Spray Bottle not Working (3 Reasons & Do This FIRST!)


If you’re reading this article, we’re almost certain you have a spray bottle in your home. Such a household component is helpful for wiping off glass and cleaning dishes

However, your spray bottle might fail to function, thus affecting your daily chores. This is normal since the bottles aren’t designed for reuse. Luckily, with proper maintenance, you can extend the lifespan and improve the efficiency of your spray bottle.

Keep reading to understand spray bottle problems and fixes. 

3 Common Problems with a Spray Bottle

Before we take you through spray bottle problems, let’s first consider its working principle. Generally, the spray bottle functions on the principle of pressure difference. The bottle has a piston linked to the hose in the bottle. 

When you press the trigger, high pressure is created inside the bottle, which is higher than the atmospheric pressure. The high pressure pushes the liquid through the nozzle. Therefore, if you press the trigger and no liquid comes out, there is a problem that needs an urgent fix. 

Check out the likely problems below:

Blocked Nozzle

This is a common problem for spray bottles filled with things that can harden, such as hairspray or oil.

Since the nozzle is small, it’s easy to get blocked by any form of hardening. Luckily, there are several approaches you can employ to unblock the nozzle. 

Tube Not Immersed In Liquid

The sprayer is designed with a plastic tube that reaches the bottle’s surface. The purpose of the tube is to suck the fluid from the bottle through the nozzle.

We have noted that the tube functions effectively when the liquid is full. However, it sometimes curls up, forcing the end to protrude from the fluid, especially when its level is low. Consequently, no liquid gets sucked through the nozzle. 

Broken Spring

Sometimes, the problem might arise from a broken spring. After pumping the piston, it might fail to retract back to position. This is a complication that requires an urgent fix. 

3 Solutions When a Spray Bottle Doesn’t Work

No problem is too big not to have a solution. You can still make your failed spray bottle useful again, no matter the problem. Follow the guidelines below:

Unclogging The Bottle

As we mentioned, the most likely cause of the spray bottle problem is a clogged nozzle. To correct the situation, apply warm water to the nozzle until it opens completely. 

We noticed that warm water isn’t very effective at removing clogs. Alternatively, you can use white vinegar. Put the vinegar in the spray bottle and apply it through the nozzle. Allow the vinegar to settle for about 30 minutes. 

Vinegar has acid that burns through the clogs, thus opening up the bottle. After the clogs open, rinse the bottle with water. 

If the problem persists, apply a needle in the release mechanism. This will physically lose any available clog and allow the fluid to come out easily. 

Increasing The Tube’s Length

Well, we’ve already seen that a spray bottle might fail to work due to the tube not being immersed fully in the fluid. This happens when a small amount of fluid remains in the tube. The only solution would be elongating the tube to reach the fluid. But how?

Check the tube size and walk into any hardware store to make a purchase. You can then cut the purchased tube to the required length and fit it into the spray tube. You can add a metal nut and elastic where the old and new tubes meet. This way, the tube won’t curl to any side of your spray bottle. 

Replacing A Non-Functional Piston

What if the problem is a non-functional piston that doesn’t retract thanks to a missing or broken spring? In this case, find a replacement from any local hardware shop. 

Sometimes, the spring gets displaced and thus rendering the piston dysfunctional. For such, just adjust the spring to its normal position, and the spray bottle will function well. 

If the piston seals fail completely, just replace the spray bottle. We found the bottles to be affordable on Amazon

Preventing Spray Bottles from Clogging

We know how prevention is more cost-effective and generally better than cure. You can save more money and time by preventing a clog than waiting to unclog it when it happens. But how can we execute the preventive measures? 

Nozzle Cleanliness

There is no more effective way to prevent clogging than keeping the nozzle clean. Prevent dirt, built-up product, or grit from getting into the nozzle. We recommend cleaning it at least after every spraying exercise. 

Store The Bottle Well

How clean the bottle remains after use depends on how well you store it. Generally, storing it in a clean place, such as a cabinet, will keep it clean. Ensure you store it with a nozzle cover or cap on. 

Purchase Smaller Sized Spray Bottles

If you don’t use your spray bottle frequently, there is a high chance of getting clogged. Therefore, purchase a small-sized one, so it doesn’t sit around your house for long. With a large-sized one, it might be around for even more than a year, thus accumulating dust. 


We understand how annoying it gets when a spray bottle fails to work, especially when you need it most. It doesn’t mean that all is lost. Since we already know why your bottle might have failed to work, you can solve the problem by unclogging the nozzle, increasing the tube’s length, or replacing the piston. 

However, before you take any action, troubleshoot the problem to be sure of the cause. Always remember preventive maintenance is the best approach.


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