Repurposing Laundry Detergent Containers Into Useful Objects

Detergent box purse 1

Recently 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. 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…

      • Deanna Elle says

        Please make me the 600 loads of laundry soap so I dont have to do it. heeheehe giggle…..Does anyone make it to put for sale? Thanks!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. Gretchen Friebolin says

    I would love to try the Seventh Generations stuff, hope I win ;-) My laundry tip: Hubby’s work jeans get pretty yucky so I use blue Dawn dishwashing liquid on them.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!!

  8. Shelley says

    My favorite laundry tip is to have my husband do it! ;)
    But, when I do it, I love, love, love your recipe with the
    hair conditioner and vinegar…so easy, yet so awesome!

      • Renée says

        Yes please! I have been moving over to more natural Products and have two big bottles of conditioner that I don’t know what to do with!

      • CTY says

        6 C water
        3 C white distilled vinegar
        2 C hair conditioner (any scent)
        Place in a gallon jug-shake to mix.
        Use like any other softener– I shake before using.

      • Ava Woodruff says

        My hair conditioner bottle says it can be used as after shower body lotion!!
        It works well!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!