How do i clean the oil off my lunch box after just finishing eating my lunch, without utensil soap at my disposal ?

  • Do you have any other kind of sosp, like hand soap at your disposal?
    – Eric
    Sep 20, 2016 at 11:07
  • 1
    One approach is using plastic sheer inside lunch box and then putting food on top of it. This will spread oil over plastic sheet instead of lunch box.
    – GC 13
    Sep 20, 2016 at 12:12
  • 1
    @GC13 If you have an answer, please post it below. Thanks. Sep 21, 2016 at 21:16
  • How are you getting oil on you lunch box while eating?
    – paparazzo
    Sep 24, 2016 at 0:45

5 Answers 5


I would try a putting few drops of dishwashing soap on a paper towel, then put that in a Ziploc bag with your lunchbox.

One more idea that I got from cleaning cast iron skillets in my home. You're not supposed to use soap on a cast iron skillet because it can remove the seasoning. The recommended way to clean them is to use salt and water. From what I've seen a paste of salt with a few drops of water will do a pretty good job of removing excess oil from a cast iron skillet, it doesn't take off 100% though. It would probably also work for your lunchbox, it's kind of abrasive though and would encourage rust depending on the material the lunchbox is made of.

  • Nice. Better than my answer...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Sep 20, 2016 at 11:16

The only things other than soap or detergent that will remove oil during washing are extremely hot water (like genuinely boiling!) or alcohol. Neither of these is likely to be more available than dishwashing or hand soap when you're washing out your lunch box in the work or school lunch room.

You might explore whether you can get dish detergent in little packets (like the ones with condiments in them from fast food restaurants); you could bring these with you and be able to properly wash your lunch box and utensils each day.

  • 2
    You have a lot of points on this site, so you probably already know this, but it's risky to say "the only things" or "the only solution" in an answer. This is about lifehacks, after all! Surprising answers are what the site's about. (For example, someone else pointed out that flour absorbs 99% of the oil. That's pretty effective!) Sep 20, 2016 at 16:53
  • @BrettFromLA Note the qualification "during washing" -- and also, I'm skeptical about the 99% claim for flour taking up oil. I doubt anything other than a dedicated degreaser (alone or as an ingredient in a detergent) can do that.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Sep 20, 2016 at 16:56
  • You're right, I missed that "during washing" qualification. And for my own education, does adding isopropyl alcohol to water while washing actually work on oil? I'm trying to imagine that and I have the sense that it would! Sep 20, 2016 at 17:09
  • Depends on the oil, but methanol, ethanol, and isopropyl are all soluble in both polar solvents (like water) and non-polar (like oil and gasoline). That's why they're used as, for instance, fuel line driers.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Sep 20, 2016 at 17:16
  • Paper towel - this will absorb oil 95%
  • Flour - Spread flour inside lunch box and rub the flour around the surface. This is best solution as it absorbs most of the oil. Based on my experience, I would say 99%

To avoid spreading of oil within box surface - keep a aluminium foil (or worst case plastics sheet) inside surface of box before putting food. (This will make you transfer food in another substance, if you want to warm in a microwave. Don't put aluminium foil /plastic wrapper inside microwave and heat)


A pack of wet wipes or baby wipes followed by drying with a paper towel would be an effective way to clean your cutlery and lunchbox without access to traditional dish washing facilities.

  • neat and simple solution...got to try it today. Sep 28, 2016 at 4:26

i would usually clean my tiffen box using paper towel with little amount of water. We don't need soap to clean the oil.

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