You Made That Detergent Bottle Into a What?

By Marisa Belger

I know that reusing is a key component of the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): I’ve turned my old jelly jars into coin collectors, my ripped jeans into stylish summer shorts, and my tired T-shirts into rags for household cleaning.

But what about a plastic laundry-detergent bottle? Could something so basic have a useful second life? With a little research and a sharp pair of utility shears, I discovered that laundry detergent bottles can make …

Excellent Storage Containers
Simply cut off the top of the bottle (and wash well to remove any soap residue) and you have a safe spot to stash, well, anything. Sticking with the laundry theme, I use the containers to store clothing pins (for outdoor drying) and dryer sheets, but they also make excellent containers for arts and crafts gear, or hardware like nails and bolts.

Superior Scoops
Slice off the top part of a detergent bottle so you have just the bottom with the handle left. Now you have an all-purpose scoop for anything that requires scooping -- dirt, sand, dog food, you name it!

Fantastic Funnels
Remove the bottom of a detergent container and, presto! You have a sturdy funnel. Just turn it upside down, remove the cap and start funneling.

Photo Credit:

Marisa Belger’s work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and, where she wrote a column about eco-friendly living. She was an editor at and collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget. She is the managing editor of and frequent contributor to Green Goes Simple.

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Posted on May 11, 2011

I use them as landfill, for the dump to hold onto. Eventually after a very, very long time nature will take it apart. And humanity should have moved on from fossil fuels and petroleum based products, and invented efficient sub quantum molecular waste disposal/recycling so why worry?

detergent jug reuse

Posted on April 19, 2011

I cut off the tops leaving the handles in place, thoroughly wash them and use them to gather berries or veggies from the garden.  You can actually tie them to a belt as you go out collecting blackberries.  Hands free to gather as many as you can.  It also makes it easier for the grandchildren to carry as they pick beans or peas.


Posted on April 17, 2011

have been using plastic jugs small to gallon for years some you can use as planters for tomatoe to what ever flowers. just use your imigation

Laundry detergent bottles.

Posted on April 18, 2011

I use them as receptsclers for used motor oil to be takent the hazardous waste recycler. Gather enough to make the trip worthwhile in money and fuel. Filled with water makes them noce weights to hold tarps in place in winter. with the bottom cut off, they do make nice funnels. I use juice bottles for water storage and for emergemncy i8n the two cars I own.

detergent bottles

Posted on April 17, 2011

You can cut the tops and the bottom make few holes (small to let extra water drain and fill with dirt and use it for plants (small flowering plants or cactus.. jairajusam


Posted on April 17, 2011

These are good ideas, but like another poster pointed out, a household can only use so many funnels and scoops, and meanwhile we're drowning in plastic crap. Here's another idea: If you live near a co-op, support it! Most co-ops allow you to buy liquid laundry detergent in bulk, so you could actually reuse that laundry detergent bottle as a ... laundry detergent bottle. If you've never been to a co-op and are apprehensive, don't worry--just stop someone in the aisle and ask how things work. We're friendly and will be glad to help you out. Cheers to everyone who's doing their part to make the world a better place. It isn't always easy or intuitive, but it can be done. :)

laundry containers

Posted on April 13, 2011

I'm a diesel mechanic, the uses that i've found for these containers is that they are great for storing clean fuel and oil. The containers that I favor the most are the ones with the spout on the end, makes pouring a lot easier with little or no mess to cleanup.

Laundry detergent bottle re-use

Posted on April 12, 2011

Cut a hole on one side, and mount onto the bottom or side of a kitchen cabinet shelf or workshop shelf with a pair of screws, with a large washer on each, inserted on the inside. Fill with folded or compressed plastic or paper grocery bags to be re-used for various purposes, or workshop rags, or other such compressable materials. Enclose a dozen or more such empty, tightly sealed detergent containers into a hollow wooden frame and use as a flat raft for fishing or other boating ventures, or as part of a pontoon bridge to span a short gap over water. Load empty jugs with cat litter or rock salt and store in car trunk for winter emergencies. Use to collect waste oil when changing car engine oil, to be recycled at collection stations. Store smaller amounts of garden fertilizer to carry along when you are 'spot fertilizing' where a broadcast spreader is not practical.

Laundry detergent

Posted on April 10, 2011

Buy it in a box & recycle !

laubdr yplastic bottles

Posted on April 8, 2011

thanks for a very good ideas on laundry soap bottles for other uses when done.

Me and my "Little Brown Jug"

Posted on April 5, 2011

How painting the jug brown, and than cut the top out fairly good size, now the best idea of all. You and your "LITTLE BROWN JUG" are a pair. I use mine when I travel for a " POTTY" and you fine quite useful if you are far inbetween rest stops, and a lot of roads have none of those things. Or caught in a traffic jam, which I have it is so nice and handy to have a little brown jub. Take it from me and a lot less than those you buy.

Uses for detergent containers

Posted on April 1, 2011

These are real handy when camping... empties with push button can be filled with clean water to wash hands and rinse off other items.Just sit it on the end of a sturdy table. (You can even sit other stuff on top of it.) Rectangular shape makes it easy to pack and it is easy to carry when full... no spilling. Also, handy to store non-potable water for emergencies like flushing toilets in case of emergency.

reusing plastic bottles

Posted on April 1, 2011

Good scoops for garden mat'ls as the article says. I've also heard of using them for garden irrigation: wash them out good to remove all detergent, punch some holes in the sides and bury them up to the neck (spaced) apart. You can just refill with water every so often and it seeps out through the holes to keep the plants watered.

Store Latex Paint

Posted on March 21, 2011

We use empty detergent bottles to store leftover latex paint. Whenever we need to touchup a room, the paint is easy to access, mix (shake that jug) and reseal. Better than messy paint cans.


Posted on March 22, 2011

They also make excellent bird feeders. Wash well first then cut out an opening in the front of the jug. Hot Glue the piece of plastic that was cut out over the opening to make a "cover". Hang from a tree and birds love it. They perch on the opening or go inside also.

reuse laundry detergent containers as...

Posted on March 21, 2011

Laundry detergent containters. I make my own laundry detergent, 5 gallons at a time so I use my old containers to hold my homemade detergent.

solar energy

Posted on March 17, 2011

I have saved all the bottles I've used the past 30 years and filled with water. I then constructed a rack to place them on my roof. The water heats up and then gravity fills to my "hot water tank" and wha-la, hot shower for free!  (Downside, winter time, fall and spring)


Posted on March 17, 2011

Cut the top off, clean very well, fill with dirt and plant something.

Reuse plastic soap bottles

Posted on March 16, 2011

With the top cut out, pour paint into them and use them when painting a house or other large surface. Same goes when the fence needs to be stained. Brushes fit easily into the large opening and dried paint can often be removed from the inside by flexing the bottle until the paint breaks loose.


Posted on March 14, 2011

You can also use them as targets for shooting practice.

reusing plastic bottles

Posted on March 14, 2011

How many funnels and scoops does one household need? Next are we to to build our homes from them? I have a better idea - stop producing plastic bottles that don't breakdown easily. Buy your laundry detergent in a paper box. The pulp industry is sustainable for the near-medium term.

uses for detergent bottles

Posted on March 7, 2011

You can wash them out refill with water or sand and use them as dumbells to workout with. Wouldn't it be nice if we could petition detergent companies to design the bottles into a more flexible use shape like piggy banks or sandbox toys.

Uses for detergent bottles

Posted on February 9, 2011

I washed my thoroughly and use it for watering plants.... It's awesome and holds plenty of water...

cut energy bills.

Posted on February 6, 2011

We use small electric heaters placed close to where ever we are in the living room ,bathroom & bedroom. At bedtime we have a down comforter and several blankets to keep us warm. We warm the bedroom a few mins. before we go to sleep, but we don't sleep with the heater on all night.

uses for empty detergent bottles

Posted on February 8, 2011

1. Fill with sand and use to hold tarps on boats and yard furniture. 2. Seal tighly and use as a semi-disposable float for crag lines and fish nets. 3. Keep one in boat with bottom cut off and use as an auxilary bailer.

Old News

Posted on May 26, 2011

For a Army Veterans in his 80's, this is a rehash of my childhood days. I don't want to go back to a tougher lifestyle. Lets use our natural gas, coal, oil, etc. If we run out I'm sure mankind will find other ways. Scientist tell us we have hundred of years before this will happen, so sit back and enjoy life. Mankind will prevail with few problems. Always have and always will.

datergent container recycle

Posted on May 28, 2011

I wish this had been my idea. I obtained it from a gardner magazine.About three(3) years ago . Have shared it wilth all my garden buddys. Drill small holes in the lid,wash throughly, then keep filled to water container plants. Saves water, keeps from drgging heavy hoses and prevents overwatering .

Simple way to reduce your footprint

Posted on June 11, 2011

We all have gas... you can help offset your "emmissions" at a website called FartGreen. It makes a great gift for your kids and helps them understand how this little understood greenhouse gas - methane - impacts our environment.


Posted on June 26, 2011

I use them, and old bleach bottles to help weigh down my pool cover over the winter. FIll with water, attach and hang with good string, and there you have it: a tight as a drum pool cover - an a little more resistant to wind picking it up too .

plastic bottle tops

Posted on June 29, 2011

Some art teachers use the plastic scoops from dry degergent, and the lids from plastic detergent bottles in their classes. Mixing paint, for masks, etc.

The Green Scoop You Made That Detergent Bottle Into a What?

Posted on June 30, 2011

Cut off the tops, leave handles and viola, great organizers for in daycare facilities. Color coded already!

tops of laundry bottles

Posted on June 30, 2011

the tops with the lids can be used for opened bags of rice , or beans , maybe popcorn, put the plastic thru the hole in the lid,   and put the cap on, as long as the plastic goes over the threads, it will help you use just the amount you want, and does not spill as easy, i also use pop bottles, just make sure you wash  and scald the lids, to get all the soap off of them.

Used Syringes

Posted on July 3, 2011

I use liquid laundry detergent bottles to store used insulin syringes.When full, clearly mark with black felt marker that the bottle contains used syringes and tape the cap in place with masking tape or duct tape, then dispose of in the trash.

recycling detergent bottles

Posted on July 9, 2011

My friend uses them to make heads for scarecrows.

plastic jugs

Posted on July 9, 2011

What ever happened to biodegradeable jugs? They were made with a corn base, that were supposed to biodegrade in half the time of a "regular" plastic jug? Not the total solution, we know, but a step in the right direction!!

Dominoe Effect

Posted on July 10, 2011

We all litter, including the corporations that make these cool plastic gadgets. The plastic ends up all over the planet and while it is decaying, the small wafer like pieces are breathed in and also settle on top of the water (oceans, lakes, streams, sea's, etc.), the water creatures eat this instead of plankton. Also these cute little wafers draw in light a little more magnified, they also provide a slight insulation barrier. Oh so neat, we now can practically watch the glaciers shrink. Technology is so grand!!! How's that for re-using??

laundry bottle caps

Posted on July 14, 2011

I use the more sturdy caps to cut bisquits ,as they are easy to handle and are very firm

Halloween Costumes

Posted on July 20, 2011

I cut the indentation out of the handle area and use them for little kid halloween Alien helmets. They work so good that the grays have taken 3 of my children to the planet MOXO-1 only to return them after finding out there illegal Aliens.


Posted on July 25, 2011

We have used these detergent bottles for bouys and boat bumpers on the lake for years. Enjoy!

clothespin hanger thingie

Posted on July 26, 2011

My mom used to cute a small slit in the bottom part of the handle (so it would slide through the clothesline) and then a hole in the front top part and stuff the thing with clothespins. She then hung the bottle on the clothesline and was able to slide it back and forth as she hung clothes on the line. The hole was big enough to reach her hand into to grab another clothespin as she needed. I made one for myself once I was on my own.

Gigantic delivery

Posted on August 6, 2011

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

Recycling Plastic Soap Bottles

Posted on August 7, 2011

What a ridiculous premise. If you are concerned about plastic then don't buy it.'Buy the cardboard containers.

detergent jugs hold messy items

Posted on August 10, 2011

Cut a hole in the side opposite the jug's handle and continue the hole up the side thru the pour spout. When properly sized and shaped, these cuts allow one to stand a toilet plunger or toilet brush in the jug, w/ the plunger's/brush's handle secured in the slot and protruding out the pour spout.


Posted on August 11, 2011

That was some good ideas on how to recycle liquid soap containers. Many people don't realize hospitals can take care of used magazines as many have carts that go around to patient rooms and also their waiting rooms can always use more magazines...especially uptodate ones. I volunteer at a hospital in Sebring, Fl and have 5 neighbors giving me magazines from time to time.

had a laugh!

Posted on August 15, 2011

we rinsed out a large laundry soap jug with the spout verrrry well, then filled it with blue kool-aide... we took this to the family reunion and let the kids drink it via the measure cup! ROFL! we had all the old aunt freaking out, it was soo funny. the kids were waiting in line to drink it. try it at the next cook out! : )

had a laugh!

Posted on August 15, 2011

we rinsed out a large laundry soap jug with the spout verrrry well, then filled it with blue kool-aide... we took this to the family reunion and let the kids drink it via the measure cup! ROFL! we had all the old aunt freaking out, it was soo funny. the kids were waiting in line to drink it. try it at the next cook out! : )

had a laugh!

Posted on August 15, 2011

we rinsed out a large laundry soap jug with the spout verrrry well, then filled it with blue kool-aide... we took this to the family reunion and let the kids drink it via the measure cup! ROFL! we had all the old aunt freaking out, it was soo funny. the kids were waiting in line to drink it. try it at the next cook out! : )


Posted on December 4, 2011

Most cities have recycling centers...some where they will actually give you money for these recycyling materials...The large jugs will get you more than water bottles...the plastic water/soda/juice bottles, ALL of your plastic bottles can be recycled...saving even more petroleum...

ice melt holder

Posted on January 31, 2012

My family washes them and lets them dry out completely and we store our ice melt in them. Have one in each vehicles trunk and it beats having the bag fold over and spill all in one lump on the sidewalk. With the funnel top on the laundry container it sprinkles out nicely with just a shake of the wrist.

Hilex Bottle

Posted on February 23, 2012

I've used the 1 qt. Hilex bottle on door knobs as a deterrant for little kids who try to open the Basement door. I cut the one Qt. bottle (the one without the handle), about 3 inches down from the opening---as perfect as I could, all the way around the body of the bottle, then make a cut from the spout of the bottle, to the end of the opening I've cut. I then pry the bottle apart, slip it over the door knob, and voila, it puts a stop to the little ones from twisting the door knob, and trying to get downstairs. The lil buggers are upset, but, I'm content that they won't get hurt. Masking tape around the spout---after you've put it on the door knob-----helps keep it in place.

Hi there!

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Hi there!

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Hi there!

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Hi there!

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Detergent jug store and pour small bird seed.

Posted on March 7, 2012

After carefully washing the jug out, store fine bird feed such as thistle seed from the larger supply bag in it. It is easy to carry to the feeder and the spout allows you to pour the seed into the small opening of the feeder without spilling a lot of the food on the ground. With the jug capped, insects also cannot get into the food and multiply destroying the seeds.


Posted on March 27, 2012

Do you find the plastic edges are sharp after the top is cut off to make a scoop? Just wondering! Jackie @


Posted on May 27, 2012

Hmm- I'll have to try that. Usually I use the little cup-lid and add some hot water to the botlte, diluting it and rinsing it all away, then pour the whole thing into the wash for 1 more load, but if your way gets me two ...then..... yippee. with 6 daughters you will now believe how much laundry I do.


Posted on May 28, 2012

Love the deal but I'm lazy when it comes to getting courtmeps tied to our printer. So I made some instead. About $3 and an hour gives you 10 gallons detergent. You can spend $10 on Borax, Washing Soda, and Laundry Soap, which comes in a bar shape, (like Rosa from Fiesta, that pink one from the 99c store or Fels Naptha). Grate all bar soap or 1/2 the big Rosa one, melt in maybe 8 cups hot water (I use a 5 gallon bucket), add 1/2 to 1 cup washing soda, whisking all the while, add 1 cup borax, whisking all the while, then fill the bucket with water, keep on whisking. It will gel fairly quickly. Either bottle up or leave it set overnight. Stir again then fill jugs, 1/2 gel mixture, 1/2 cool water. I use 1 gallon vinegar bottles (which I use with a little store bought fabric softener) or old laundry bottles, even old milk jugs. Shake well before using and use about 1/2 cup per load.

This year, you'll wrap presents in: