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The Organized Laundry: 3 Rules for Decanting Detergent, Plus 5 Containers to Buy

The act of decanting doesn’t have to be limited to the kitchen and bath; decanting in the laundry/utility room can also yield some significant aesthetic improvements. Take laundry detergent, for example—whether it’s in liquid, powder, or (new) pod form, it likely comes in unappealing packaging. Here are three simple rules for decanting laundry detergent—and our five favorite containers to get started with.

1. Choose a container based on detergent type.

Pair the right container with the right kind of detergent. For powdered detergent, borax, baking soda, bluing powder, or non-chlorine oxygen bleach, go for durable glass containers, lidded enamel bins, or a wastebasket lined with plastic (even better, layers of compostable green bags). For liquid detergent, stain removal, and white vinegar, glass containers with super-secure lids, spouts, or spray tops work best. And for those ultraconvenient detergent pods, just about anything goes—as long as the pods are kept dry.

Remodelista Storage Book Kitchen Tray Photo Justine Hand
Above: An enamel tray as a sink-side container for dish soap, a sponge, a small scrub brush, and a dish holding dishwasher detergent pods. Photograph by Justine Hand for Remodelista, from Remodelista: The Organized Home and Falcon Enamelware.

2. Decant prepackaged detergent or find a bulk resource.

Ditch the unsightly boxes and bags your detergent comes in (be sure to recycle, if possible). Alternatively, research a local grocery, hardware, or utility store that may offer bulk powder or liquid detergent. Companies such as Common Good and the Simply Co. partner with US stores to provide liquid and powder detergent filling stations for customers with empty bottles.

Solveig Fernlund Laundry Room Photo by Matthew Williams Stying Alexa Hotz
Above: A system for better-looking detergent starts with an olive oil container called a fusti. See more at Aha! Hack: Olive Oil Container as Laundry Detergent Dispenser. Photography by Matthew Williams; styling by Alexa Hotz for Remodelista: The Organized Home.

3. Label.

Label to avoid mix-ups. When labeling a container filled with liquid detergent, consider weatherproof labels (available at Uline or on Amazon) and waterproof or permanent ink.

+ Five to Buy

For Powder Detergents:

Laundry Powder Bin with Scoop
Above: The Enamel Retro Laundry Powder Tin is $37.50 at Somethings Country and comes with a black enamel scoop. We also like the Washing Tablet Box in chalk-colored steel from Garden Trading in the UK (£17.50)
Ikea Knodd White Bin with Lid
Above: Turn a paper waste bin into storage for powdered laundry using something such as Ikea’s Knodd Bin, shown in white but also available in gray, for $14.99. Another option comes from Garden Trading, the Mini Bin with Nickel Handle – Clay in steel for £25.

For Detergent Pods:

Ikea Korken Glass Top Clamp Jars
Above: Ikea’s line of Korken Jars are reliable and come in a variety of sizes with clamp closure and white rubber seal; $3.99 for the two-quart size, shown.
Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill Jar with Glass Lid
Above: The Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill 1-Gallon Storage Jar has a glass lid; $9.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

For Liquid Detergent:

Sansone Olive Oil Fusti Stainless Steel
Above: Our liquid detergent container of choice? The Sansone Olive Oil Fusti in Stainless Steel ($89.99 on Amazon); just be sure to dilute your detergent some to ensure proper flow through the spigot.
For more decanting ideas all over the house, see our posts:

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