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What are the Different Types of Soap Dispensers?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Feb 03, 2024
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Soap dispensers are handy not only for washing hands but also for keeping sink areas from becoming soapy messes. There are many types and styles of soap dispensers, and they come in a variety of materials. Many types of liquid soap come in plastic bottles that can be either thrown away when they're empty or refilled with more soap. Other refillable dispensers can be glass, ceramic or metal and might be part of a matching set of bathroom or kitchen accessories with a particular design or theme. There also are large dispensers like those seen mounted in many public restrooms.

Disposable soap dispensers, usually plastic bottles with pumps, are available in an assortment of colors and designs. Many are attractively decorated with flowers or other botanical designs. Some dispensers are clear plastic, but the liquid soap can come in different colors to create a decorative effect.

Matching Sets

Soap dispensers also come in sets with matching bathroom accessories such as toothbrush caddies and wastebaskets or kitchen accessories such as towel holders or salt and pepper shakers. These are not designed to be disposable and should be refilled when they are empty. Similar dispensers can be used for lotions and might be part of the matching set.

High-quality soap dispensers might come in glass, ceramic, frosted glass or metallic finishes. These dispensers are available in many designs, from whimsical ceramic frogs to vintage glass to sleek contemporary chrome, stainless steel, brass or bronze. This type of dispenser is a more expensive option than a disposable plastic dispenser.

Commercial Styles

Soap dispensers for the home are available in styles similar to commercial models found in public restrooms. With the touch of a button, the user can receive a measured amount of soap. Having just the right amount dispensed for hand washing helps avoid waste. It also helps avoid a sticky mess from leftover dribbles of liquid soap. Some models of soap dispensers are made for powdered soap, but these have become rare.

Dispensers that mimic commercial styles can be free-standing models or can be mounted on the counter, sink or wall. These soap dispensers are fairly simple to install. Those that are mounted to countertops or sink bases are easy to refill from above the sink, and the reservoir is neatly stowed below the surface.

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