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


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.

Comments

author
lbrewer42 (author)2017-06-07

Smart!

author
gangil (author)2016-10-09

a very good idea.
Why not apply the Endrüsri.

author
iFix8 (author)2016-06-28

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.

author
heartsparkdollar (author)iFix82016-06-28

I can't help myself....

What did you do with the other one?

author
iFix8 (author)heartsparkdollar2016-06-28

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.

author
CarinH (author)iFix82016-07-13

ROFLMFAO!!!

author
okfuneralman (author)2016-07-11

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.

author
ryanjohnlenz (author)2016-06-28

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.

author
AngeleeM1 (author)ryanjohnlenz2016-07-06

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.

author
Myrian1 (author)2016-07-06

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 :)

author
RastaWife (author)2016-07-05

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

author
MadeByGloria (author)2016-07-05

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

author
JohnD316 (author)2016-07-05

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

author
Danimal22757 (author)2016-06-28

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.

author
Was1x (author)Danimal227572016-06-30

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.

author
EmmitS (author)Danimal227572016-06-28

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.

author
Laral (author)EmmitS2016-06-28

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

author
EmmitS (author)Laral2016-06-29

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.

author
Laral (author)Danimal227572016-06-28

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

author

You've been doing this with spray bottles for years? Impressive! I thought this was a pretty neat idea. Though I do think you make a good point about the silicone tubing--it is much more flexible than standard aquarium hose, which is actually pretty stiff and I'd be surprised if it would make a "U-turn" in the confined space of a narrow bottle.

Have you noticed any corrosion on the fuel tank pickups? I could definitely see (as EmmitS points out) some cleaners being pretty rough on these metals. Nitro fuel is probably pretty 'kind' in terms of corrosion....built in oil!

author
ShackledFreedom (author)2016-06-29

Glass beads. They make some fairly large ones with large holes. Try Michaels or Joann Fabrics. You could drill a hole in a soft rock even. Depends on how involved you wanna get. I imagine a hardware store will have some sort of pvc pipe fittings you might be able to use.

author
Joe-Y (author)2016-06-29

Use brass or stainless nuts.

author
mbonifax (author)2016-06-29

E&C as... Easy & Clever

author
nancybninja (author)2016-06-29

This is awesome! It's a real annoyance and I never thought of this. I wish all the people with so much common sense would post all their ideas. Thank you for putting yourself out there, I appreciate it.

author
nextpt (author)2016-06-29

This is so brilliant that u should sell your idea :), Thank u for sharing :)

author
AnnabellaMarie (author)2016-06-28

Brilliant. Thank you.

author
instructable820 (author)2016-06-28

That is just awesome! You'd think manufactures would have gotten on to this ages ago. It would certainly prompt me to buy a different product, if the bottle had this advantage.

How about using brass nuts instead of stainless? Or dipping them in "liquid handle" type product? Guess it all depends on chemical reactions possible w/ contents of bottle.

Thanks for the idea!

author

Actually. There is a commercial version. About a year after I originally posted this, the "As Seen On TV" people came out with "Invincible." It is a spray cleaner that has this kind of design. Every time I see it in stores, I wish I had patented it.

author
FlavioM2 (author)2016-06-28

The corrosion and other chemical reactions problem can be solved by covering the metal with silicone based glue/sealant. I will certainly do that myself :)

author
RossL2 (author)2016-06-28

I'd try a lead fishing sinker or wrap a few turns of lead solder around the end of the flexible tubing. The lead could be coated with some Plasti-Dip (TM) if desired.

author
Danimal22757 (author)2016-06-28

Brass (copper&Zinc) and bronze(copper&Tin) both, metal alloys of copper, are used on ships exposed to the corrosive atmosphere of the sea. They will form patinas that protect the metals from corrosion. A word of advice, "Try not to eat cleaning compounds." Ammonia and chlorine are both poisonous cleaning chemicals. If you mix Bleach with Ammonia they will react and give off chlorine gas which will, in a high enough concentration, kill you graveyard dead. Silicone tubing is relatively cheap.

author
luiessir (author)2016-06-28

¡¡Muy buena idea!!

author
Laral (author)2016-06-28

This is a very good idea for those of us who lack "common sense".

author
Magzzee (author)2016-06-28

Genius! Thank you so much!

author
chata (author)2016-06-28

Well done

author
IamTheMomo (author)2016-06-28

Stainless steel is considered a non-reactive metal for food-canning purposes, so it much safer than other materials one might choose. Substitutions must be researched before using. Safety first in all things!

author
Lorddrake (author)2016-05-29

a true life hack. well done

author
Lorddrake (author)2016-05-29

a true life hack. well done

author
Glassteapot (author)2015-03-28

This is a great idea and I tried making it, but I wasn't able to get enough suction to pull the liquid all the way up with the bottle in the normal upright position, never mind upside down. Do you know why this would happen? I used a standard aquarium airline tube from petsmart.

author

Check to make sure that you have a good seal between the tubes. What diameter tube are you using?

author
holgerm.murk (author)2014-11-06

This is amazing!

author
Biscuitus (author)2014-10-21

If your nuts are stainless steel, they won't rust very quickly if at all. Stainless has a high chrome content specifically for this.

This. is. brilliant. I am very impressed with this idea. Thank you for posting!

author
paqrat (author)2012-08-02

Very clever idea. Perhaps instead of stainless steel nuts for weight you could use aluminum. It is lighter but I think would hold up better in contact with cleaners. My understanding is the aluminum oxidizes and this layer of oxidation prevents further oxidation. If you use the aluminum I would highly advise against using clorine bleach in the spray bottle. Clorine bleach and aluminum are a potential deadly combination.

author
MoreToastIsGood (author)paqrat2014-08-27

You're right. I'll bet that coating the steel nuts with plastic would fix that problem. Just dip the nuts in molten plastic. Or maybe even paraffin.

author
fzbw9br (author)paqrat2012-08-03

caution using aluminum

aluminum can react with certain chemicals to produce Hydrogen/Oxygen mix which can be explosive

author
parisusa (author)2013-08-30

Great idea! I always pour the glass cleaner out and make a big mess! One caution to All: when I was a house cleaner I thought I'd be clever & switch one sprayer for another. The tile cleaner that foams as it squirts out. Well, the traditional sprayer caused the tile cleaner to somehow choke me - the room filled with a cloud of cleaner - I ran outside until the room cleared! Didn't want the people coming home to find a dirty home and a dead house cleaning girl! So, please keep all tubes/sprayers with their Own chemicals to be safe. It was so scary. I was 19 and Naive! :)

author
Adapaty (author)2012-12-13

Wow that is real y amaizing, i have alwas have trouble with that

author
Mech Tech (author)2012-10-21

brilliant........cheap and best........nice one......creative

author
Natalie Jo Price (author)2012-10-12

Ahhhh YES! Simply clever! I make all my own cleaners in spray bottles and this tip will definitely save me that frustration you get when you're almost done with a job and realize you need to refill. Thanks!

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-09-19

This is awesome! I hate trying to spray sideways and upsides. Very nice improvement!

About This Instructable

203,923views

677favorites

License:

Bio: 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 ... More »
More by DIY Hacks and How Tos:How to Make a Festivus PoleAdd Wings to an Infant's Halloween CostumeBubble Bath That Never Runs Out Of Bubbles
Add instructable to: