Micro Dispensers … Use What You Need and Save What You Don’t

When I was little, I remember my Stepfather giving me a lesson in frugality that involved a tin of ‘Keens’ Mustard.  He pointed out that Mr Keen never got rich on the mustard that people ate.  He made his fortune from the mustard that they threw away.   I’m sure that ‘Pop’ would be pleased to know that his little pearl of wisdom has stayed with me my whole life … and so I pass it on to you.

Many of the products that we buy and that we use come supplied in packaging that is inappropriate and which causes us to use far more of the product than is necessary for our purpose.  A lot of these products can be decanted into more suitable containers, often ones that we have salvaged from other products.  A couple of examples:

Do you use those metered dose nasal inhalers …. or know somebody who does?   Instead of throwing the empty dispenser away, clean it, remove the label and fill it with an alternative product.  Be sure to label it appropriately.


I use these containers for hand sanitizer and I also fill them with dish washing detergent concentrate.  They are so tiny that you can carry them in a coat pocket or a handbag and don’t even know they are there ….. until that moment when you want to wash your hands somewhere there is no soap  … or where there are no washup facilities at all.

A couple of squirts of detergent concentrate is enough to thoroughly wash your hands.  Just add water.  Five or six squirts of hand sanitizer is enough to kill any bugs on your hands.  And one tiny dispenser filled with either product lasts and lasts.  You will quickly realize that what you get from a normal ‘dispenser’ will generally deliver several times the quantity that you actually need.

One word of warning though.  A squirt of soap concentrate up your nose REALLY stings!  …..  I know 🙂

DSCF0948Another container that used to be readily available is the ‘needle bottle’.  These are a small, plastic bottle with a nozzle formed by a blunt needle …. kind of like a hyperdermic needle, without the sharp point.  These bottles were supplied, filled with refill ink for bubble-jet printers. While I’m not sure what products might currently be supplied in these containers, you can actually buy empty ones for a dollar or less on Ebay.

I find these to be just wonderful for two purposes.  On is as a micro-oil can.  Most lubrication jobs really only need a drop or two of oil in just the right spot.  Most oil dispensers deliver far more than is needed and work on the principle of flooding not just the component that needs lubricating, but the entire device to which it is attached!  Fill up one of these tiny needle bottles with machine oil and you can dispense exactly what is needed, exactly where it’s needed with minimal mess and no fuss.

needle Bottle 2These bottles are also great for dispensing two-part epoxy resin.  Most repair jobs only need a tiny quantity of this stuff to provide a proper bond.  I use epoxy resin to create durable heads on tiny fishing lures, one at a time.  I only need a couple of tiny drops for each lure (fly).  Using needle bottles, I’m able to dispense one tiny droplet of each part of the adhesive.  I mix it with a toothpick which then serves as the applicator.  A couple of small tubes of epoxy adhesive lasts me forever.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ‘disposable’ containers that can be salvaged to do duty in other roles.  Its good for the environment and, in the case of metered dose sprayers and needle bottles, you can actually save yourself a lot of wasted product over time.

I hope this post will prove helpful to you.

Andrew Caddle 2015-01-19



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