I bought two spray bottles intending on using it for cleaning solutions. I filled one with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution for household cleaning. After a few weeks of use, the pumping action on the handle stopped working. I would squeeze the handle on the spray bottle, but the handle would not return to it's original position.

I opened up the mechanism and there is a spring covered by a rubber piece (this fits snugly in a cylinder...forming a mini piston type of mechanism. The rubber forms a nice seal and is what draws the liquid up the tube when the handle releases and pushes the liquid out the nozzle when the handle is depressed. I think the rubber slides along the inside of the cylinder.

So, I'm not sure what is causing the pumping action to not work. The spring and the rubber piece looks fine I think. I don't think the rubber is breaking down...it's hard to tell whether the rough edges on the rubber was "as manufactured" or was caused by the vinegar. Also, when I took it apart, I felt a little something (almost like some sort of lubricant...but not an oily lubricant) on my fingers. Is this what is being compromised?

Since I had two spray bottles, I replaced the handle/sprayer. Sure enough, after a few weeks of using the same solution, the handle stopped pumping!

Anyone else out there with a similar experience?


Vinegar is an acid. It's a mild acid, but it's an acid nonetheless. You might want to find a different brand of spray bottle that is chemical resistant... mine seem to keep working, but I buy them from a janitorial supply store. I know the one time I put a vinegar and water solution in one of my girlfriend's spray bottles, which were artsy and came from a beauty supply store, they suffered random gumming-ups and failures...


I had the same problem using vinegar as a weed killer. I took the trigger apart and lubricated the rubber piston with Vaseline and now it is working.

  • 1
    How did you take it apart. Most... every spray bottle I've ever seen was not user serviceable.
    – Mazura
    Jul 25 '15 at 19:51

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