Can I Ferment in a Plastic Container? Reasons Why I Should Not

Fermenting helps create new flavors and tastes in different ways that can change the cooking process. Fermenting food is good that you cannot let it go once you try since it is a simple task. When you try this activity, you will increase the use of larger and specialized containers.

After getting fully into the fermentation process, you start thinking of the containers to use that you can even think of using plastic containers. There are different types of containers to use for fermentation, but the question is, can you ferment in a plastic container?

If you want to ferment and lack enough containers to use until you start plastic containers but are not sure of using them, this is the right guide for you. I will show you if you can use more details about the fermentation process. There are the frequently asked questions and lastly, the conclusion.

Can I ferment in a plastic container?

can i ferment in a plastic container

Yes, you can ferment in a plastic container since fermentation is natural. The microorganisms used for the process can live in a plastic container, just like the different containers you can use. Even though it can work, there are reasons that it is not advisable for use in the fermentation process. Check on the factors below to choose the plastic container for fermentation.

Factors to consider when choosing a plastic container for fermentation

Factors to consider when choosing a plastic container for fermentation
FactorsFunctionEssential productsQuality of the plasticHigh-quality plastic containers are suitable for use and produce good fermented foods. 
Cleaning processCleaning the plastic containers helps remove the bacteria that affect the fermentation process.Check Amazon for the best cotton wool.
Sterilize the plasticSterilizing the plastic container helps in maintaining the containerCheck Amazon for the best hydrogen peroxide
  • Quality of the plastic

Consider choosing a high-quality plastic container that is food grade such that they are fake to release the unwanted chemicals to the fermented food. Quality plastic containers have HDPE, LDPE, polypropylene, polycarbonate, etc.

  • Cleaning process

Choose a plastic container knowing that you are ready to work on it when cleaning. When cleaning plastic fermentation containers, be gentle and use soft cleaning tools like cotton wool or a piece of cloth to avoid scratching the plastic surface. Rough plastic surfaces are prone to bacteria as they stick on the scratches and other residues of the fermented food on the walls of the plastic containers.

  • I sterilized the plastic container frequently

Sterilizing a container is different from cleaning since some chemicals you can spray to work on the bacteria in fixing. In this case, consider using hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol solution minding the time it takes. Avoid using strong chemicals like vinegar or other bleaching solutions since they can degrade the plastic.

If you need to use plastics, choose high-quality plastics to clean and sterilize without affecting the container.

Reasons why you should not use plastic containers for fermentation

Reasons why you should not use plastic containers for fermentation
  • They quickly get stains and absorb odors

Using plastic for fermentation makes the container retain the fermentation odor, and any stains with the process will stick to the container.

  • It harbors unwanted bacteria

Fermentation involves maintaining the essential bacteria that can help the body prevent unwanted bacteria. Therefore, when you are using plastic to ferment the plastic container, walls scratch and scuffs quickly so that the undesirable bacteria can stick to the walls affecting the fermentation process.

  • Plastics are hard to sterilize and clean

Containers with glass, ceramic and stainless steel are easier to clean and sterilize since they get clean quickly, unlike plastic. When fats and other oily components stick to it, you can find it hard to clean. Therefore think of plastic as your last option.

  • Plastics contain unwanted chemicals

Plastic materials have different materials that, in some they are fake, and others are original. Artificial plastic materials contain unwanted chemicals that are not good for the human body when you consume them. The plastic containers with unwanted chemicals degrade over time and release the chemicals in them to the fermented food in most cases when fermenting food that produces acidic fluids, or hot food and food that stays for long.

Types of foods to ferment in a plastic container

Types of foods to ferment in a plastic container
  • Sauerkraut

Using a plastic bucket to ferment this food is a good idea if you lack the traditional methods. The only thing you need to do is check the container and ensure the plastic is high quality, has strong construction material, has rigid sides, and has an air-tight lid to cover the container. Use a high-quality food-grade plastic bag that will hold the cabbage and brine inside the container to accommodate the entire remains found in brine and prevent air evaporation during the fermentation process.

  • Pickles

Usually, it is not advisable to ferment pickles in metal that plastics are best to use. The only thing you need to do here is to check the weight of the holes since you need to cover them with brine. Therefore, choose to use a large plastic container to accommodate the pickles and make sure you have a plate, weight, jar, and other tools to ensure the holes are submerged in the brine.

If the container you are using is small and cannot work with the plates and jars, consider using plastic bags that perform the same as the other tools. Inside the plastic bags, add pickling brine and seal it tightly and use the brine bag as a weight to hold the pickles. Ensure the brine bag is loose and flexible to fit in different containers since brine protects the fermented food from leaks.

  • Wine

 Wine can be fermented in a plastic container, but you need to have two containers since there are two steps in the fermentation process of wine. In this case, ensure you have quality plastic and small plastic containers since large containers have ample space that increases the oxidation risk for fermentation.

Frequently asked questions;

  • Can ferment beer in buckets?

Buckets are also plastic containers that you can use for the fermentation process that most beginners prefer using for brewing beer. Like wine, the bucket has a space that allows oxidation so that you do not need to keep the beer in a bucket for more than three weeks.

  • What are the advantages of using plastic containers for fermentation?

As we all know, plastic containers are everywhere, such that if you want to ferment anything, you can easily choose any plastic depending on the type of food you are fermenting. Secondly, the containers are cheap if you’re going to buy them and the maintenance practices are straightforward. All you need is to clean the container.


Fermenting foods in a plastic container is okay if you use the best quality containers. Remember, plastic is affordable, available, and easy to maintain when using. Plastics can work the same as metallic containers even though the metals have outstanding advantages. The guide above shows the things you need to consider before using the plastic container, like the cleaning process, sterilization, and others that help you maintain the container.

Consider checking on the factors to consider when purchasing the plastic container to use for fermentation, and take good care of it by cleaning regularly and following the measures to use it. Plastic containers are the best; remember, they are cheap and readily available to anyone.