Tired cleaning lady on white with spray bottle that won't spray!

Some (But Not All) Spray Bottles are Designed to Fail

Many commercial household cleaning products—glass and window cleaner for example—routinely come in a bottle with a hand sprayer. And we love that, as long as it works the way we expect that it should, which is not for long.

Tired cleaning lady on white with spray bottle that won't spray!

First, there’s the problem of a bottle design that makes it impossible to spray out every last bit of product because that tube doesn’t go all the way to the bottom. Or the mother of all frustrations: When the nozzle clogs up or for some other reason the thing just refuses to spray. Grrrrr!

There’s no way to fix that bottle design, but with a little diligence, you should be able to get the sprayer unclogged and working again for at least as long as it takes to use up the product (hot water, a paper clip to clear the nozzle, taking it all apart).

Meant to be disposable

The sad truth is the nifty sprayer that comes with that window cleaner or all-purpose cleaner is meant to be disposable. It was designed to die about the time you need to buy more cleaner. Think of these sprayers as you do cottage cheese containers and screw-cap soda bottles. They’re considered single-purpose, one-and-done. Know this going in and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration.

The solution is to stop relying on cheap, disposable sprayers. Understand the difference between disposable and quality spray bottles, then choose to own a few of the latter.


A bottle of wine on a table


I’m fairly certain I’ve purchased and tested just about every spray bottle known to the civilized world. Some have triggers that are painful to use, others rely on annoying pump action. Some bottles are too small or the grip is so poorly designed, I can’t even get my hand around it and lift the bottle at the same time.

Some sprayers fall apart way too soon or become hopelessly clogged, which drives me mad. But rest assured not all are troublesome. I’ve narrowed the field to two—large plastic spray bottles and smaller glass spray bottles, both of which in my opinion are 100% awesome.


Best Inexpensive Spray Bottles


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  1. Ann Marie says:

    Between 2016 and 2018 the ratings for the Harris Professional Spray Bottles on Amazon have drastically declined. How current is your product review? Harris also has a wide-mouth sprayer and would like to know if you have tested those as well. Thank you.

  2. Jenn says:

    Just to say, that I’ve purchased Spraymaster spray bottles through Amazon and Home Depot and they are the best sprayers I’ve ever used. They are guaranteed for 5 years! But I’ve had one for much longer and it still works perfectly. I’m curious about the Harris ones now, because of what you say about them being pre-pressurized.

  3. Lydia M. Phillips says:

    I wanted to purchased these amber sprayers, but I’m reading that the main complaint is the sprayers themselves, clogging and not offering spray options. I’d like your response.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      I don’t respond to reviews on Amazon. What I can tell you is that I have used this sprayer for a long time and have had no problems. I do make sure to clean the filter quite regularly to make sure it doesn’t get clogged. Hope that helps

  4. Beth Sherrill says:

    So happy I just bought the Amber bottles, I got the recommendation from my local library and they came a week ago. Nice to know I have your suggestion too!

  5. Karen MOSER says:

    I like to get what I pay for so we have 2 wall dispensers in our shower for shampoo and soap. When you cut the bottle open you’d be amazed at how much you can’t get out of the bottle any other way. It doesn’t take long for the dispenser to pay for itself. It has the added bonus of portion control. I can tell my kids 2 or 3 pumps is enough.

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