Plastic dishes are shatterproof and generally cheaper than their glass counterparts. Unfortunately, plastic can absorb unpleasant odors. These odors typically will not budge with a normal washing and can last for weeks. A musty odor can occur when mold or mildew grows on the plastic dishes or if the dishes were stored in a damp, dark or musty location. Several common, inexpensive and natural items will eliminate the musty odor and freshen the plastic dishes.
Fill a sink with lukewarm water. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda and two to three drops of dish soap to the water. Swish the contents with your hand until thoroughly mixed. Submerge the plastic dishes in the water and let soak for 30 minutes. Wash the dishes clean with a cloth and rinse with cool water. Dry with a towel and repeat the process if the musty odor remains.
Fill a sink with warm water and add 2 cups of white vinegar. Submerge the smelly plastic in the mixture and let soak for 30 minutes. Scrub the plastic with the mixture and a cloth. Wash the dishes as you normally would and rinse clean with cool water. Dry the plastic dishes with a towel. Alternatively, dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar and wipe the dishes. Let the vinegar air-dry on the plastic and then wash as you normally would.
Set the plastic dishes in a clean sink and pour a can of tomato juice into a bowl. Submerge a sponge in the juice and scrub the plastic dishes thoroughly with the tomato juice-soaked sponge. Allow the juice to sit on the dishes for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing the plastic clean. Repeat the process until the odor no longer remains. Wash the plastic dishware as you normally would.