Why do spray bottles stop working and what can you do about it?

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How do you fix a spray bottle that won't spray anymore? The trigger isn't working.


  6 answers
  • Shoshana Shoshana on Jul 18, 2017
    If a bottle sits unused, the tiny opening in the sprayer can clog. Remove the sprayer pump from the top of the bottle and run the spray pump under hot water.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Jul 18, 2017
    Sometimes the sprayer hole gets clogged up, which can be fixed by placing under boiling water for a few minutes. Also, the straw inside the bottle may become unattached.

  • Tammy Tammy on Jul 18, 2017
    I always repurpose squirt bottles from cleaning products, they always seem to work the best with the least problem. I had gotten so frustrated buying squirt bottles and not having them work correctly. I looked for a bottle I liked with a product I knew I would use, for myself it is a nonaresol startch, the bottle fits my hand perfectly. Just clean bottle well before filling.

  • Andy_James Andy_James on Oct 12, 2020

    The glass mist spray I bought for my ginseng ficus plant stopped working, and as I thought I would need to buy another one I tried dripping vinegar into the the pump shaft. This worked!

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 12, 2020

    The operation of a pump spray bottle depends on a spring-loaded plastic piston operated either by a trigger or a vertical pump mechanism. When you pull the trigger or press the pump, the piston forcibly ejects the fluid in the piston chamber through the nozzle, which is usually fitted with a screw-on adjustment cap. The piston automatically retracts after each spray, creating a vacuum in the chamber that sucks more fluid from the bottle though the tube. If your sprayer doesn't work, it's either because the nozzle is blocked, the piston seal is damaged or the inner tube isn't immersed in fluid.

    Unscrew the nozzle cap by turning it counterclockwise a quarter turn and try spraying it again. If the nozzle was too tight, your sprayer may now be working. If not, unscrew and remove the cap and hold it under hot, running water or immerse it in vinegar, then use a pin to poke a hole in any blockage in the nozzle itself. If your bottle contains hairspray, soak the nozzle in alcohol. You may have to unscrew the entire sprayer from the bottle and soak it in vinegar or alcohol if the blockage is severe.

    When you pump the piston and it doesn't retract, the cause is usually a broken or missing spring, but sometimes the spring just pops out of position. The spring isn't always accessible, but if it is, you can usually find a replacement at a hardware store. If the spring isn't accessible or the piston seals fail, you need to replace the sprayer. When the seals fail and the trigger works, but the sprayer delivers very little fluid, you may be able to improve the sprayer performance by spraying vegetable oil through it.


    • Cassandra Cassandra on Nov 28, 2020

      I read your post...makes perfect sense as you seem to have a bit of knowledge about the mechanics of the misting bottles. I was hoping you could answer a question for me... My sprayer of course isn't working. It will pump water into the chamber that hold the spring but it will not eject the water from the nozzle. The little chamber holds water and pressure untill I unscrew it. Any ideas???? Please!!

  • Phyllis Gardner Phyllis Gardner on May 30, 2021

    I hope someone reads this cause it works! Just squeeze the bottle until liquid squirts out. Then try the nozzle. Voila!

    Do it whenever it gets stuck

    • Irsa Irsa on Jan 02, 2022

      im going to try this and very sad about it i got it a few days ago and i dont know what to do😒