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10 Tips and Tricks for Your Spray Bottle

Put your spray bottle to the test!

get water out of copper pipe with spray bottle hose and headFamily Handyman

Spray Bottle Pipe Pump

When soldering a fitting onto a copper pipe, you have to get the water out of the pipe or the solder won’t melt. But removing the water from vertical pipes is tricky. That’s when I grab the spray nozzle from a plastic bottle. I just stick the plastic tube down into the pipe and pull the trigger a few times. It helps to have a small cup to shoot the water into. — reader Dean Debeltz.

staining wood with a spray bottleFamily handyman

Stain Sprayer

Here’s an easier way to stain or seal chairs, lattice or anything with numerous tight recesses. Pour the stain into a clean, empty spray bottle. Spray the stain onto the project and wipe up the excess with a brush or rag. The sprayer will squirt stain into all those tight, hard-to-reach cracks and joints. — Valrie Schuster.

removing ice from a car windshield with a spray bottleFamily handyman

De-Ice Your Windshield

Sick of freezing your tail off while you’re scraping the rock-hard ice off your windshield? Try this cool tip.

Just mix two parts water with one part isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it on your windshield. The ice will melt almost instantly. The alcohol won’t harm your car’s paint but it will remove wax, so try to keep it off waxed surfaces.

spraying cat detergent onto a kitchen countertopCasarsaGuru/Getty Images

Cat Deterrent

You can use a spray bottle to keep the cat off the countertop. One squirt of plain water should do the trick. Just be sure not to overdo it.

checking for leaks with a spray bottleFamily handyman

Find a Vacuum Leak

A vacuum leak can cause a rough idle, high rpm or poor gas mileage, and even trigger a check engine light. Pros find leaks by filling the engine with smoke and looking for wisps of it. But you can search for leaks on your own with an ordinary spray bottle.

Scope out all the vacuum lines under the hood. Then start the engine and spray each connection with a light stream of water. If a connection sucks in the water, you’ve found your leak.

close up male housekeeper hand using spray bottle for cleaning dust on mirror with a spray bottleChainarong Prasertthai/Getty Images

Skip the Bucket When Cleaning

Sometimes moving around the mop bucket only makes more of a mess because the dirty water splashes around. Leslie Reichert, founder of The Green Cleaning Coach and author of The Joy Of Green Cleaning, has a bucket-less mopping technique that works wonders: a spray bottle filled with diluted cleaning solution and a microfiber mop.

spraying a crystal chandelier with a spray bottle to remove dustFamily handyman

Speed-Clean Chandeliers

Skip dusting and use a chandelier cleaning spray.

First, spread a plastic tarp on the floor under the chandelier to catch the drips. Then turn off the light and spray the solution on the chandelier until liquid beads start to run. (You’ll use a lot of spray, but it beats wiping.) The spray rinses off the dust. The solution that’s left evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave water spots.

The spray works well on hanging crystals, but don’t expect it to remove dust from crevices.

curtain rod inside a cabinet for hanging cleaning suppliesfamily handyman

Tension Rod Kitchen Storage Hack

It can be hard to keep spray bottles from falling over and making a mess under your bathroom and kitchen sink. To keep them upright, hang them from a short tension rod in your cabinet.

cleaning leather boots with vinegar and a spray bottleFamily handyman

Get Rid of Salt Residue on Shoes

This hint is especially useful anywhere homeowners and landlords spread salt to clear sidewalks and driveways of ice and snow. Remove that nasty salt residue that collects on your shoes with a simple homemade solution.

Fill a spray bottle with water and add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar. Spray it on a clean cloth and wipe down your shoes. The residue will disappear!

close up of drive by weeding with a spray bottleWega52/Getty Images

Drive-by Weeding

Attach a spray bottle of herbicide to your tractor or lawn mower so when you’re mowing your lawn, you can spray weeds right when you see them. Affix a hook-and-loop strip (like Velcro) in a spot where you can easily grab it for weed control on the fly. Be mindful of your balance as you lean over.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he's been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.