Upcycle: How To Take The Ink Off Plastic Food Containers

repurposing recycled food containers

Being thrifty and reusing plastic food containers from the store is not new. But did you know that taking the ink off of an empty food container such as sour cream or whipped cream is easy. You can then use the plain container to give a food gift or for a craft project, or for storage containers you can label yourself.

Acetone (fingernail polish remover)
A cloth rag (it'll get ink on it so pick wisely!)

Pour some acetone onto the cloth and rub the container to remove the ink. It'll take a little elbow grease, but should start to come off right away. Some of the brighter colors like red require the most patience.
Here's what my first rub with acetone took off:
Enjoy this quick and easy project!


  1. Thanks for the great tip! I love to recycle old containers but the ink does irritate the "pretty" part for me and hinders what I think the container may contain. I am going to try this out :)

  2. Very good tip! Something everyone would like to know!
    Thanks for sharing it at Monday Funday!

  3. Stopping by from Sumos Sweet Stuff. What a great idea, thank you for the tip!


    1. Thanks Andrea! Glad you found me!

  4. Great tip -- glad to know this as the ink keeps me from reusing containers! Thanks so much for linking on Busy Monday!

  5. I tried this on a butter bowl and I couldn't get it to rub off.

  6. I am sorry to hear this! Do you remember what brand of butter it was? I wonder if we can figure out why?

  7. I wonder if it was Earth Balance? Because I got here by looking for ways to do this, but in looking at the Earth Balance container, it looks like it's a wrap around rather than ink. It doesn't seem removable - it almost seems to be a part of the container. Too bad, too, because it would make a darling plant container. It's square and the lid would be the drip tray.

    1. Could you paint it? I wonder if paint would stick to it. Maybe even chalkboard paint? I wonder if that spray paint that works on plastic would work. hmmm. I need to find one of theses containers and play with it abit!
      Thanks for the info Liz!

  8. Different types of ink will be soluble in different types of solvents. Butter containers contain substances high in lipids, so it would not be surprising if they used a paint with a different solvent base.


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