How can I reuse or recycle laundry detergent/fabric softener bottles?

 We’ve had an email from Lisa, asking:

How can I reuse laundry detergent and fabric softener bottles?

I have a bunch piling up by my washing machine – the ones you pour, not with a spout on the side.

We’ve bulk bought fabric softener in the past and I’ve decanted it into a old, small bottle to make it easier to use – the giant bulk bottle could be stored out of the way in the cellar and the little bottle just refilled once a month. You can do the same thing with big boxes of powder – with handles, those pouring bottles are far easier to carry and use than a big box. They are also moisture tight so if the bottle is dry when you pour in the powder in the first place, it’s less likely to cake than in a cardboard box.

That’s only two bottles though – so what else can you do with them? Carolien Adriaansche makes them into cute creatures and many of the bottles that I see are nice colours or even pearlised, so you could use the plastic to make things like bold jewellery.

Any other suggestions?

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11 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle laundry detergent/fabric softener bottles?”


  1. Lynsey says:

    If they have the small spout inside the bigger spout (I hope you know what I mean!) then you can use them as a handy watering can both inside and outside the house. You could also use them for pouring screenwash into the car if you don’t have a funnel – particularly the ones with a smaller spout as they would have less splash!

  2. Nicole says:

    You could fill them and use them for weight lifting

  3. Amberjet says:

    I found this project on Instructables.com for using detergent bottles for garage storage. I’m sure they can be used for other means of storage as well.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Garage_Storage_from_the_Laundry_Room/

  4. Lisa says:

    Love the garage idea, Amberjet!

  5. Seiko says:

    I have my own green living website called EcoWabi. We actually featured in one of the newsletters about what to do with the empty big plastic bottles.

    Solution: Cut the bottle in half and use it as a dog waste scoop! Those bottles come with a handle, so it’s easy to scoop!

  6. Laundry365 says:

    Well you could just send them off to be recycled! Thats what most people do these days :)

    But if you want to re-use them you could try and make so sort of sculpture out of them (if you have the time and pastions it takes). That way you can do three things, 1) recycle, 2) make something thats looks nice and interesting, 3) sell it like artists do lol.

  7. Nastia says:

    Remove the lid, attach long stick through the opening, make sure it fits tide. Wrap bottle in a rag and use to wipe the sealing.

  8. Belinda Ortega says:

    Where can they be taken to be recycled, not all recycling centers take detergent containers. It seems like such a waste

  9. Hi, I recycle household plastic items to make educational activities for young children. I wish you lived near me. I would take all your laundry detergent bottles. Love getting plastic recyclables that I dont already have. I have made several activities using laundry detergent bottles. Check out my blog and let me know what you think. you can also email me.

  10. cappenzz says:

    The bottles with the removable pour spouts are great for storing seed for bird feeders. I clean them out well, so they don’t taint the seed. The tight lid excludes insects, and the spout directs the seed easily into narrow feeders. You only need a few bottles to contain a large bag of seed, so you can offer extra bottles to other birders in your town.



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