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Life Hacks

17 Brilliant Ideas for Reusing Plastic Bottles for Cooking, Cleaning, Pets and So Much More!

You won't believe how much time and money a throwaway can save you!

If you’re like most people, your recycling bin holds plenty of empty plastic bottles. But before you toss another bottle on the pile, consider this: You can use those 2-liter soda bottles, single-serve water bottles, milk jugs, bottles of olive oil and more to solve a host of household hassles. Keep scrolling for 17 genius uses for plastic bottles, from entertaining a restless pup to preventing food waste, warding off messes and more!

1. Uses for plastic bottles: Soothe achy feet fast

You spent the day running errands and now your tootsies are tired and sore. The simple trick doctors recommend to soothe tender feet: Freeze a bottle of water, then roll it under your arches for a minute. Pause for another minute. Repeat for 10 minutes. The cold temperature combined with the rolling motion will ease inflammation and tightness. Aah, that’s better!

Related: The Best Way To Dodge Foot Pain From Standing All Day

2. Easily separate an egg

A foolproof method to separate egg whites for the cake you’re making for the church potluck: Crack an egg into a bowl, then squeeze an empty plastic water bottle over the yolk and release. Squeezing the bottle creates a vacuum effect so the yolk gets sucked up, leaving the whites behind.

Related: This Garlic Egg Yolk Trick Makes it So Much Easier to Separate Yolks from Whites

See Youtuber M3Top put this tip to the test in the video below:

3. Uses for plastic bottles: Cut down on water bills

“One innovative way to repurpose spare plastic bottles is by transforming them into water-saving devices for toilets,” shares Mitch Kenney, CEO of Sveagle Plumbing. “By filling a plastic bottle with water and placing it in the toilet tank, you can displace water volume, reducing the amount used per flush. This simple yet effective hack not only conserves water but also lowers utility bills.”

4. Help boots hold their shape

Keeping boots upright is one of many uses for plastic bottles

To keep your tall boots from falling over in your closet, leaving behind an unsightly crease in the material, try this: Before placing the footwear in your closet, slide an empty 1-liter plastic bottle inside each boot. The bottles will help the shoes keep their shape when you’re not wearing them. 

5: Uses for plastic bottles: Prevent dry foods from going stale

Instead of buying pricey storage containers to keep pantry staples like rice and beans fresh, use a recycled plastic water bottle. Simply wash and dry a bottle thoroughly, then use a funnel to fill it with food and screw on the cap. The clear bottle allows you to see what’s inside at a glance, and the cap forms an airtight seal that keeps the ingredients fresh!

Related: The Tension Rod Shelf Secret — and 8 Other Genius Ways To Organize a Small Pantry

6. Easily corral project tools

Holding tools is one of many uses for plastic bottles

When you’re working on a project, it can be a pain to have to lug around a bulky toolbox just for the few tools you need. Instead, stash them in a DIY tool tote you can take with you while you work. To do: Cut the top third off of a 2-liter plastic bottle and wrap duct tape around the bottom of the bottle to help reinforce it. Then fill with the tools needed. Problem solved!

7. Uses for plastic bottles: Outsmart doggy boredom

Creating a dog chew toy is one of many uses for plastic bottles

Cooler weather mean your active dog has less time out in the yard — and being cooped up lands her in trouble, especially when she chews on things she isn’t supposed to! To keep her occupied indoors, create a fun noisemaking chew toy. To do: Cut the leg off an old pair of jeans, then slide an empty plastic water or soda bottle in the center. Knot the jeans on both ends of the bottle and cut tassels, then toss the toy to your pal. She’ll love the crinkling sound the bottle makes as she chews on it, and the denim is sturdy enough that she won’t chew through the material. (Click through for easy ways to wash dog toys.)

8. Hang a picture frame perfectly

plastic olive oil bottle laying on top of a picture frame, doubling as a level: uses for plastic bottles

The shadow box you created is sure to be a cheerful addition to your home office, but you can’t find your level to help you hang it. The save: a small plastic bottle of olive oil. Simply lay the bottle on its side on the top of the frame. You’ll know the frame is straight when the air bubble settles in the middle. If it isn’t straight, just adjust until the bubble moves to the center. No olive oil on hand? A plastic water bottle works just as well! Simply fill three-quarters of the way with water, screw on the cap and lay it on the shelf. When the water is level, the shelf is too. Genius! 

Related: Gallery Wall Ideas: Design Pros Reveal Little Secrets That Deliver Impressive Results

9. Uses for plastic bottles: Sidestep plastic bag chaos

You like to keep extra shopping bags on hand, but there’s no good spot to store them and you don’t want to buy one of those plastic bag organizers. The fix: Cut the bottom off a 2-liter plastic bottle and remove the cap. Stuff plastic bags through the cut-off bottom. The bottle will keep the bags contained so you can pull one out of the bottle’s opening when needed.

10. Collect food scraps

Collecting food scraps is one of many uses for plastic bottles

If you usually hold a garbage can under the counter to collect food scraps but still end up with a mess on the cabinet drawers and the floor, try this instead: Make a basket that sits right under the counter by cutting a third off the top of a large plastic bottle and leaving a skinny strip attached. Then close the strip inside the cabinet drawer. The basket stays close to the mess, so when you’re done, you can just sweep any scraps right in!

11. Uses for plastic bottles: Make craft time mess-free

Rainy afternoons are perfect for painting with the little ones in your life. The only problem? They often end up spilling the paint, leaving a mess for you to clean up. What can help: Turn empty bottles into mini paint palettes for each artist. To do: Carefully cut the bottom off a 1-liter plastic bottle (file any sharp edges with an emery board). Then pour a bit of each paint color into the indentations in the plastic. The mini palettes will keep each of the colors contained while the kids paint. 

Related: How to Get Any Kind of Paint Out of Clothes

12. Ensure indoor plants thrive

You’re headed out of town for the weekend and you don’t have anyone to water your houseplants. To make sure they don’t go thirsty while you’re gone, create a self-watering system using a plastic water bottle. The simple how-to: Fill a clean, empty bottle with water, then nestle the neck of the bottle into the plant’s soil. Repeat the process for each plant. As the soil starts to dry out, it will gradually draw liquid from the bottle, ensuring your blooms get the water they need while you’re away. (Click through for more ways to water your plants while you’re away)

13. Uses for plastic bottles: Refill a bird feeder

Easily refilling a bird feeder is one of many uses for plastic bottles

Watching local birds enjoy the feeder in your yard is such a pleasure. Trying to fill the feeder when it runs out of seed? Not so much! Either the bag is too heavy, so it’s too hard for you to carry, or it’s so full that you end up spilling half the seeds on the grass when pouring. An easy fix? Cut the bottom off a plastic water or soda bottle and scoop seeds into the cut end, then remove the cap on the other side and use the spout as a funnel to pour the seeds into the feeder.

Related: How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard + One Thing To *Never* Feed Them

14. Banish annoying fruit flies

Notice that fruit flies are invading the fruit bowl on your counter? To keep them at bay, create a trap. To do: Fill a 1-liter plastic bottle halfway with apple cider vinegar; add two drops of dish soap and place the bottle near the fruit bowl. The pests will be attracted to the sweet-smelling vinegar and will fly inside the bottle to get it, but the sticky soap will keep them from leaving. 

Related: Home Remedies To Get Rid of Flies: Pest Control Pros Reveal The Best Choices

15. Uses for plastic bottles: Catch umbrella drips


Catching umbrella drips is one of many uses for plastic bottles

Whenever you get home after a rainstorm, it seems like your umbrella drips all over your entryway floor. To prevent puddles, cut off the top section of an empty large plastic bottle and remove the cap. Then place the top of the bottle, inverted, inside the bottom. When you set an umbrella inside, all of the water will collect in the bottom bottle to be dumped. Bonus: Since this elevates the umbrella, it won’t be sitting in a pool of water, so it will dry faster. 

16. Create a makeshift funnel

Tonight’s dinner recipe calls for a funnel and you don’t have one. The in-a-pinch replacement: a plastic water bottle. Carefully cut off the bottom, then place the mouth of the bottle where you need it. Pour contents into the bottom of the bottle. Easy! 

17. Uses for plastic bottles: Fashion a DIY sprinkler for less

Making a DIY sprinkler is one of many uses for plastic bottles

On hot days when the little ones visit, you wish they had a sprinkler to play in. No need to buy one! “You can use leftover 2-liter plastic bottles to create DIY sprinklers!” says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. Simply cut three 1″-long slits in one side of an empty plastic 1-liter bottle. Secure the hose nozzle to the bottle top with duct tape, fastening it tight, then turn on the water spigot. “It should come through those holes and spray up, making a fun sprinkler for your kids, pets, (or yourself) to run through,” he adds.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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