Repurposing Laundry Detergent Containers Into Useful Objects

detergent box tote 1bRecently the folks at Seventh Generation gave me a challenge! They had seen my Recycling Cereal Boxes post and wanted to see what I could do with their laundry detergent boxes!  Oooo….I love a challenge…and THIS particular challenge was right up my alley!

Since I make all my own laundry detergent I asked them to send me some of their product so I would have the boxes to work with. I have to say…even though I am obviously a proponent of DIY laundry detergent, I also realize that not EVERYONE who reads this blog is going to do it. If you are not in the mind-set or in the position to make your own…I can highly recommend this stuff. The first thing I noticed was the delicious smell!  Their powdered laundry detergent is a delightful citrus and lavender scent! But despite the yummy smell…it did a really good job and since it’s free of optical brighteners and synthetic fragrances, I felt pretty good about using it.

It also comes in this 100% recycled paperboard box that I had been challenged to find a way to repurpose. hmmmm.

detergent box tote 1

Since I already had holiday gift-giving on my mind…the first thing that came to my mind was fashioning it into some sort of gift bag/tote. At my Annual Family Christmas Party and Prime Rib Dinner I like to give my little grand nieces and nephews little gift bags to take home and I figured this was a great opportunity to kills two birds with one stone. :-) I’m all about efficiency! (And did I mention I love a challenge??)

detergent box tote 25b copy

Here is what I came up with. This detergent box tote bag is actually VERY sturdy and could be used for something much more substantial when just a few favors and presents…but for now this is what I’m going with.

Here is a step-by-step look at the very simple process I came up with for making a LAUNDRY DETERGENT BOX into a TOTE BAG:

detergent box tote 2

1. Cut the top off of the box.

detergent box tote 7b

2. “Paint the bottom and one side of the box with Mod Podge and adhere a standard sized piece of scrapbook paper (12 in by 12 in).

detergent box tote 9b

3. Repeat on other side of the box.

detergent box tote 12b

4. Fold the ends in like you’re wrapping a Christmas package and apply more Mod Podge to hold in place.

detergent box tote 17b

5. Cut slits in the four corners of the excess paper at the top of the box and fold down inside, again using more Mod Podge to hold in place.

6. At this point, depending on how you plan on using these boxes, you can skip to step 7, but if you want a more finished INSIDE, simply cut more pieces of matching scrapbook paper and adhere to the inside with more Mod Podge.

7. The finishing touch to this box is adding the handles. I think it really MAKES the tote, and it’s very simple to do.  Just requires a little “muscle” when wielding the hammer.

detergent box tote 29

8. Add grommets (following instructions on the package from the hardware store), two on each side of the box.

9. Thread nylon rope, one piece on each side, and tie a knot to hold in place.

A few notes:

I just kept adding Mod Podge as I went along, as needed. I dried completely clear and helps to really reinforce the box. Plus, if you have lots of bubbles in the paper, don’t worry about it. It’s a detergent box tote! It’s not a Coach satchel. :-)  Most of the bubbles will go away as the Mod Podge dries and becomes taut.


For an animated look at the process of creating this project you can go to:   Seventh Generation Holiday .gif Guide


RX supplies storage 4b

When Seventh Generation sent me the detergent boxes…they also included some of their Free & Clear: Natural Laundry Detergent Packs. They are nifty little packets that you simply drop in the washing machine. No measuring, no guesswork, no waste. I like that. I ALSO liked the possibilities for repurposing that these clear containers promised. ESPECIALLY when I saw how easily and cleanly the labels came off the containers! ALL OTHER CORPORATIONS TAKE NOTE: if you make your labels easier to take off…we all win!!!  (Stepping off soap box now.)

After I discovered how easy Seventh Generation had made it to take the labels off…I simple HAD to do something with these containers as well. After thinking about it for all of 30 seconds I knew EXACTLY what I could use these for!  For months I had been frustrated with our storage system for the insulin pump supplies we have to keep on hand for No. 2 son.

RX supplies storage 9b

With a few simple printed “labels” I created, problem solved!  Everything is in its’ place and the clear boxes make it easy to see what’s inside each container!

THANK YOU Seventh Generation for helping me to solve a vexing problem AND get ready for my upcoming holiday party!  Not to mention providing me with a very fun and inspirational challenge opportunity!


Seventh Generation wants to give one lucky reader the chance to try out their laundry products, including their Natural Laundry Detergent, Natural Laundry Detergent Packs, Liquid Laundry Detergent and Natural Oxy Stain Remover.

All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment below with your favorite laundry tip!

Good luck!

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  1. A Elliott says

    Would love to have some of the 7th gen laundry products! My favorite laundry tip is VINEGAR in the fabric softener dispenser of the washer. I’ve been doing it for a couple months and my clothes have never seemed so clean. At the same time I started doing this, I also quit using fab softener sheets in the dryer, switching to felted dryer balls. 2nd fave laundry tip! Both ideas came from things I learned from your site or wanderings from there. Thanks!

  2. R Townsend says

    I would love to try the Seventh Generation Laundry products, because I am all about using natural products free of chemicals and toxins. I am a home soap maker dedicated to making our children’s lives less toxic. I was unfamiliar with Seventh Generation until I read your blog. Great work with the totes. BTW, I also repurpose product packaging and like you .. love a label you don’t have to fight!

  3. S. Morgan says

    My tip would be to pretreat any spots you see prior to washing. If the spot does not come out after washing, do NOT put it in the dryer – that will set the stain. Instead, try another method of pretreaing the spot after allowing the garment to air dry. (and I agree with the poster above…Vinegar for the win!) Thank you for hosting this giveaway!!

  4. jackie frizzell says

    I also use white vinegar on those hard to remove greasy spots on kitchen towels or dark cotton shirts that I have laundered & dried and then see a dark spot of the shirt. I usually spray the spot with spray-n-wash AGAIN and then rewash adding white vinegar to the wash cycle.

  5. Carolyn says

    My favorite tip would have to be using Dawn dish detergent on stains. I have found that some stains that were being stubborn to come out finally came out after treating and scrubbing some Dawn onto the area. I would love to try something more natural, though, as it seems like as I get older, my skin is becoming more and more sensitive to different things.

  6. Krystal says

    It would be awesome to use some of these products! My favorite laundry tip is making the homemade OxyClean…. I live a “set it and forget” kinda life. Soaking my clothes in this solution makes stain lifting easy. I would love to try the laundry packets because they seem so easy to use and I would totally reuse the containers for something. I end up reusing things for my toddler classroom, weather they last a week or a year recycling matters! Thanks and good luck to all the readers!

  7. Sherry says

    My favorite tip is while sorting the clothes, make sure you zip up all zippers and unbutton all buttons. This keeps the zipper from snagging on anything. It will also keep from stretching out the button holes and pulling the buttons loose. A few seconds during the sorting will keep repairs to a minimum.

  8. Stephani says

    I wish I had a favorite laundry tip. I am bad about laundry it piles up into overflowing frustrating mounds more ike mountains. I would like to try making homemade soap but honestly don’t have the time or energy my grueling schedule leaves me so tired all the time. I suppose the only tip I really have is to not dry delicates like bras and swim suits but I am sure al of you know hat allready. I have heard a lot about 7th generation and would lovto gie them a try.

    • stephania says

      making your own powdered takes ten muinuts, cost about 12 bucks and makes over 600 loads.
      there are several recipies out there, but mine is
      3 bars grated fel-naptha
      1 lrg box borax
      1 lgr box washing soda
      mix all then put through blender in batches to get rid of chunks of fels- naptha, and use 1 tbl spn per load in bottom of washer. put viger in your fabric softner despenser if you have, or in a downy ball if you dont have a dispenser, and drop in.

      if you have hard water, add two boxes (about 3 lbs) or 1 bag (about 7 lbs) of baking soda, and one large box of water softner. then use 2-3 tbls spns.
      it will begin to even take out old stains after a few washes… my friend has tea towls thatshe has had for years, and the one that is on top has been used a few times, and she told me other day, she noticed is getting whiter…

      my laundry tip goes along with stephani coment, and would be perfect for any one, but esp some one with kids or that dont have much time (like any of us do)

      you get several large square roling baskets. they are about 2 ft tall and deep and maybe 18 wide.
      on each of these put a paper with what goes in it. and sort them for loads, not colors.
      we do a bleach one, and so is a all white paper with a towl, a shirt and socks drawn on it in white.
      then we have a jean one, that is colored blue.. (next time i replace will use printer or construction paper)
      we have one that has blankets and sheets on it, and so on.
      sort em as to how you do laundry, then alls you have to do is reach in and grab or pick up and dump, no sorting.

      • stephania says

        btw, did i mention this will make over six hundred loads saving you HUNDREDS on laundry soap. and more on clothes if you are using cheep kind, and with the three bars fels in there not only do you not have to treat 99% percent of stains, saving time, but it will also renew old clothes that you though was just for cleaning, saving more money and time…

  9. RainyDaisy says

    We already love their liquid laundry soap. I can’t stand the overwhelming perfumes in a lot of other brands, so we buy the free and clear, and add essential oils for a light scent. Mmmm, :)

  10. Sarah B says

    My favorite laundry tip is to double spin every load. We have a Fischer and Pakel washer that does it for us, but if you don’t, just flip it on spin again. This makes a HUGE difference in drying time for your laundry, resulting in a lot of saved energy!

  11. Terri says

    My favorite laundry tip is to NOT use the dryer in the winter. I hang all shirts (and most pants) on coat hangers from my spare bathroom shower curtain. Undies, socks, some pants, and toddler’s clothes all are hung on a drying rack over the floor heating vent. This helps lower my electric bill (by about $30 a month!), is better for the clothes, and help humidify my home (which means I don’t have to run a humidifier–less electricity again!). I find that most days the clothes are dry within 24 hours and I am ready to do another load. It’s a system that works great in our house.

  12. Joy says

    I would love to win some product. I have started making the homemade and really like it, but hey… free is always good too! My best laundry tip is to not overload the washer. I try to save time by doing as much as I can at once, but when I do this, the clothes don’t clean as well.

  13. Abby says

    My favorite laundry tip is hot water will get out berries if done right after the stain occurs :) It’s so easy and it works every time. I’d love to try some Seventh Generation, I’ve been curious about it for awhile! Thanks for the great post!

  14. Kelly says

    Loved this craft idea for upcycling! My favorite laundry trick is a dryer trick to keep my sheets from balling up. When I dry my sheets, I find the center of the sheet (more or less) and hold it up so that all four corners hang down and more or less meet together (sort of like a parachute). With the sheet draped like that, I then put it in the dryer on its “side.” It truly does keep the sheet from balling up and dries much more efficiently.

  15. Jennifer A says

    My favorite laundry tip is to start teaching children to do laundry early! Have them sorting, helping load and unload, and helping to put away as early as you can. My 15 month old helps me. The earlier they can reach the point of doing their own laundry, the better, especially since there are 6 kids in our family. There’s just too much laundry for one person. :) You might want a good step stool for them to reach the bottom of the washer if you have a top loader.

  16. Alicia Sparks says

    Oooh, I’d love to try their products! My favorite laundry tip is to sort laundry in good light, so you can SEE the stains before you throw them into the washer and pre-treat them. Sorting laundry half asleep is not a smart thing… :-(

  17. Dee Dee says

    I use my Fels Naptha for stain fighting. When I make my own detergent I leave about a quarter of one of the bars unshredded and use it as a stain stick. Just wet the stain, work some in and wash like usual. Has worked wonders on any kind of stain I’ve come across…especially my daughters white soccer uniforms (what genius thought to put girls, in white, on a field with mud and grass?!).

  18. Tanya C says

    I would love to use Seventh Generation laundry products. The best tip for me is checking the pockets of all the pants in the house before starting a load because otherwise I end up with stains from all sorts of things on my clothes. Thanks for posting such an awesome giveaway!

  19. Cynthia C says

    My favourite trick is to use dish soap on grease stains. This works even if the garment has been in the dryer before you noticed the problem. This has saved many garments for me
    Also don’t forget to let the senior in your life fold laundry. Great therapy and useful too.

  20. Brenda says

    I keep an old toothbrush by the washer, and use my homemade detergent “glop” which I rub in, and then brush with the weave and back and forth (never around) to get most tough stains right out. I also have a nail brush for those big stains…. Love your ideas and would love to try these products.

  21. Liberty Boblett says

    My favorite laundry tip is pretty simple! Check the pockets of your kids clothes! I have found markers, candy, lip balm (that would have been fun in the dryer), and even rocks. That is my tip!

  22. Brenda H says

    My favorite laundry tip is to never put the clothes from the dryer into the laundry basket, because then they sit around and don’t get folded right away! I try to make a habit of folding them right out of the dryer, and then the job is done. With a family of 5 kids also, we kept laundry day to Saturday unless dire circumstances. That way laundry wasn’t always “needing to be done”.

  23. Char says

    After washing dresses or shirts. I place them in the dryer on fluff no heat for 5 minutes than hang them on a hanger to finish drying. This helps with the wrinkles! Would love to try Seventh Generations products. Thanks!

  24. Sue says

    My favorite “tip” for laundry is to get your kids to do their own laundry and towels as soon as they are able. It takes the focus off “Mom” and onto their own ability to care for their own need for clean clothes. Teaches time management skills, sorting, folding as a practical art/ skill- and when they fold or hang clothes they will keep them folded or hung instead of letting them crunch up after you’ve delivered them to their rooms. ;-)

    • stephania says

      my husband did that one time, takeing my 400 dollar suits ( i didnt nor would ever pay taht for them…lol) from a size 6 to the size for a six year old. took out lining that didnt shrink and seirously gave them to a six year old… i wanted to cry, but she loved em…

  25. paula says

    The best thing I have ever done concerning laundry began a couple months ago. I started keeping the spray bottle of stain remover in the bathroom where I get undressed for bed. If anything has gotten grease or stains on it, I spray the stain remover on it right then. I used to examine each article of clothing for problem spots as I deposited them in the washer. Too many times I have taken the “clean” clothing item out of the dryer expecting to wear it and instead finding that forgotten stain and having to wash the item again.
    This method has been time saving and efficient. My husband, thankfully, has cooperated with me on this and he sprays the stains on his clothes. What a man!

  26. Sandi K. says

    My tip is to be sure and clean the lint screen in your dryer every few weeks. To see if it is clogged, try running water through the screen (after you take off the lint). If the water runs straight through, it’s okay. If the water puddles on the screen, you need to clean the screen. I use an old toothbrush and just a dab of laundry detergent. Rinse thoroughly. Allow to air dry and you’re good to go! Thanks so much for the chance!

  27. Kary says

    My favorite laundry tip is to get cherry, strawberry, or blueberry etc. out by pouring boiling water over it. The first time I tried this on a white shirt, I could not believe out it just washed right out of the fabric. Love all of your great tips.

  28. Paula Helzer says

    My favorite laundry tip is to use the conditioner /vinegar fabric softener in the rinse water. It works great and SAVES MONEY! Thank you Jillee! I would love to try the Seventh Generation products!

  29. Katie McReynolds says

    I’d love to try 7th Generation! My easiest laundry tip is for stain removal. With a 2 year old and a 9 month old, we make a LOT of stains ’round these parts.
    Here it is: I keep a bar of Fels Naptha in a tupperware container on my laundry rack. When I am loading clothes into the washer, if I spot a stain, I’ll rub the offending spot with a corner of my soap bar before tossing it into the washer. If it’s a particularly tough spot, I’ll spritz it with a little water from my ironing water bottle and rub it into the damp fabric. Get the stain covered, toss it into the washer and voila! Removed!
    And have you seen how cheap those Fels Naptha bars are?! At my local grocery store they run $0.97; they’ll last FOREVER as a stain removal stick. It’s frugal and effective, just what I like!

  30. Kristi Myers says

    My best tip would have to be – check a stain that has been pretreated and then washed. CHECK it before drying! The dryer will set the stain if it is not gone after washing. Thanks for the ideas today, Jillee. I would love to try the laundry detergent, for the give away. Have a great day!


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