Genius Ways To Repurpose Your Empty Laundry Detergent Bottles

The phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle" was first introduced in 1970 to encourage environmentally friendly practices. Since then, it has become a phrase to live by as landfills grow larger every year. Reusing single-use materials reduces pollution like greenhouse gases caused by the manufacturing process. By repurposing an item, you give it value once again and replace the need to buy something new. Plastic bottles are extremely versatile and can be transformed in many ways. Thick plastic laundry detergent bottles are no exception. So, we're sharing these genius ways to repurpose your empty laundry detergent bottles. 

Many of these easy ways to repurpose plastic bottles require few tools, are beginner-friendly, and can be completed in an afternoon. Repurposing an item for another need is not just eco-friendly; it's wallet-friendly. Crafting an item means you needn't buy it. So whether your goal is to save money or the planet, consider trying one of these creative upcycling projects. 

Build a bird feeder

There are many ways to make a DIY bird feeder using a plastic bottle. You only need a utility knife for a simple design. Carefully cut out a rectangle large enough for a bird's head. The hole should be about halfway up the bottle — so you can fill the bottom half with seeds. Once you've poured that birdseed into the bottle, screw the cap back on and wait for winged friends to arrive. 

Store paint

Storing leftover paint saves you from running to the store when you need to touch up a wall. Yet paint cans aren't always the best solution for storing excess paint. If you've already opened the can, it's difficult to get the airtight seal back. You can pour that extra paint into a detergent bottle instead. Not only will it be protected from drying out, but it'll also make it easier to pour. This idea requires nothing but a clean and empty bottle.

Cat litter scoop

Laundry detergent bottles often have handles, and those handles come in handy. You can craft a sifting cat litter scoop with just a drill, a 5/64 drillbit, a marker, and scissors. To start, draw a guidance line on the bottle to map out where you'll cut. It should start at the bottom and gradually rise to the top.

Watering can

Laundry detergent bottles make excellent watering pails. Because they often have a handle, pouring is a breeze. Transforming the bottle into a watering can is as simple as drilling a few holes. Once you've thoroughly cleansed the bottle, take a 5/32 drill bit and make holes in the cap. Ensure all holes are drilled through so the water can pour out of them. Fill the bottle with water and screw on the cap. You'll be able to water your garden just as if you were using a store-bought watering can.

Plastic bag dispenser

Reusing plastic bags is an environmentally conscious practice that makes the most of single-use plastic. However, rogue bags can quickly become a hassle and make a mess. Storing bags inside a container keeps them out of the way and ready for use. To construct a makeshift bag dispenser, use a utility knife to cut a ring just above the bottle cap. Then, cut the bottom off so the bottle is open on both ends. Finally, turn the bottle upside down and stuff it with plastic bags so you can pull them out through the smaller hole.


There's no need to buy expensive kettlebells or hand weights when you've got empty laundry detergent bottles. Fill them to the brim with water or sand for a weighted feel. Adjust the amount to suit your needs. Then, use them as you would traditional weights. If the handle size permits, you can slide two bottles onto either side of a metal bar for a custom barbell set.


Did you know that plastic laundry detergent bottles can be chic? All it takes is some metallic spray paint and pebbles or river rocks. Choose a plastic-specific spray paint in metallic silver or gold and coat the bottle until it has the desired look. Then, drop pebbles or river rocks inside the bottle. The stones will give the piece a weighty feel and make it seem more luxe and less like a laundry detergent bottle. Add flowers for a natural touch, or display the piece on its own as a stylish sculpture. 

Plant pot

If you've got a plastic bottle, you've got a planter. Simple planters can be achieved by cutting the top off a bottle and adding drainage holes to the bottom. However, plastic is a versatile crafting material so you can get creative. For example, Shweta's Creations on YouTube transformed a detergent bottle into a beautiful swan planter. With just a utility knife and some decorative paints and markers, she created a one-of-a-kind statement piece and decorative planter.

Magazine holder

When cut in half, detergent bottles make simple yet effective magazine storage. You may want a select few to grace your coffee table, but too many books or magazines contribute to a cluttered feeling and disorganized appearance. Storing back issues in a DIY basket keeps them accessible but out of the way. This is a great solution for older lifestyle magazines that may feature recipes and crafts you want to try.

Decorative lamp

Crafting custom decor makes your space truly personal. Abyu Lighting takes detergent bottles and creates animal lamps full of personality. You can create similar pieces with paint, hot glue, and a light source. Decorate your animal as you'd like, and leave a hole in the back for a light source. When selecting a light source, ensure that you buy LED lights that will be safe to use with plastic. 

Toilet brush holder

Laundry detergent bottles often have a shape that's perfect for hiding a toilet brush. Make one by first marking the vertical halfway point on the back of the bottle. Then, cut out a rectangular section from the back. Cut down to the marker and leave about ¼ inch on either side. Trim the top to make it uniform and finish with a coat of paint for that decor look. 

Beach bucket

Have you ever returned to your car after a beach day to find that you've somehow brought back a shoreline's worth of sand? Fix the issue with an upcycled detergent bottle or pod container. If you make small holes in the bottom, you can toss sandy items inside the bucket and let the grains fall through the holes on the way back to the car. 

Winter salt spreader

When snow piles up overnight, it's time to break out the ice-melting salt. However, dealing with the large bags is arduous even on a temperate day, let alone in below-freezing temperatures. Make it easier on yourself by filling a detergent bottle with the ice melt for better distribution. By drilling a few holes in the bottle cap you can spread the salt quickly without struggling with a heavy bag. 

Mini garbage can

Tidy up your car with a slim trash can. For this revamp, you'll need a box cutter and a permanent marker. First, draw a ring around the widest part of the top of the bottle. You will want the opening large enough to throw trash into. Then, carefully trace the line with the box cutter and remove the top section. Add a plastic bag for easy disposal when the trash can is full. 

Tool shed storage

Plastic is light and easy to carry, especially when there's already a handle. You can store heavy, loose items in modified laundry detergent bottles. Doing so will help you tote the contents from place to place. This is especially helpful for hardware that could fall and scatter. Customize the bottle to meet your needs. It may be as easy as filling it and setting it aside. Or, you may want to cut it in half to have a wider opening for your hand when you reach for supplies. 

Refill it

The easiest way to reuse a laundry detergent bottle is to refill it with liquid detergent. While this isn't repurposing, it does keep single-use plastic bottles from the garbage. There are several options for refills, including online retailers like Grove Co., which ship detergent concentrate. Depending on where you live, you may have a "zero waste" store or refill station in your area. Websites like Litterless allow you to search for stores near you.