What Are the Different Types of Washroom Soap Dispensers?

Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

There are many different types of washroom soap dispensers that come in a variety of styles, colors and designs. For home use, they usually come in a container that has a button, lever, or pump to dispense the soap. They are usually placed on the counter top but there are wall dispensers as well, although those are more commonly seen in commercial environments. Some more advanced models have motion sensors to dispense the soap.

Wall-mounted versions are the washroom soap dispense people usually think of. They are found in public washrooms, are often made of plastic, and use a button that is pumped to dispense the soap. Most are usually generic in appearance but in higher-end locations, such as nice restaurants, they can come in more elegant designs.

For home use, the most commonly available dispenser is the pump dispenser. It can be refillable or bought for a one time use. The one-off dispensers are usually plastic and come with a screw top pump or button dispenser.

Refillable washroom soap dispensers are made from a wide variety of materials. They are typically made from ceramics, metal, or plastic, but they also come in glass, crystal, porcelain, and wood. Most units have a removable top that has a pump or nozzle. Some classier dispensers have an antique lever or button to press to make the soap come out.

Although more commonly found in commercial environments, some home washroom soap dispensers have motion detectors to dispense the soap. These are often wall-mounted but can also come in countertop designs. Soap is dispensed when people pass their hand in front of the dispenser. There are also washroom soap dispensers that can foam the soap so that it is not as messy to use, which can sometimes be a problem with liquid soap.

The designs of the washroom soap dispensers are as varied as their materials and colors. Many come as part of a washroom set, and may have a particular theme. Common themes are seashells, animals, or designs pulled out of a particular time period, giving it an antique or nostalgic feel. Many styles are designed with children in mind, possibly in the form of a cartoon character or other identifiable theme. With the availability of the Internet, it is also possible to find a variety of dispensers made in other countries or ones that are custom made by certain specialty designers.

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Discussion Comments


I like the dispensers that have the foaming soap. It's easier to rinse off and doesn't leave residue on my hands.

I'm not crazy about the automatic soap dispensers. They almost always dispense way too much, so I have to wash my hands for five minutes to get all the soap rinsed off. If the idea is to conserve, then using five times as much water and controlling the soap level is a little counter intuitive, to my way of thinking.

I also always hope that the soap doesn't have a really strong odor. Some of it gives me a headache.


I remember the kind you always used to see that were globe-shaped and had that useless round metal pump thing at the bottom. It always got clogged up with soap and the proprietors never seemed to keep them filled. They were always empty, or nearly so.

I know these days, a lot of the soap dispensers I see have a bag refill inside. I'm sure that's much easier than trying to pour liquid into the container. Instead, you put the bag in the dispenser and that's it. Much more convenient. I guess the health department makes businesses keep their soap dispensers filled nowadays.

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