. Over time, the acid in vinegar can react with the plastic, potentially causing the material to degrade or break down. This reaction compromises the integrity of the container—potentially leading to leaks or spills—and can also pose a risk of contaminating the vinegar with chemicals from the plastic.

It’s best to opt for glass containers when storing vinegar. Glass has stable atomic structure and does not react with acids, making it a safer and more durable choice for storing acidic substances like vinegar (or pickles!). 

Artwork & Photography 


For those who treasure artwork or photography, plastic storage options should be off the table. Inappropriate storage conditions can warp, fade, or damage valuable prints over time. 

Consider investing in durable, vinyl storage bags specifically designed for art and photography. These bags offer the added benefits of being waterproof, ensuring that your precious items remain intact and protected.

Spices & Herbs


When it comes to preserving the quality of spices and herbs, the choice of storage container plays a key role. Plastic, due to its porous nature, allows small amounts of air to permeate, which can gradually degrade the flavor and potency of spices. This is especially critical for high-quality, costly spices, which are best maintained in conditions that safeguard their aromatic and flavor integrity.

For these reasons, glass containers are the preferred choice for storing spices and herbs. Glass offers a non-porous barrier that prevents air from entering and maintains the freshness of the contents. Additionally, glass containers often provide a better seal, ensuring that the spices are sealed effectively to extend their shelf life (provided they are kept away from direct sunlight and heat). 

Pet Food 


Storing pet food directly in plastic containers can lead to spoilage, as the oils in the food may degrade the plastic over time, affecting the taste and quality of the food. 

A better approach is to place the entire pet food bag into a suitably sized plastic container. This method prevents the food from directly contacting the plastic and keeps your furry friends happy and healthy at mealtime.

Important Documents & Photos


Storing important documents or sentimental family photographs in plastic might seem like a good idea, but it’s fraught with risks. Fluctuating temperatures can cause moisture issues, leading to faded prints or discolored documents. 

Instead of risking these valuable items, opt for digital backups or store them in a theft-proof, fireproof safe box to ensure their preservation and security.

Essential Oils 


Storing essential oils in plastic bottles is highly discouraged. Essential oils are potent and concentrated, possessing the ability to break down and dissolve certain types of plastics. This interaction can lead to the degradation of the plastic container, which may contaminate the oils with harmful plastic residues, potentially altering their purity and therapeutic properties.

To ensure the integrity and longevity of essential oils, it is advisable to use glass bottles or stainless-steel containers for storage. 

Top 3 U.S. States That Almost No One Leaves (And for Good Reason)


Top 3 U.S. States That Almost No One Leaves (And for Good Reason)

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.