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Reusing Laundry Detergent Bottles

Category Reusing
Before throwing that sturdy detergent bottle into the trash, you can consider ways to use it for something else. This guide is about reusing laundry detergent bottles.


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By 36 found this helpful
February 22, 2011

To organize cleaning tools, gardening tools, and small household tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.), clean out an old plastic laundry detergent bottle. With a utility knife, cut off the top of the bottle even with the bottom of the handle, leaving handle intact. This allows full open access for storage. I just grab the handle and go.

By Kay from West Babylon, NY

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By B.Thom (Guest Post)
April 6, 20044 found this helpful
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If it has a handle:

1. Turn it on its side and cut a slit on top. Put empty thread spools on bottom and cut triangles for ears. Bang, you have a piggy bank.

2. Cut it an angle. Bang, you have a scoop or mini-shovel.

3. Cut a square or large circle. Bang, you got a bird feeder.

4. Fill one for extra gas in your vehicle.

5. Cut a big hole in the side. Bang, you got a clothespin holder.

6. Put water in it for auto or vehicle.

7. Challenge your kids to make something, winners get pizzas.


8. If you have a boat, fill it with sand for an extra anchor.

9. Latch serveral together by the necks and you have a small water float.

10. If they are long (like soda bottles) paint them white. You have 10 and a ball. Bang, you got bowling.

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February 14, 20053 found this helpful

I always hated to toss the empty plastic containers for softeners, laundry soap and other similar products. I decided that the lid could be used for different craft projects.

Here's a few; put some rocks in the bottom of the lid for weight, cover with batting, cover with material to form a large ball that is about 2 inches above the lip. You can now glue material or other items such as buttons on the outside and you have a cute pin cushion.


The smaller lids can be used as hats for your crafts, like for a snowman.

The containers can be put over plants in your garden when there is a chance of frost. I wouldn't recommend the ones that hold bleach.

My husband uses them to hold the old oil and transmission fluid when he changes them.

I would like to know any other ideas someone might have for them.

By RoseMary

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By 16 found this helpful
January 22, 2010

Rock Salt, used to melt ice on pavement, is very harsh to the skin. For an easy, and safe dispenser, I empty the bag of salt into a old laundry detergent bottle. Most have handles which makes spreading the rock salt quite easy. No waste or spill or contact with your skin! Label the bottle to store any unused salt.


By JP's Mom from Rocky Point, NY

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By 2 found this helpful
November 13, 2011

First cut the top in a scoop fashion from a Tide laundry soap container. Use the 100 fluid ounce size, leaving the handle on. Make sure that it is washed out very well. I cleaned it with baking soda and vinegar to be sure it was clean. Make sure it is totally dry. Then you can scoop your dog, cat, chicken, or any other food or even sand, gravel, soil, or flour if you want.

Source: Thriftyfun

By teresa from Lynnwood, WA

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By 2 found this helpful
December 15, 2011

I wash out the empty bottles. Rinse them thoroughly. Cut the top off of the bottle including the top of the handle.


You still have the handle left for holding it and you can use it for a scoop for birdseed.

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June 22, 20043 found this helpful

This past week I volunteered at my daughters' Girl Scout day camp. They had taken empty liquid Tide laundry detergent containers, the big ones with the spouts, and cleaned them out and refilled them with water.

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October 19, 2009

Need a large scoop say for bird feed or or something else? Save those laundry detergent jugs. Just wash out the empty container and be sure to keep the lid.

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March 9, 20132 found this helpful

This is a guide about how to make a detergent bottle watering can. Yet another use for an empty detergent bottle; make a watering can.

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By 1 found this helpful
June 29, 2013

I peel off the labels and reuse them for other liquids I buy in bulk or make. I used the Arm & Hammer yellow containers because I like yellow and I labeled them with my PTouch.


I love the way the bottles dispense and I can buy either in bulk or on sale...

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January 8, 20130 found this helpful

This is a guide about crafts using laundry detergent bottles. Save your empty detergent bottles for use in a wide variety of crafts from seasonal decorations to toys.

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June 9, 20120 found this helpful

This guide is about uses for laundry scoops. With a new scoop in every bucket or box of detergent, you can end up with extras that can be helpful for many other things.

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November 9, 20110 found this helpful

This is a guide about uses for laundry detergent caps. When you finish a bottle of laundry detergent, consider saving the cap. Those durable plastic caps can be put to use in many different ways.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 14, 2006

Uses for Gallon Detergent Bottles and Inserts. I finally figured a way to recycle those gallon detergent no-drip inserts that were driving me nuts, since I have so many. . .

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 3, 20020 found this helpful

Does anybody have any *unique* ideas for those liquid laundry detergent jugs and their measuring cup type lids? They are very sturdy and surely
there must be something we could do with them besides throwing them out or recycling them.

I know that they can be cut out and used as a scoop, but I was thinking something with a little more creativity (which I lack). Plus I like crafts and re-dos for adults as my kids are all older, now.


April 3, 20020 found this helpful

I have used the plastic liquid laundry containers for flower vases taking them to hospital and nursing home patients. Cut the top portion off so you have a handle to carry them ... Put your flowers in and add a large bow.

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April 3, 20020 found this helpful

Laundry measuring caps that screw on the jug are good for making individual party favors, flower arrangement, glue handles on for basket effect, use them in craft projects at nursing homes ... put Styrofoam in the cap and let residents design their own bouquet for their room. Great size because space is limited.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 13, 2007

Does anyone know how to remove the fragrance from the 2 gallon Tide, Era, and other bottles to reuse for water jugs? I have a dry water well at my barn and 3 horses that need drinking water this winter. Thought these bottles would be ideal for water transport. I've been collecting them from people's curbs all summer.

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January 29, 20010 found this helpful

What are some frugal uses for liquid detergent bottles?

By Tina


January 29, 20010 found this helpful

Before the German Unification things were hard to come by in Eastern Germany (then German Democratic Republic), so people went long ways to make their own. Lace makers would use plastic bottles of any kind like those used for liquid detergent to make tatting shuttles from. They cut out pieces out of the round parts to get the shells, used wood or cork as a center and glued or screwed the whole thing together. They sanded down the edges, and voila, a tatting shuttle. Another way to make a tatting shuttle would be to use flat parts of those bottles, cut a longish oval out, punch holes with a standard hole punch in the ends and then cut a slit up to the whole.

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January 29, 20010 found this helpful

DO you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the winter? A well-washed and thoroughly dried detergent bottle is a great way to shake salt onto your sidewalks! The handle makes it easy to grasp, even with gloved hands. Just use a funnel (I usually make a temporary one from the spout of a soda bottle) to fill the shaker as needed. Then pour with a shaking motion and the salt comes out the spout.

Becki in Logansport, IN

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January 29, 20010 found this helpful

Most detergent bottles come in a shape, ie. similar to the human figure. Add clothing and a head (styrofoam balls decorated like a head or something you make yourself). This would be a cute idea for decorating a child's room, or if you get really fancy, set them around your living room as conversation pieces.

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January 29, 20010 found this helpful

Easter is coming up and my grandmother had a great idea for used plastic bottles. Easter Baskets. My Grandmother would cut out the bottoms of the bottles and decorate them. She used wire pipe stems for the handles and filled them with Easter grass and candy. This is a great idea for Grandmothers to give there grandkids an inexpensive gift for Easter.

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January 30, 20010 found this helpful

I have used detergent bottles to make purses for little girls. Cut the bottle at the desired height and punch holes around the cut edge. Then crochet as many rows as you like. End off and thread a drawstring through the top. I used to take the dishwashing detergent bottles and cut them off about 2 inches high and make baby cradle purses from them. When they were closed, they were a cute drawstring purse or the top pulled down to reveal a baby cradle with a baby doll and blanket inside.

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February 1, 20010 found this helpful

we make "pooper scoopers" out of our great and their disposable. Use the handle portion for the scoop. Just use your imagination for the 'how to'. The bottom portion can be used for transporting the poop to the garbage.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 2, 2015

Has anyone successfully removed the fragrance from liquid laundry detergent bottles so that they can be used as drinking water containers? (And if you are going to tell me not to do this because it is dangerous please cite your source - they are high density polyethylene which is what tons of food containers are made from.)

By John W.

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March 3, 20150 found this helpful

There are a lot of great ideas for reusing the plastic soap containers, but how do you get the sudsy soap, like liquid laundry soap, rinsed out completely from the plastic container? I have tried hot and cold water and did this several times and there is always still suds especially if the container is plastic and not glass.

By Lisa

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By 0 found this helpful
August 22, 2006

Has anyone come up with uses for the large pour spouts inside plastic jugs of laundry detergent? I discovered they are easily removed with a thumb and that two jugs of "empty" detergent jugs release a whole single load-size of left-over liquid laundry soap when the drip spout is removed. I also began to save them and search for uses for the thick spouts. Temporary wheels come to mind, but for what? Anything else? They're a creative design by the manufacture so I hope we can recycle them some way other than with the jugs.

Lynda from Richardson, TX

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February 12, 20101 found this helpful

Uses for liquid laundry detergent bottles. Post your ideas.


Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

Well, what I do is refill mine. I buy big jugs at Warehouse stores and refill the smaller jugs which are easier for me to handle. Then I just recycle the big jugs. I bet you could clean them out, soak the label off and use them to water plants. Or cut the upper part off, leaving the handle on, and use it to carry around small gardening tools. They actually have some nice bright colors so it would be easy to spot. (04/04/2004)

By Diane

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

If it has a handle--

  1. Turn it on its side--cut a slit--on top. Put empty thread spools on bottom and cut triangles for ears--Bang you have a piggy bank

  2. Cut it an angle --Bang you have a scoop or mini-shovel

  3. Cut a square or large circle --Bang you got a birdfeeder

  4. Fill one for extra gas in your vehicle

  5. Cut a big hole-in the side--Bang you got a clothes pin holder

  6. Put water in it for auto or vechile

  7. Challenge your kids to make something--winners get pizzas

  8. If you have a boat--fill it with sand--for an extra anchor

  9. Latch serveral together by the necks and you have a small water float

  10. If they are long--like soda bottles--paint them white--you have 10--and a ball--Bang --you got bowling.


By B.Thom

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

Cut them off at a flat level.They make great bins and or plant pots. I use the pretty tops as small catchall for all sorts of whatnots and also use them and aerosol can tops [like from paint,pam and hairspray] as Post toppers and to Outline plant beds.

You can also make a pincushion out of a scrap of fabric,stuffed with lots of nylon net fabric or meshe fruit and veggie bags from the supermarket squished into a ball. Sew it shut and smush it into the cap. These are very handy and can be trimmed with bits of this-n-that and the jugs themselves, tops and all and or any parts you can't use can be recycled in lots of areas.

I have even cut off strips and used them to Mark things like posts.

I made a cut up plastic milk jug into a Neck Brace for an old much loved stuffed donkey who has seen better days. I cut off the top down to a flat level.Then I cut off the bottom and cut straight up one side.

I punched holes on both sides of the cut, put it around the donkeys neck, laced it up and Bingo! Donkey looks like it has whip lash but I still have it.

I've cut of the bottoms of milk jugs for plant saucers and pet dishes.

Use the tall top to protect plants from the cold. Or cut the top off shorter for a great scoop or funnel and use the taller bottom for a plant pot, bin, disposable paint can, what ever.

Phew! That should keep you busy.

By Linne

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

They make a nice easy-to-carry vase for hospital and nursing home patients. Cut the top off above the handle and fill with flowers and greens, add a poofy florist type bow. (04/08/2004)

By syd

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

If you live in an area that gets ice and snow, wash the empty detergent jug well and allow it to air dry for a LONG time, you want it completely dry on the inside. Then fill it with ice-melter salt. Next winter when you need to put ice on your steps, driveway, etc, you can just hold the jug by the handle and sprinkle out the salt. It's a lot easier than trying to dump the salt out of the bag while wearing mittens! (04/15/2004)

By Becki in Logansport, IN

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I use gal milk jugs and/or large detergent bottles for toy storage. Leaving the handle I cut an oval from the just under the spout down to about four or five inches from the bottom to ward the other side. This makes a great storage unit for crayons markers small blocks legos etc. The children can easily see the items the want. They are easy to carry and put away. I have been doing this for about 20 years. (08/03/2004)

By Nanatimethree

Make a Paper Clip Holder

To reuse the detergent lids of liquid detergent bottles. Attach a strip of magnet (can be found at a craft or fabric shop) around the inside top edge of container. Works great holding paper clips.

By Tammy C (09/27/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

As for the lid to the bottle, not just for paper clips, but, also for diaper pins, safety pins, needles, pins, hair clips, bobby pins,

By dsbaby14

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

If its a round jug you can use it as a little dish for your plants. Cut the top and handle off. From the bottom leave about 2-3 inches. Put a potted plant inside. Then add water to the bottom of the jug. That way your plant can get water. (10/03/2004)

By Christine

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I refill them with homemade laundry detergent!
I figured it out to be between .01-.02 per load. This was calculated using Fels Naptha. I made some the other day using 4 small bars from a hotel.

Tightwad Laundry Detergent (aka Tightwad Snot)

In 2 qt. pot, put grated Fels Naptha soap, Borax, Washing Soda and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the Fels Naptha is dissolved. Continue on a low boil for 20 min. Add 6 cups cold water, mix with a wisk until solution is blended. Pour mixture into an old, clean, bucket. Add 22 cups of water to the bucket. (at this point, I mark the side of the bucket with a Sharpie so I don't have to measure the water again) Mix with a wisk until blended. (the texture will look like snot..... lol). If you like, you can add some essential oils, or just leave as is. Mix with the wisk every so often for 24 hours. (I did this the first 2x I made the detergent. Now I just mix well with the cold water and pour into 2 large containers). Pour into empty laundry bottles. Use 1/2 to 1 C. per load. Stains can be treated with moist Fels Naptha lightly rubbed onto stain. For extra heavy duty loads, add 1/4-1/2 cup of Borax.
Cost per load... .01-.02

Cost: Fels Naptha Soap..... .99 (1/3 bar = .33)
Borax......................2.79 (1/2 cup ~ .10)
Washing Soda.........2.59 (1/2 cup ~ .10)

Cost per 2 gallon of detergent .53
Cost per load ~.01--.02

Pretty good savings considering the cost of other detergents exceed .20 per load!

Any questions, feel free to email me

By Barbara Reynolds

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I cut the bottom off about 1/2 inch up and turned up side down. covered with cute fabric and fill with those plastic bags you get from the grocery store. i keep one in the kitchen, and one in each bedroom and bath for the small garbage cans. (10/04/2004)

By melissa

Recycle Downy Softener and Detergent Bottles

These bottles make a nice CHEAP flower vase for hospital or nursing home patients. Cut the bottle at the shoulders making a suitable opening. Easy to carry!

Add a big bow to the arrangement.

By Syd (12/12/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Reusing Detergent Jugs

Those plastic jugs with handles that laundry detergent comes in are PERFECT to apply salt to icy sidewalks in the wintertime! Just rinse them out and dry THOROUGHLY, then fill with salt and cap tightly. When the storm hits, you can hold it by the handle and sprinkle away!

By Becki in Indiana (01/05/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

Use the large detergent bottles (300 oz). Fill it with water and use in a garage or shed where water isn't readily available to wash hands and such. The spicket makes it easy to get the water out and it fits easily on a shelf or table. (01/05/2005)

By Chris

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

We wash them out (b)really well(/b) and then fill the dog and cat water bowls that are out side ! (01/05/2005)

By c. shore

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

The lids make good measuring cups. (05/06/2005)

By gator10tx

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

We use the gallon milk jugs in the back yard for bird feeders. We cut out one side, leaving the handle, and then hang them from the tree by the handle on a string or wire. Fill the bottom with bird seed. It allows the birds to fly directly into the jug and feed, but since it is hanging and swinging, keeps the squirrels out. (Although the squirrels have been known to chew thru the string and make the entire jug fall so they could get to it in the past. The wire works better.) (06/03/2005)

By Tushanna

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I teach third grade. I used the lids as bells for our Christmas tree. I spray painted them gold and added a bell inside with a hole in the center to also add a handing loop using gold rope. They turned out great. With the containers, I cut out flower petals to create a flower for a pot. (06/08/2005)

By terry

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

My uncle used all his old jugs as scoops for grain. He left the caps on and cut the bottle into a scoop. At my sisters I made one for the dog and cat food, shich she kept in a large container. (08/04/2005)

By Sha.

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I got this idea from you can cut the plastic to different shapes to make personalized tags for things like backpacks, luggage, etc. I also thought of trying the die cut machine. Some people have them that do scrapbooking but we have one free to the public at one of the schools. (06/07/2006)

By Alicia

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

i want idea to reuse my laundry bottles,and caps for what ever i just think i would like to make some crafts
thanks mamafefe AT (11/16/2006)

By Freda Cooper

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

The bottles are good for disposing of insulin and other needles. After the bottle is full, replace lid, and tape lid on. Check for local regulations to make sure you can do disposal this way. (03/24/2007)

By reikicara

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I use my detergent bottles to make wind spinners for my yard.
I just cut the top and bottom of the bottle off, then cut down the seam lengthways. You now have enough to make two wind spinners. Carefully cut off the rounded sides of the bottle, leaving the flat area that is the front and back of the bottle.
With a marker start in the center of one of the sides and make an ever growing circle until you get to the outside edge. Now with sharp scissors cut on your line. When finished hold up your bottle part, make a small hole at the outside tip, hang with fishing line. You can use a fishing swivel if you have one. Tip: If you have two alike they will look different but match if you use the backside for one and the front side for the other. (07/27/2007)

By Jeanne Whipple

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

Thanks for all your ideas, I'm going to make them into some beautiful colors and use them in many ways. I like the idea of using the pin cushion. Using all color lids and put a bulb in them and make a decorative xmas tree lit up. You can use cans also to do them. Light them up for xmas . Thanks and good luck to all of you mamafefe AT (09/10/2007)


Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I buy the very big bags of cat and dog food-with 4 puppies and 6 cats, we really go through it. I put the food into a well washed and dried laundry container. It keeps it fresh and I don't have to worry about the animals biting into the bags, or it spilling when the kids decide to feed the pets. It stores easier too! My husband and sister thought I was nuts when I told them I wanted to do this, but it has made life easier. (01/01/2008)

By Alicia

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

I want to use old laundry detergent barrels as rain barrels to water my plants. Is this safe if I scrub and clean the barrels well?

By Rumi

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

If you cut the bottom off and turn over, it makes a good funnel for changing the oil in your car. (08/22/2008)

By Jen

Reusing Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles

What I just did was rinse it out really well with water, scrubbing with a bottle washer scrub brush. Occasionally, I would take a sip to gauge the amount of soap left in it and rinsed 2-3 more times after I could no longer taste the soap. I then filled it up and stuck it in my freezer with the cap off. Once it freezes, the freezer will run more efficiently (freezers run better when full), and if you ever lose power or water for some reason, the frozen jug will help keep things cool until it thaws completely after which you have a supply of potable water. (09/17/2008)

By Jeff

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