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Jul 3, 2012 02:35 AM

Spray bottles

Visiting a kitchen supplies store, I noticed some "misters" - bottles that can be used to spray whatever, wherever. It occurred to me that I could sauté veg etc. with much less oil or whatever than I put in the pan straight from the bottle, and that a spray bottle might be a good tool for this. So I picked up one of them, a small-capacity glass bottle with a spray nozzle like that on a perfume bottle. Not so good - it dispenses a tiny amount and the design doesn't make it easy to aim.

So I looked at amazon.com, and ordered a cheap three-pack of 8-ounce plastic spray bottles that looked right:


The shipping cost as much as the bottles!

What I got isn't quite what's in the picture - semi-transparent instead of opaque white, and with no measurements printed on the bottle. But that's fine, it's actually better for what I'd use the bottles for. One of the customer reviewers says that "The nozzles can be adjusted to give off anything from a fine mist to a strong stream," which is what I want, and that feature works well enough.

So I guess I'll keep them, and have filled the three bottles with olive oil, canola oil, and water. These can stay handy to the worktop and stove, while the original bottles (of the oils anyway) can go in the fridge for fresh-keeping. Now I just need to label the bottles to keep the oils straight. Might even buy another set of three, for the toasted sesame oil, peanut oil, and (cheap) "balsamic" vinegar in the cupboard. But for now I'll save my nickels and dimes while finding out whether the spray bottles actually make a difference in my cooking, and if I like the difference.

Anybody use spray bottles in this way, or other ways? What bottles do you use?

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  1. My mother uses a "Misto" pressurized sprayer for Olive oil. It works as advertised and is really easy for things like potato chunks you want to brown. These stainless pressurized cylinders seem to be in all the specialty kitchen shops FWIW.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sid Post

      They also seem to be at Marshall's every time I stop in.

      1. re: ferret

        Me too. I think the concept is useful for something like dressing salad (with oil or vinegar), or disinfection cutting board (with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide), or wetting sharpening stone (with water). Other than these, I do not think they will be very useful for me. Even then, I don't have spray bottles for these applications as I have other means to deliver these. The only spray bottle I have is for ironing my clothing.

    2. I've used a Pampered Chef oil sprayer for years, sometimes to grease a baking dish, sometimes to oil the broiler pan or a skillet. That one was a pump and spray type.
      It gave up the ghost a few months ago, and I looked at cooking outlets for something to substitute, but wasn't in love with any of them.

      Last week, I ended up getting a nice looking stainless steel one from Weight Watchers, as it was on sale and I like the look. It also is easy to keep track of WW points with it ( 1 PP per 10 sprays). I'll have to see how I like it. It does feel more sturdy than the cheapie ones I saw at TJ Maxx..

      2 Replies
      1. re: jmcarthur8

        Now you mention greasing a baking dish, yes, I can also use the manual spray bottles instead of aerosol oil sprays like Pam. I rarely use them but they're cluttering up the cupboard and now I can toss them.

        1. re: John Francis

          I switched to spray bottles when I read the ingredients in Pam and realized there's propellant in there. I'm sure it's safe and I shouldn't worry about it. But I go through the trouble of eating organic eggs and chicken. To spray propellant on those just seemed weird to me.

      2. Make sure any bottle you use is food safe plastic, preferably BPA free. Oils in particular will leach out all sorts of nasty chemicals in plastic

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbuttitta

          As with so many things, the controversy over whether any plastics are food-safe seems far from resolution. See, for example:


          The material you mention, BPA, is apparently used in many kinds of food containers, including baby food. The FDA hasn't barred its use, and according to this article, "more than 90% of us have detectable levels of bisphenol A in our bodies." And there is no more than a "fragile consensus" among scientists that BPA might be harmful.

          The Soft 'n Style spray bottles aren't made for use with food; the company is into cosmetics, as the brand name might suggest. No information on what plastic these bottles are made of. But the small amounts of oil I'll be using them to dispense - that's why I got them - hardly seem threatening. And as the bottles are quite small, I should be emptying and refilling them regularly, which should prevent the buildup of anything the oil may leach out of the plastic.

          Finally, it's up to us to choose whether to be alarmed. I choose not; others may differ.

        2. Personally... I'd probably give a spray bottle from a dollar store a shot first?!? Always wanted one of Alton Brown's "dino" spray bottles... think I remember him saying he found it somewhere cheap... in summer stuff as a water pistol of sorts for the pool?

          3 Replies
          1. re: kseiverd

            I bought 4 'cheap' spray bottles for hydrogen peroxide at some sort of those dollar stores. I have some more expensive ones and don't know where I purchased them. I just couldn't find them anywhere, so I bought those cheapies. I won't be doing that again. Hard to use, adjust, keep tightened, all of them.

            The better ones I use constantly to spray vinegar on table tops and counters.

            The misty ones for olive oil or other oils - how does one clean them out - oil can go rancid easily. They get used up fast. I've bought two sets - and do not like them at all.

            1. re: Rella

              Often the dollar stores stuffs are just too cheap to work. However, my impression is that the restaurant supply store ones are good enough. They are usually not too expensive (not super cheap either), but functional. Yeah, I like using hydorgen peroxide for disinfection, but it is much more expensive than vinegar. The upside for hydrogen peroxide is that it turns into water and it has no after taste or anything when used on a cutting board.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Funny, but I ran across (by mistake) in an industrial area near our shopping town maybe 3 weeks ago, and I did look at their spray bottles; but they were not worth buying.
                I'll run across some really good ones some day and buy a boat load!
                Then I'll 'hide' them from DH, so he won't use them in the garden.

          2. I used to sell the special pump spray bottles specifically for oil at the kitchen store where I worked. I would say at least half of them were returned because they either never worked properly or they stopped working after a while. I finally stopped suggesting them at all and warned people when they brought one to the checkout counter. The problem with trying to spray oil is that the viscosity makes it difficult. But good luck with your spray bottles and please let us know if they work.

            3 Replies
            1. re: escondido123

              The spray bottles do dispense a smaller amount of oil than if I poured it from the bottle. However, they do it as a pretty strong stream, not as a mist, which means they don't work well for lightly coating food or a bake pan. Since the same bottle does manage to mist water, I suppose it's about viscosity. But if I find a cheap spray bottle with a nozzle that rotates from off to spray to mist, as with some cleaners, I'll certainly try it.

              1. re: escondido123

                A method to keep the oil from clogging is to add a very small amount of grain alcohol to the oil. You will find this in the ingredient list of some common cooking sprays.

                1. re: escondido123

                  My personal experience is in accord with your professional one. I bought two Misto sprayers, many years apart. In both cases, they clogged up and became useless after less than a dozen uses. I tried hot soaking, needles, etc, to clean the nozzles, all without success.

                  Though not spraying, I have two alternate methods that accomplish the same thing as far as frying is concerned. First, courtesy of Paul Prudhomme, is to oil the food rather than the preheated pan. Second, use the type of squeeze bottle that casual eateries use for mustard and ketchup. Snip just the tiniest bit off the end of the nozzle, so you can squeeze drops of oil across the cooking surface.