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One of the easiest things you can reuse in your home are spray bottles. But cleaning them the right way is highly important. Let me show you how to clean a spray bottle so you can use it for something else without the risk of cross contamination.

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how to clean a spray bottle pin with hand holding white spray bottle

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Not only do reusable bottles cut down on plastic waste, but they can also save you money. The obvious way to save money is by not having to buy new spray bottles every time you need one. Last year’s multipurpose cleaner can become this years succulent mister with the right amount of cleaning and your own labels. But reusing spray bottles can also save you money by allowing you to make your own cleaners.

Making your own diy recipe cleaners for your home is a good thing because it allows you to 1) cut down on harmful chemicals your family is exposed to while 2) also allowing you to personalize scents with essential oils.

dark amber glass spray bottle with black sprayer sitting in a bowl next to a box of facial tissues


Glass spray bottle

There are many different containers you can use as your reusable spray bottle. My favorite are glass spray bottles because they are easy to clean and never break down from the wear and tear of being used over and over again.

It is a good idea to purchase amber glass bottles for solutions that are light sensitive like hydrogen peroxide and anything containing essential oils. Another thing to consider is a shatter resistant bottom on your spray bottle since it is probably going to be toted around your home and set down often.

In the long run, glass spray bottles will last the longest and be the best for your money.

blue gloved hand holding white plastic spray bottle for how to clean a spray bottle post


Plastic spray bottles

I love plastic spray bottles because they are lightweight when I am lugging them around in my cleaning caddy. They are also super cheap to buy and so in theory, you can just clean your spray bottle and reuse it just like a glass container, right? Well, maybe not.

One thing that you need to realize, is that chemicals can leach into your cleaning chemicals when you reuse a damaged or old bottle. When you spray the fine mist of cleaner, those plastic chemicals like BPA, styrene, vinyl chloride, and antimony all get into your home and affect your family’s well-being. [Source]

Also, some chemicals, like bleach, should not be put into plastic because it will eat right through it over time.

stainless steel spray bottle for how to clean a spray bottle post

What about stainless steel bottles

Stainless steel is a great option for some things…like cooking and water bottles…but cleaning products don’t go well with stainless steel.

Because most cleaning products are either basic or acidic, many of them will corrode the stainless steel. This may not happen immediately, but over time if the products are sitting in the stainless bottle, then it could cause rust. And nobody wants to find that one day they are spraying orange rust onto their white grout.

blue spray bottle with white and red lid near a scrub brush squeegee and bowl

Old cleaning bottle

When I say “old cleaning bottle”, what I mean is a plastic one that you have from a store bought cleaner. I know it seems efficient to use that bottle again and again, but those plastic bottles are created to be single-use bottles. So reusing them increases the risk of spreading dangerous plastic chemicals around your home. So when they are empty, please throw old plastic cleaning bottles away.

hand holding white spray bottle with gray label


For those of you that don’t know this, let me shout it from the rooftops! NEVER MIX CLEANING CHEMICALS!!!

Did you know that mixing bleach and ammonia can cause a deadly toxic gas called chloramine? Bleach and alcohol creates chloroform, and bleach mixed with anything acidic releases poisonous chlorine gas!

This is why cleaning your spray bottles thoroughly is so very very important!


Not cleaning your spray bottles correctly can lead to illness, poison and possibly death. So please make sure you do this.

blue bowl with soapy water


  • essential oils
  • cleaning products like bleach
  • diy cleaners
  • vinegar bottles
  • old water
  • oil
  • hair products



  • removable plastic nozzle
  • straw
  • container
  • sprayer apparatus
clear spray bottle with white spray top filled with liquid and oranges and sliced oranges on cutting board behind the spray bottle


1// Remove The Old Label

Before you get the spray bottle wet, you will want to remove any paper or vinyl label you have attached to the bottle. Use either WD40 or Goo Gone to remove any leftover stickiness.

2// Empty Spray Bottle

Remove the top and pour the residing liquid out of the bottle. Then replace the spray nozzle and spray all the liquid out of the hose.

3// Add Soap and Water

Add warm soapy water to the bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously allowing the soap to foam up. Then spray the soapy mixture through the hose and nozzle until you feel that it is well flushed. Scrub the inside of the bottle with the bottle brush scrubber before dumping the soapy water. Then rinse the bottle with hot water, remembering to also spray water through the hose and nozzle to rinse.

***(for a smaller jar, you can purchase tiny bottle scrubbers like this that are used for cleaning things like stainless steel straws.)

4// Take Apart the Spray Nozzle To Wash

Add some Castile Soap and warm water into a bowl. Take apart the spray nozzle and place the pieces into the soapy water. Swish them around for a while, letting any dried up bits of cleaner dissolve or soften. Using a small scrub brush or toothbrush, make sure to scrub any solid pieces off all the soaking parts…especially the nozzle. If you find that there are dried pieces lodged in the holes of the nozzle, us something small like a needle or toothpick to get the debris out. You know all the debris is out if the water spray is coming out of the hole and is strong.

5// Sterilize If Necessary

If you are cleaning a glass spray bottle, then you can sterilize the bottle in the dishwasher on the “sterilize” setting. ***Sterilizing plastic could cause it to melt.

6// Put It Back Together

For best results, allow all the pieces to dry or dry them thoroughly with a clean towel, then reassemble it and it is time to add your new substance.


What is the best way to clean a spray bottle?

Castile soap and warm water with a scrub brush are the best way to clean a spray bottle. For more thorough instructions, please see the step by step above.

Can I reuse a spray bottle that had bleach?

If the spray bottle was glass and contained bleach, then yes, follow the instructions above and reuse it. However, if the spray bottle is plastic, I would say don’t do it. The reason is that if there is any cracking or damage to the inside of the plastic container, then you may not get all the bleach rinsed thoroughly enough. Therefore, adding something new to the bottle is dangerous.

Can you put Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle?

Yes! And I love this. One of my ultimate go-to cleaners is diluted Dawn dish soap and water. My favorite multipurpose cleaning recipe is: add about 1 tsp of dawn and then fill with water up to the fill line of a 750 ml spray bottle.

But if you are trying to add straight Dawn dish soap to a spray bottle, it will probably clog up the sprayer unless it is very diluted.

How do I make my spray bottle mist again?

Try removing the part of the spray bottle where the mist comes out. If you can remove the actual nozzle, that is even better. Then soak both pieces in hot soapy water to try to dissolve whatever is clogging the spout. If soaking alone does not work, try using a scrub brush to dislodge the debris or a sewing needle or toothpick can be stuck into the hole to try to break up the piece of debris.

How do you sterilize plastic bottles without bleach?

Sterilization normally refers to using drastic heat or chemicals in order to kill off all bacteria and other contaminants. For that reason, I do not recommend sterilizing a plastic bottle due to the potential harm that these chemicals or heat can cause to the plastic and actually cause more harm than good. If you absolutely must sterilize a plastic bottle, try using 70% Ethanol or Isopropanol ONLY AFTER the bottle has been thoroughly cleaned of all other chemicals.

Is it safe to reuse plastic spray bottles?

I feel that everyone should own glass spray bottles for homemade cleaners. But plastic bottles are okay to use as well, they are just not as easy to clean and sterilize.

plastic spray bottle near and orange and a towel for how to clean a spray bottle post

Final Thoughts On How To Clean A Spray Bottle

Whether you are using it for your cleaning diy recipes, outdoors for bugs, or even for misting your indoor plants, make sure you know how to clean a spray bottle properly. It makes all the difference in being able to reuse your glass spray bottles in a lot of different ways.

Happy Cleaning!

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