How can I reuse or recycle cleaning product “shakers”?

We’ve had an email from Jan C:

Is there anything I can do with carpet freshener bottles? The ones with the holes in the top for shaking. It’s too chemical perfumed for anything I want to shake out (like flour.)

There is a strong Reduce angle here – like many strongly perfumed items, you’re just introducing chemicals to mask the scent and it’s not only not cleaner, you’ve just introduced a whole new bunch of chemicals into your environment/lungs. (If you really want to use it, why not make your own from bicarb of soda? Add a few drops of a pleasant smelling essential oil if you want a scent – although you have to leave it to dry if you do that.)

There are other cleaning products with shakers too – bleach powder is one that immediately springs to mind and while it’s still really-bad-for-the-environment bleach, it’s arguably slightly greener to use powder than liquid bleach as the water has been shipped around considerably more efficiently (in pipes to the point of use rather than on a lorry).

As Jan says, you probably wouldn’t want to use such chemically-saturated/perfumed shakers for, say, dusting your cakes with icing sugar – but are there other reuses for them? If the holes are quite big, you could use it for lightly distributing rock salt/grit in the winter (rather than dumping it in large splats as is common when pouring from a bag). You could also use them for distributing grass seed.

Any other suggestions?

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3 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle cleaning product “shakers”?”

  1. Nome says:

    I agree, we can do without products like these.

    But for the ones you have so far, I can see all kinds of gardening uses. Salt on slugs, other repellents such as ground eggshells, onto the soil, seed over large areas, vermiculite over seeds when sowing

  2. Nome says:

    Ooh, and flour onto caterpillars (then spray them with water – they’ll get all gunked up, fall off your plamnts and die).

  3. Cipollina says:

    It could be used for the baking soda when you got ickiness in your carpet. Dust, scrub, vacuum!

    Or it could be used to dust your roses with ashes (that have been sieved and separated from lumps of coal and such) against fungi.

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