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small plastic leak-proof jars/bottles

Does anyone have recommendations for where to buy good, leak-proof small plastic jars and bottles to store small amounts of lotions, soaps, etc? Most I’ve used are either too large or leak easily en route. Thanks.

Posted by
199 posts

I’ve been happy with ones I found at REI. They comes in lots of different sizes.

Posted by
6128 posts

You looking for the TSA compliant sizes or some other category of 'small' for travel?

Posted by
124 posts

Try Muji. I bought some containers there before my trip last summer, very pleased with them, not a single leak. They have a big selection.

Posted by
1493 posts

Hi Andrea,

If Walmart or Target are near you, check out their travel sections. This time of year, they increase their inventory. Walmart sells inexpensive refillable (up to 3 oz) bottles - spray, capped < but I usually put a little piece of tape over the cap if I use those.

They have jars, but are a little bigger and take up more room in a cosmetic - TSA bag.

Try TJMaxx or Marshall's. They sell clear, cosmetic cases that come with some varied sizes of lotion bottle, spray bottle, jars, etc. (I've found the ones that come in with the cases work well; have not cracked or leaked.)

I don't know where you are, but there is a store called "Christmas Tree Shops and That! They have a ton of travel-related items - ready to go, refillable bottles and jars that are smaller and clear, TSA approved "3-1-1" bags. I've not had a problem using a non-ziplock bag. Some have posted they did. I usually put a few zip locks in my bag for other uses, but, if a TSA was a real stickler, then I can easily transfer the items.

I carry on a smaller bag - about 16"-20" depending, and check a 22" bag - I split up my travel stuff.

What I do for creams is decant into same-size jars, then put them in a stacks and "tape the side" so they stand upright and afford more room. Works for me, lol. In my 3-1-1, I take enough for about 4 days worth in case the checked is delayed. Not happened, but always a first...

As a reminder, mascara, lip gloss - anything that can be runny or make a puddle on the floor, needs to be in the 3-1-1 or in checked.

Posted by
3283 posts

I would suggest you message acraven. she had a post which I can't find, that she was recommending small containers. It was a long thread with lots of packing ideas. The containers may have been called GOOP

Posted by
926 posts

Don’t buy the colored plastic screw top jars at Walmart. They crack and break. I’m 2 weeks into my Italy trip and I’m hoping one will survive one more week or else I’ll have BB makeup all over. Too bad because it was easy to color code types of creams.

Posted by
16763 posts

The containers I trust the most are those made by Nalgene. The company makes bottles and jars but not squeezable tubes (as far as I know). The Container Store usually has a variety of Nalgene products, and I think some outdoor stores carry them. If you screw the top on correctly, those will not leak. However, they are made of very sturdy plastic and are heavy for their size. I am judicious in my use of them, sticking to the smallest sizes for products I don't use a lot of. Rather than taking a large/heavy Nalgene bottle of conditioner, I switch to solid conditioner when I travel.

I haven't found a Nalgene jar as small as I want for creams. The Container Store has two sizes of small tubs with snap-on lids. They are called GoTubbs, and you can find them online. The smaller size is sold in sets of 3. It is 14cc, 0.4 oz. I'm nervous about those, so if I carry one in my purse, it's inside a ZipLock bag.

The GoTubbs are made by the same company that makes the GoToobs. They seem to be made of different material. I'm leery of the GoToobs because their packaging warns about using them for products containing several ingredients often appearing in toiletries, and I'm not sure I have anything that contains none of those products.

There are lots of competing tubes and bottles out there, most of them cheaper than Nalgene and GoToobs. User error aside, most will be fine under normal use, so it's temptimg to use the cheapest thing available. I tend to re-use some hotel toiletry bottles for things like medicated shampoo and soap, but I find some of them do leak a bit. I figure a bit of leaking soap probably won't wreck anything in my suitcase. I would not risk using such bottles for medicated lotion, fingernail polish remover, or the like.

Posted by
3283 posts

Some people put saran wrap over the openings for shampoo, etc. I usually wrap duct and masking tape around a slim tube/container (holiday M&M containers are great!) I think you could wrap a strip of saran wrap around it as well

Posted by
440 posts

Try to eliminate some gloopy things, just don’t take them. It’s amazing what you can do without. For instance, Dr. Bronner’s works for me as shampoo, body cleanser, and laundry. Can even be dentifrice in a pinch. A half bar lasts me three to four weeks and it is not a liquid.

GoToobs are great products and they make GoTubs, too. GoToobs are best for pastes and thick liquids; they don’t work at all for watery liquids like witch hazel or rubbing alcohol.

One more word of advice: don’t travel with new cosmetics or unguents. You want to be totally confident that the stuff you’re going to put on your skin or hair is not going to cause any trouble.

Posted by
1168 posts

It’s been my experience that brick and mortar stores only sell larger bottles. I have yet to find a Nalgene bottle smaller than 1 oz. That’s way too much product.

One way is to use eye drop bottles. These usually come in 0.5 and 0.25 oz sizes.

I personally get my bottles off of Amazon. The 30 ml and 15 ml sizes are just about perfect for a 2-3 week trip.

15 ml bottles (0.5 oz)

30 ml bottles (1 oz)

The 3 oz Go tubes leak, are oddly shaped (waste space in the 311 bag), and are too large.

Take “just enough”. Go smaller! Use an oral syringe to decant creams into the bottles.

BTW, here is a great post from travelite on decanting into smaller bottles.

Posted by
470 posts

https://www.amazon.com/Containers-Silicone-Approved-Toiletry-Toiletries/dp/B07KXN52BY/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=travel+jars&qid=1557879290&s=gateway&sr=8-9

These are the jars I bought from Amazon. There are 6 with an extra inner layer made from plastic (1/2 and 1 oz sizes) and 3 silicon about 3/4 is without the extra layer. I liked the sizes and that the set includes spatulas to make the transfer cleaner and easier.I

I've also bought silicon squeeze bottles that work well. Nice big opening for filling but a smaller one to dispense.

Amazon has a ton more to chose from in different sizes and shapes.

Posted by
3355 posts

Hi Andrea,

I just use a couple of these which you can pick up at the Clinique makeup counter. They are tiny - about the same diameter as a quarter, but it’s plenty to hold three weeks of foundation and a thick moisturizer.

Oil of Olay makes nice “dry cloth” makeup removal pads that don’t need to be in your TSA bag. I cut them in half. (Idea shared last year by Cindy H)

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=jW3bXJv-Ipqt0PEPno-LsAI&q=clinique+sample+jar&oq=clinique+sample+jar&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-hp.3..33i160.3109.14400..15894...0.0..0.264.2845.0j17j2......0....1.......8..41j0i131j0j46j46i275j0i22i30j33i299.KFmGKMc-pXc#imgrc=wYALX0sTwm1CoM:

Posted by
37 posts

GoTubbs have worked well for me. I’ve moved to a solid shampoo bar and a solid body wash bar from Lush that work well and don’t dry out my skin. I use the GoTubbs for lotion, conditioner and moisturizer. I bought my GoTubbs from amazon. Don’t get the round one handed pop off circles. Get the tube like squeeze bottles.

Posted by
16763 posts

Melissa, I think you are recommending the GoToobs. The GoTubbs have pop-off tops.

I'm nearly certain I found a 1/2-ounce Nalgene bottle at a Container Store. But only once. The selection varies from visit to visit and I suspect also from store to store.

Posted by
1507 posts

For small amounts of creams, I use disposable contact lens cases (cut in half so they fit better in the 311 bag) - example here. I also recommend Nalgene bottles (Amazon sells a travel set).

Posted by
1493 posts

Adding to my above:

Cosmetic counters at department stores have the little 'free' sample bottles - some are the smaller 'jar' type - maybe ask for a two or three. Counters like Lancome also have the plastic squeeze bottle with screw cap. They use them for samples of liquid makeup. One beauty associate gave me a few. They fill nicely and don't leak. When travel is over, they wash/rinse out well to be stored for next adventure.

Posted by
470 posts

One thing I've begun to notice about the silicon containers is the contents seems to dry out over time. I just pulled out one from last summer that had baby shampoo in it. Most of the water was gone leaving a thick layer of soap behind. Not the first time I've noticed this. It's a nice container that doesn't leak, easy to fill, etc. but just this problem. I try to use the smallest size for the trip I'm taking.

Posted by
850 posts

Yup, GoToobs let things dry out over time, and they are bulky. I no longer use them.

Posted by
324 posts

I use the Nalgene bottles from the Container Store and the teeny little sample jars from Lush. The sample jars are heavy duty and never leak. If you have a store nearby, you might check to see if they have any.

Posted by
111 posts

I buy mine at marshall's and use saran wrap before screw/put back the cap.

Posted by
1057 posts

I don't like GoTubes as I find it difficult to get the last of whatever is in it out.
Also difficult to clean.
I found ones similar in my local dollar store made by Bodico.
They work better for me, and come in a smaller size.
I just save every small container that comes my way!
I wrap each container in a tiny Ziploc bag for extra protection.
You can get small ziplocs in a myriad of sizes at dollar stores.
Also great for pills and jewelry.

Posted by
101 posts

I agree with the recommendations for Nalgene containers. They absolutely will not leak. REI carry some, and I'm sure Google would turn up other sources.

Posted by
5486 posts

The Nalgene wide-mouth bottles are good and my bottle with dish-washing soap has not leaked. The 2 oz bottle is TSA carry-on compliant by my bottle is not labeled with size. So far now problem and not even looked at other than the standard X-ray scan.

Posted by
16763 posts

Nalgenes also will not break if they hit the bathroom floor. As small as most European-budget-hotel-room showers are, there is rarely enough secure shelf space for shampoo, conditioner and soap, so it's easy to drop things. I've done it several times. A couple of days ago it was a small reused hotel bottle containing medicated shampoo. The neck of the bottle snapped right off. But I saved a fraction of an ounce by not putting that shampoo in a Nalgene bottle!

Posted by
1422 posts

The cheapy ones I just used (from TJ Maxx) were awful in every way. I hated opening them each day - messy (especially with saran wrap), fragile when dropped, eaten away by SPF lotions. The only good thing I can say is that 3 of them stacked neatly into an empty toilet paper roll.

I joyfully threw them away as I left my last hotel room this morning!!

So glad to have this thread for recommendations into better ones.

Posted by
850 posts

This is my favorite 1/2 oz. bottle:

https://www.midwestbottles.com/Bottles/5-oz.-1/2-oz-15mm-White-w/Shiny-Finish-15-415-Boston-Round-LDPE-Plastic-Bottle/
I have Argan oil in one of them and it does not leak.

There are different lids available to fit, I like this one for ease of use and non-leak.
https://www.midwestbottles.com/Caps/15-415-White-Flip-Top-Dispensing-Bottle-Cap-w/.125-in.-Orifice/

I love these teeny jars. Perfect for thicker creams, and aspirin and other pills:
https://www.midwestbottles.com/Jars/1/5-oz-6-mm-Clear-Jar-with-27-mm-Natural-Linerless-Cap/

The site is a bit challenging to use, and you will pay more for shipping than the items (I usually buy multiples, and buy things just to try because it's cheap).

Posted by
664 posts

For the stuff I absolutely have to take I always put the bottles in the vacuum sealer (like leftovers). Don't use vacuum, just seal the plastic. Then I really don't care if it leaks or not.

But far and away the best plan is just to hit the Euro store and buy stuff when I get there. 10-15 minutes in a store and I'm done, and that's easier then hauling a pile of stuff around. Of course, I'm not real brand conscious. I do the same traveling everywhere, even in USA.

Posted by
622 posts

I'm also a fan of Nalgene containers, and not a fan of those silicone tubes which are definitely risky for long-term storage of some if not all liquids. Shampoo: bad. Dishwashing liquid: good. I took some in a 3 ounce silicone tube on a trip, and have been using it at my kitchen sink for a year now with no problems. (I refill it from the huge Costco-sized pump bottle I keep under the sink.)

I have been betrayed by cheap plastic bottles from Walmart, have used contact lens cases for small amounts of skin creams.

I pack small amounts of toiletries even if I'm putting them in a checked bag. You can, IMO, travel light without lugging everything onto the plane yourself.

And, I'm grateful to LizinPA for the link to Midwest Bottles!

Posted by
172 posts

Sometimes I buy travel size products because I like the bottles. Then I fill them with my favorite products. I’m not a fan of GoTubes.

Posted by
111 posts

Contact lens cases are very good at storing things and they don't leak.
I've been testing how much uses of foundation I can get out if I fill one side of a contact lens case. Probably 14 uses...? Still testing.

Another thing I've used it is for cream eyeshadow, like MAC paint pots. I have put around 3 different colors inside the same side of the case and they don't dry, or mix. They stay put for about a month before drying out.