How to Donate Small Bottles of Shampoo & Soap

Those little bottles of shampoo, lotion and other toiletries you receive in your hotel room are often a convenience if you've forgotten your own. However, if you don't use them or only use a small amount, you can donate these sample-size items to various charities. For many poor families, purchasing soap and shampoo is secondary to buying food. In developing or war-torn countries, these items are difficult to obtain. Women's and homeless shelters need toiletries for people having a tough time.

Decide which charities you want to donate to. A few global charities that take sample size toiletries are Global Samaritan, Global Soap Project and Clean the World. Donating to these charities sends your items to third world countries and developing nations. If you want to stay local, check your phone book for your local women's shelter or homeless shelter.

Global Samaritan

Global Soap Project

Clean the World

Gather together your sample size toiletries. If you have used a portion of shampoo or lotion, be sure the bottle is clean and the cap is on tight. Place your items in a plastic bag (in case they leak) and then in your shipping box. Put enough packing material in the box to secure your items. Seal the box.

Label the box with the charity's address (addresses can be found online or in the phone book). Take the box to the post office to purchase postage. Save the receipt for the postage, because it could be tax deductible.

Consider other people who may not come to mind when you think of someone in need. Contact college dorms to see whether they would like the toiletries. Military personnel also need soap and shampoo. Ask friends and co-workers whether they know anyone stationed overseas and offer to send your toiletries.


Save money with the Postal Service's flat-rate shipping boxes. If your charity is local, take your donation in person. Some charities only accept new items, while others also take partially used ones. Check the charity's policy before mailing or donating.

Things You'll Need

  • Hotel- or sample-size bottles of toiletries
  • Plastic bag
  • Box(es)
  • Packing materials
  • Postage (optional)
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About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Tammie Painter has been writing garden, fitness, science and travel articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Herb Companion" and "Northwest Travel" and she is the author of six books. Painter earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Portland State University.