How to Clean a Spray Bottle [Easy Guide]

Do you ever wonder if it would be possible to clean and reuse those fiddly nozzles, pumps, and sprays?

I've been thinking about this myself; buying more cleaning supplies is such a waste but spray bottles are so helpful around the house; I love reusing them for all sorts of things. I did a little research and put this together for you; I’m hoping that this will help us all day-to-day.

Here's a quick, easy hack for cleaning a spray bottle to save you time and money - and a small baby step towards helping the planet too. Glass bottles, as well as plastic, would apply here, and this cheap method does not involve alcohol or chemicals.

FAQ

Why should I reuse my plastic spray bottles?

Turning something from a one-off product into a reusable item is better for the planet than putting things in the trash and buying more of the same item.

Is it safe to reuse plastic spray bottles?

There are various ways to reuse plastic spray bottles. You will need to take all the parts of the bottle apart, clean everything individually and let it dry thoroughly before putting it back together.

Depending on what you’d like to use them for, you may need to sterilize the parts, using sterilizing fluid or boiling water. If you’re going to re-use a cleaning bottle for cleaning, you may not need to do this.

How long will it take?

Rinsing, cleaning, and sterilizing will take roughly 20 minutes. Leave to dry overnight or for long enough that the bottle is completely dry.

What you will need to create recycled bottles:

  • Boiled water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Sterilizing tablets or fluid
  • Rubber gloves
  • A tap or hose with relatively high water pressure
  • Cloth for wiping
  • A sponge for scrubbing if necessary

Step by step instructions - let's make a new spray bottle!

Check for damage

Make sure the spray bottle doesn’t have any cracks, leaks, or erosion. If it’s too old or damaged, you’ll be wasting your time. Take it apart and look carefully at each smaller part. Bending slightly can help, as can enlisting the help of someone with good eyes if yours aren’t!

Rinsing

Rinse the bottle well with your high-pressure tap or hose, getting off as much material as possible to make the rest of the cleaning process easier.

Flushing

This is an important part. Put on some gloves that will protect your hands from boiling water. Submerge the bottom of the dip tube in a bowl of freshly boiled water, in the sink, and aim away from yourself. Use the spray nozzle several times to make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed with boiling water.

Disassembling

You can usually take everything apart except for the gasket and pump mechanism (not meant to be disassembled). Try to remember what fits where - you’ll have to put it together again. You should end up with a dust cap, an actuator with the insert, closure with the gasket and the pump mechanism, dip tube, and bottle.

Washing

Put all the parts in a basin with warm water (not boiling) and dishwashing liquid, and wipe everything. Cotton earbuds can be useful for reaching small joins. Then rinse thoroughly.

Sterilizing

This is only necessary if the previous ingredients - such as chemicals- may be harmful or something that goes bad as it gets stuck in the nozzle. If you are using the spray bottle for watering plants, you don’t really need to sterilize but make sure all soap is out.

You can sterilize the bottles in several ways, including boiling, steaming, and sterilizing tablets, however, remember that plastic parts can’t go directly in boiling water as they will melt.

Drying

Dry off as much as possible and leave to dry on a cloth overnight.

Reassembling

Double-check that everything is dry, as damp could cause germs or clogging. Put it back together carefully.

Air Flushing

This is super important to make sure there is no moisture anywhere in the sprayer. Simply press the actuator a few times, which should spray out any remaining residue.

More spray bottle hacks to avoid waste

If smells are a problem, mix together a cup of hot water with a quarter of a cup of baking soda, pour in, shake vigorously, and let sit overnight. Shake again in the morning and pour out, and the smell should be gone.

If the spray bottle handle gets stuck, try replacing the spring to make spraying easier (you can buy these at hardware stores).

If the tube isn’t reaching the fluid at the bottom, extend the tube by attaching another one to it so that it can work even when not filled (also found at hardware stores).

If the small pump seems to be clogged (this happens a lot with hairspray) run hot water and vinegar over it, and then pierce the spray nozzle with a pin to make a small hole.

Final thoughts

What do you think of this zero-waste hack? Was this helpful? Are there any other parts I should add?

Let me know if reusable spray bottles are making a difference in your home. Is something you think you’ll do more often now, if the process ran smoothly, or if there’s anything you’d like to add.

Personally, I love using my (newly) reusable spray bottles for plants, cleaning, and homemade perfumes. I’m so grateful that I can find ways to reduce waste and share these tips with you, and it means a lot that you take this journey with me.

If you enjoyed this, I suggest you might also find my guide to cleaning stainless steel water bottles handy.

Thank you for your contribution to a better world - it might seem small but every bit helps. Looking forward to hearing back from you, as we recycle together in the name of innovation, environment, zero waste!

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