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What is a Soap Dispenser?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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A soap dispenser is a small or large device found in kitchens and bathrooms throughout the world. You’ll find commercial versions of the soap dispenser in public bathrooms, and you can even buy your soap in a simple dispenser, which can then be refilled by buying larger bottles of soap. Most dispensers let out liquid, foam, or cream soap, and rely on a pump mechanism in order to release soap.

While the most common soap dispensers are used by depressing the handle, to pull up soap from the inside of the bottle, there are some that work a little differently. Foam dispensers, which use a much lower viscosity soap, combine soap with air as it makes its way through the pump, producing foam instead of liquid soap. These may be a little easier to use for some because it’s pretty obvious if the soap is fully covering your hands when the foam coats them.

Another type of soap dispenser just gaining popularity in updated public bathrooms is the modern automatic dispenser. This normally works by using a sensor to detect that hands are underneath the dispenser. When such detection is made, the soap dispenser releases a small amount of soap into the hands. Many find these dispensers preferable because they do not require you to use a pump when your hands are still dirty. Some kitchen and bathroom sinks are also designed with a soap dispenser installed, usually made of brass or stainless steel, which eliminates cluttering the sink counters with an extra bottle.

Though buying soap in a soap dispenser is usually the easiest and cheapest way of obtaining one, there are a number of specially designed and decorative ones you can purchase to go with your kitchen or bathroom décor. These can come in various metal finishes, in porcelain, or in sturdy plastic with silly or lovely designs. Price is exceptionally variable, with range in price of about $5-75 US Dollars (USD).

If you’re short on space in your bathrooms, you might consider purchasing a soap dispenser that is combined with a toothpaste holder, and a holder for toothbrushes. Some complain that it's pretty easy to get a small amount of soap on toothbrushes this way, and brushing your teeth with a soapy toothbrush is an unpleasant experience. For those who’d like to avoid this possible risk, there are many styles and shapes to choose from that can fit on almost any kitchen or bathroom sink.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By burcinc — On Jan 14, 2015

@ddljohn-- My sensor soap dispenser allows me to adjust the amount of soap I want dispensed. There are three different settings for it. I'm sure that the ones at your workplace have this option too. You may not know about it.

If you do purchase a soap dispenser with sensor for your home, make sure that the dispenser has this option. I love my sensor soap dispenser. I like that I don't have to touch anything to get my soap.

By ddljohn — On Jan 14, 2015

Sensor soap dispensers are okay. I do use them at work. What I don't like about them is that sometimes they dispense too little soap. I like to get a nice lather when washing my hands and I'm forced to hold my hand under the soap dispenser again and again to get enough soap. And when I do this back to back, the sensor doesn't work too well.

So it can be frustrating and can end up taking more time instead of the opposite. Usually people prefer soap dispensers with a sensor to save on time and for convenience. But when it dispenses too little soap, it doesn't quite work out.

By ysmina — On Jan 13, 2015

I've started using a soap dispenser that makes soap foam and I really like it. I think that the greatest advantage of this type of dispenser is that it saves soap. A smaller amount of soap is required to make enough foam required to wash hands. So the bottle of soap lasts a longer time. I'm happy that I'm saving some money and don't have to buy soap as frequently. I'm glad I made the switch.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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