How to Make a Spray Bottle That Works in Any Direction/Position

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Posted in HomeCleaning

Introduction: How to Make a Spray Bottle That Works in Any Direction/Position

About: My name is Jason Poel Smith I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius

Spray bottles are iconic household items. Whether you are spraying cleaners on a counter top or misting water on your plants, they are quite useful but they have some limitations. They can only operate when the end of the suction tube is submerged in the liquid. They have no problem as long the bottle is full and held upright. But if the fluid gets low or if you try to spray something at an angle, the sprayer might stop working. So, I figured out a simple modification that will let them function in any orientation.

By replacing the hard suction tube with flexible tubing and adding a weight to the end of it, the suction tube will naturally fall to the lowest point of the container. This will allow end of the tube to stay submerged regardless of how the bottle is positioned. Here's how to make it.

Step 1: Materials

Materials:
Spray Bottle
Flexible Tubing with 1/8" inner diameter (such as aquarium airline tubing)
5 x 1/4" Stainless Steel Nuts (or other weight)
Scissors
Glue (optional)

Step 2: Cut the Tubes to Length

Cut the original suction tube on the spray bottle, leaving about 1 inch sticking out past the screw cap. Then cut the flexible tubing so that it is about 1 inch longer than the cut portion of the original suction tube. 

Step 3: Attach the Two Cut Tubes

The suction tube on a typical spray bottle has an outer diameter that is between 1/8" and 3/16". So if you use flexible tubing with an inner diameter of 1/8", the two tubes should fit together tightly and make a good seal without any adhesive. Just slide the flexible tubing onto the rigid tube until they are firmly held together. You will want at least 1/4" of overlap.

If the two tubes do not make a good seal, you can use glue or caulk to help hold them together. If you need to use adhesive, first make sure that both tubes are clean and dry. Apply a thin layer to the bottom half inch of the rigid tube. Then slide the flexible tubing onto the rigid tubing. As you do this, slowly twist the tubes to help spread the glue evenly. You will want them to overlap by at least 1/2". Let the adhesive completely cure before continuing.

Step 4: Attach the Weight at the End of the Suction Tube

The last part to add is a weight on the end of the suction tube. I chose to use 1/4 inch stainless steel nuts because they were readily accessible and because they conveniently fit on the flexible tubing without any adhesive. Admittedly, these are not the ideal objects to use as a weight for this kind of design because they will eventually rust. So if you use steel nuts as your weight, you will want to remove the sprayer assembly after each use so that it can dry out. Alternatively, if you have access to something that is small, dense, and won't react with the liquid, you may wish to use that as a weight instead.

The number of nuts that you will need to use will be determined by the stiffness of the flexible tubing. You want there to be enough weight on the end of the tube so that when the sprayer is turned upside down, the end of the tube will hang near the level of the screw cap. Twist nuts onto the end of the flexible tubing one at a time. After adding each one, turn the sprayer upside down and check how low the end of the tube hangs. This is the minimum level of liquid that will still submerge the end of the tube when held upside down. Continue adding nuts until you are satisfied with this level. I used five nuts in my prototype.

Step 5: Finished Spray Bottle

Finally, fill the bottle with liquid and screw on the sprayer assembly. Then try it out. You can spray up, down and at any angle. You can even hold the bottle upside down and it still works. 

Occasionally the weight or the tube may get stuck in one position. If this happens, just give the bottle a gentle shake and the weight will fall back down to liquid.

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    131 Comments

    Simple, I like it. I hate having to get the right angle on the spray bottle when it starts getting low.

    a very good idea.
    Why not apply the Endrüsri.

    I have an idea for the 'weight' on the end of the tube -- the ball from an old mouse. Just drill a hole large enough for the tube to slide in. It will probably need some glue.

    I'll let you know if it works, or I find something else, but it should work well. It shouldn't bang around so loudly.

    I also think that I can get plenty of cheap, lab-grade tubing at the local college warehouse where they sell old supplies.

    3 replies

    I can't help myself....

    What did you do with the other one?

    Since you asked... The mouse was from Flint, Michigan, and had lost one to the ill effects of lead in the water. The roaches, as would be expected, seem to have weathered the lead pollution better than any other life form because they have developed lead skin; they can literally plow head first through old drywall and they are very hard to kill. The mouse had broken teeth from trying to chew on them.

    I hope that was the extent you're interested in mouse balls.

    ROFLMFAO!!!

    It is apparent that many of you need a tutorial on stainless steel - all stainless steel is not created equal, cheap stainless steel is magnetic just like regular steel and yes it will rust and corrode. High quality stainless steel is non-magnetic and very inert. I know this because I am a funeral director and keep a magnet to show my families the inherent quality in my caskets. So take a small magnet with you to Lowes or Home Depot and check out their "stainless steel" nuts for quality, I'm betting that most of what you find can be picked up with a magnet. You get what you pay for, quality stainless cost more.

    I wonder if you could use a two-part 'putty-type' epoxy? I think some of the heavier-duty ones are quite dense and are probably less reactive than metals. Might have to get a bit creative in getting it to stay fixed to the bottom of the tube--perhaps building in a bit of a bend at the end of the tube so that the epoxy weight can't slide off as easy. One could insert a temporary wire into the end of the tube as the epoxy hardens.

    1 reply

    My first thought was why not coat the stainless steel nuts and also hold them to the bottom of tube by coating them in a resin epoxy. Then you wouldn't have to worry about rust OR having them come off the tube. Just be careful to not accidentally seal the hole at end of the tube with it.

    I've used this before and used a small stone for the weight. Just a minute on it with the dremel or similar and no worries. Thanks for reminding me to do this again :)

    Oh how I need to do this . . . you just made my day :-)

    I love this very useful idea. Thank you!!!

    Nice idea renewed again. Saw this several years ago and forgot all about it. Hope I can remember to make one.

    Go to a R/C model airplane hobby shop. They sell a weight for a fuel tank pick up made from brass or bronze. They also sell silicone tubing fuel line. Inverted flight still requires engine to receive fuel. I have been doing this for years. Thought it was common sense.

    5 replies

    Or, I have bought tubing at a mower repair shop especially for use into the gas tanks of small yard equipment. Believe me, it resists gas. It is about $3.00+ per FOOT however in Central Florida here, partly because it is imported. I will try to check out a Hobby shop for this though. l've used this trick with success before, & the stainless nuts fit perfectly. I was surprised when they rusted, even in window cleaner.

    brass and bronze are copper alloys and react with chemicals to form poisonous compounds. Stainless steel is much less reactive, and rust is not nearly as poisonous.

    What poisonous compounds exactly? I suspect they would just develop an oxide patina that would prevent any further reactions.

    The patina is a mixture of poisonous compounds, most of which are poisonous, and most dissolve in water. This would include copper oxide, copper carbonate, copper sulfate, copper chloride. If the fluid is acid, like vinegar, it will react with the patina, leaving clean copper and poisoned liquid. All copper compounds are poisonous.

    Silicone would be nice but not necessary. Stainless would be better than brass or bronze for reasons mentioned in posts.