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How to Clean Your Old Cardboard Boxes
A cardboard box filled with shoes.

Cleaning your old cardboard boxes is the first step in storing or reusing them. After all, no one wants to use dirty and smelly boxes.

The good news is that cleaning cardboard boxes is simple – and you don’t need expensive products to do it properly either.

Here’s a quick guide on how to clean cardboard boxes:

1. Remove All Debris

First, you need to remove any leftover items inside your cardboard boxes.

This could be anything – manuals, receipts, food produce, etc. – whatever your cardboard boxes used to hold. This can also include any box fillers that may have been used such as bubble wrap, box liners, Styrofoam, or newspaper.

If you’re cleaning cardboard boxes that you previously stored, make sure to remove dirt or debris that may be lodged inside during storage.

2. Examine Them Closely

Once you’ve emptied your cardboard boxes and made sure there’s nothing inside, check them thoroughly inside and out.

Do they have stains on their surfaces? If there are, how deep are the stains?

Do they have any lingering smells? And what’s causing them to smell bad?

By taking the time to examine your boxes closely, you can evaluate their condition better and determine the right techniques to clean them.

3. Clean Them Carefully

Now it’s time to clean your boxes, and the process will depend on what issues you want to treat:

Step 1 Remove Light Debris

Remove light debris with a clean, dry cloth or a brush. If this does not completely remove the debris, dip your cloth or brush in warm water and tray again

Note: Remember to let your cardboard box completely dry before wiping it over again

Step 2 Remove Smells

Cardboard boxes can develop nasty odours quickly if there were used to store dirty items. Most of these smells can be taken care of by spraying a half water half vinegar solution over the smelly parts of your box and leaving to dry in the sun

Note: If the smell still persists, you can also try putting baking soda all over your boxes and store them in a sealed container for a few days. For more information on how to remove the smells from cardboard boxes, read this blog.

Step 3 Removing light stains

To remove light stains on your cardboard boxes, mix 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of baking soda into a spray bottle and fill it up with warm water after it has fizzled down. Spray it over the stained areas and then use an absorbent cloth to blot the stain out.

Note: Once you’ve removed the stains, pat the boxes dry with paper towels or a dry cloth and let them air-dry completely.

4. Sanitise Them (Optional)

Some people like to sanitise their cardboard boxes before reusing them to make sure they are as clean as possible. To do this, spray your cardboard boxes lightly with a disinfectant spray. Keep in mind, however, that the smell of the disinfectant may stay on your cardboard boxes after.

But if you don’t want to use chemicals to sanitise your boxes, you can try leaving them out in the sun for a couple of days. The sun will help prevent the growth of mould and bacteria on the surface of your cardboard boxes, so they will be even cleaner by the time you use them.

Get New Boxes if They’re Too Dirty

If your old cardboard boxes are too dirty, or if you simply don’t have the time or energy to clean them properly, then you’re better off getting new boxes altogether. Remember that cleaning them is only appropriate if your boxes have light dirt, stains, or smells. Heavy stains, heavy moulds, or deeply embedded dirt is often not worth removing and simply a waste of time and effort.

Need More Handy Tips?

For more tips and suggestions, check our blog for more ideas and suggestions. You can also contact us if you have any questions or enquiries about cardboard boxes.

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