Soap dispenser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Using a liquid soap dispenser

A soap dispenser is a device that, when manipulated or triggered appropriately, dispenses soap (usually in small, single-use quantities). It can be manually operated by means of a handle, or can be automatic. Soap dispensers are often found in public toilets.


Manual soap dispensers[edit]

The design of a manual soap dispenser is generally determined by whether the soap comes in liquid, powder, or foam form.

Liquid soap[edit]

When soap is dispensed in liquid form, it is generally in a squeeze bottle or pump. The most popular soap dispensers of this type are plastic pump bottles, many of which are disposable.

William Shepphard patented liquid soap on August 22, 1865. Minnetonka Corporation introduced the first modern liquid soap and cornered the market by buying up the entire supply of the plastic pumps needed for the liquid soap dispensers.[1]

Dry soap[edit]

A vertical stainless steel tube, mounted on a wall, with a crank handle on the side at the bottom, next to the hopper-like horizontal opening from which the grated soap will fall
A soap mill in a public washroom.
A moulded bulge proturding from the underside of a mounled plastic surface; at the base of the bulge, a short wide hollow black plastic cylinder with three narrow, outward-tapering radial spokes. Inside the cylinder, two black crossbars and a cotter pin hold the black plastic part on; behind them, a grater with spiral blades scrapes across the square surface of a block of solid soap.
A train-washroom built-in soap mill from below. When the black spokes are rotated with one finger, the spiral blades rotate against the soap bar visible behind them, and flakes of soap fall out the bottom of the device into the other hand.

Some soap dispensers take solid bars of soap, and grate, plane,[2] or grind them to flakes or powder as they are dispensed. About 40g fresh weight of soap is equivalent to 1 liter of liquid soap, providing soap for up to 400 handwashings.

Soap mills are common in public washrooms in Germany.[3] Soap graters made specifically for home use also exist;[4][2] they can be wall-mounted, or free-standing (like a peppergrinder) and waterproof for use in a shower.[5][6] Some graters take specially-dimensioned soap bars, others will take a range of ordinary soap bar sizes.[3][2]

Dispensers of pre-powdered soaps, such as borax, often take the form of a metal box with a weighted lever; when the lever is pressed, a handful of soap is released. Ground soap is also used to wash laundry.[7]

Foam soap[edit]

Foam soap dispensers have dual foam pumps that when used move both air and soap, injecting both together through small openings to create a lather. They can be found in both manual and automatic varieties.

Manual dispensers of foam soap often consist of a large button which squeezes the foam out of a tube. Many liquid soap dispensers operate in this way as well. A few dispensers operate with a lever that pulls forward and squeezes the soap out.

The majority of manual foam soap dispensers have the soap in a bladder in the dispenser in liquid form, as the pump is pressed the liquid soap is pushed through a small foaming nozzle which foams the soap.

Automatic soap dispensers[edit]

Automatic soap dispenser

An automatic soap dispenser is specifically a hands-free dispenser of soap (both liquid soap and foaming soap), but generally can be used for other liquids such as hand sanitizers, shampoos, or hand lotions. Automatic dispensers are often battery-powered. The touch-free design dispenses the liquid when a sensor detects motion under the nozzle. The electronic components of an automatic soap dispenser allow for a timing device or signal (sound, lights, etc.) which can indicate to the user whether they have washed their hands for the correct amount of time or not.

Hands-free dispensers for water and soap/hand sanitizer have particular virtues for operating theatres and treatment rooms.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The History of Soap and Detergent".
  2. ^ a b c "Trockenseifenspender SoapPlaner". SoapPlaner (in German).
  3. ^ a b Morwood, Peter. "Trockenseifenspender (dry soap dispenser)".
  4. ^ John Brownlee (12 January 2011). "Bar soap dispenser will double as cheese grater in a pinch".
  5. ^ "Soap Grater Looks Practical". Cool Things. January 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "Soap Flakes - Soap Bar Dispensers". The Green Head - Finds Cool New Stuff!.
  7. ^ "How To Make Classic DIY Laundry Detergent With NO Grating!". Farming My Backyard. 10 April 2018.