I am loving all the wonderful ideas and conversations on this forum! I am hoping you can lend me your creativity and enthusiasm. I am looking for ideas or advice on a shampoo container to refill from bulk.
I know that others have had luck with no 'poo and bar shampoos and other approaches, but right now bulk liquid shampoo works best for me. I have been refilling an old plastic shampoo bottle and that works fine for utilitarian purposes. However, I don't like the way it looks. Aesthetics are important for me and help me stay motivated in my steps toward a greener life. I find Bea inspiration in part because of the design beauty of her solutions.
I think that Bea refills a glass bottle re-used from vinegar. That sounds pretty, but I don't think I want to use glass in the tub -- I am too klutzy. A metal container would be nice -- but I worry about rust. Nearly all metal containers that I have used in my bathroom or seen in other bathrooms got rusty. I was thinking that maybe a klean kanteen bottle might work, since they are stainless steel. (I know this is not necessarily the greenest option due to the resource intensive process used to make stainless steel, but maybe I can find a used one). I don't think there are any pumps that would fit a kleen kanteen but maybe I could pour it out? Not sure how well that would work.
Any ideas? Any particularly successful utilitarian / aesthetic hybrids in your bathroom or other areas?
Hi, Amelie. Great to see this post, I thought I was the only one searching everywhere for beautiful and functional refillable dispensers for bulk shampoo and conditioner. I think Bea uses stainless steel pump dispensers in her bathroom (you can see a picture of them in the Sunset magazine spread) and refills them with bulk shampoo in the vinegar bottles. I've seen a similar (same?) dispenser at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I also reuse the vinegar bottles to transport bulk shampoo, but I haven't figured out how she manages to refill the dispensers easily. It's difficult to squeeze that last bit of conditioner out when it's in a rigid glass bottle.
I've run into the same issues you've experienced with the metal pump dispensers. They rust really easily, even the ones labeled "stainless steel." This is probably because only the bottle is made of steel and the rest is a mix of different metals. I also don't like how many of them are just plastic containers/pumps encased in a metal shell. A Klean Kanteen might work. You could use the sport cap (which has a pull-out spout), but it would not be as convenient as a pump dispenser, unless your conditioner has a liquid consistency.
For me, what is working out best are these metal and glass dispensers from Anthropologie (it's the "Pure and Good Hand Soap" with dispenser, in case the link doesn't work). No rust or problems with the pump clogging in the five months that I've used them. I too was initially worried about using glass in the shower, but I set them on the floor instead of in a shower caddy. The pumps also fit onto the vinegar bottles (in case the glass bottle ever breaks), and I've been alternately filling either the original bottles or the vinegar bottles with bulk shampoo, then attaching the pump onto the filled bottle. (I actually prefer the look of the vinegar bottle with the metal pump.)
Another option I've been looking at is the SimpleHuman wall-mounted dispenser. Yes, it is made of plastic, but it is also reusable, durable, and nice-looking. Hope this helps.
Thanks for such a nice reply. I love the anthropologie bottles -- that may be a good option! I like that the pumps fit the vinegar bottles too. The plastic pumps on the liquid soap bottles I have been reusing don't fit. I googled metal dispenser pumps and found places that sell just the pumps -- marketed to potters who make containers out of clay. They are about 2-5 dollars each so this may be another option to use with re-used glass bottles.
I feel reassured that others are having success with glass in the shower. It still makes me a little nervous ... I wear glasses so when I am in the shower I am both blind and naked -- a vulnerable state for the non-graceful handling of slippery glass! I have some old ikea drinking glasses that have a cork sleeve (think a prettier version of a beer cozy). I was thinking that maybe I could make something like out of an old corkboard that to fit around a glass shampoo bottle. That would make it less slippery and give some protection.
My boyfriend is a welder and I asked him about the metal bottles and rust issue. He said that all metal eventually reacts with water, even stainless steel. It is essentially a losing battle. He knows a lot about metals, but I still wonder ... what about medical stainless steel? I don't believe that rusts. But perhaps he is talking about long, archaeologic time periods. That would be like him, actually! I'll have to get some clarification. He did mention that some metals do not rust but get a patina, like copper, so perhaps that would be aesthetically okay.
My next aesthetic project is coming up with a better system for my cloth kleenex ("freenex"? ;)). I have a bunch of vintage hankies and have folded them into an old kleenex box. I want to find a nicer, more substantial box and some nice method of collecting the dirties.
As Bea pointed out, this is definitely a venture that can nurture creativity!
Thanks again for nice reply. It is so fun to have a chance to talk over the details with like-minded folks!
Are you sure there is no plastic lining?
All the stainless steel pumps I have seen have plastic inside. I use ceramic pumps in all my bathrooms counters and showers that I refill from a bottle of castile soap. We all converted to no-poo (baking soda and lavender or lemon infused vinegar) so there is no more shampoo in our home, but I am pretty sure that ceramic will work with shampoo as well. You could just refill a bottle and then pour it in the pump of your choice.
I've bought a glass pump with a metal pump at Ikea some years ago, and it did not last long. The metal started chipping. It was not even used in the shower... I was so disappointed.
I was having a similar problem and really didn't want to buy new bottles...it seemed counterproductive to zero waste. I went to the thrift store and found reusable soap dispensers for $0.60. After a quick pinterest search, I decided to spray paint a chevron design on the bottles so it matched my design with an old bottle of paint. I'm thinking of measuring how much liquid fits on the dispenser and then just refilling the conatiner directly at my co-op. Hope that helps!
my friend makes pitchers with lids that have a rubber ring to hold the lid in place, and you can gently pour a little out of it for your shampoo.
i know that most people use them for salad dressing or oils or whatever, but she gave me one as a hostess gift and all that I could think to use it for was my vinegar for my hair washing (I just do a vinegar rinse 1-2 times a week). I put vinegar in the ceramic pitcher, and then pour it over my head.
But I could imagine that you could
She buys the natural rubber rings at a canning supply store. I bet you could find a potter who could create a design for you that would work. Mine is even dimpled as if you are squeezing it, rather than having a handle which could easily break off.