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The first time I saw a foaming soap dispenser I knew I had to have one. I found one in a specialty mail-order catalog, but didn't want to pay the premium price that they asked. I found that several of the liquid soap manufacturers are now making foaming soap dispensers, but the ones I have purchased all seem to be of the same design.

The benefit of the foaming soap dispenser is that you use less soap, and because of the incresed volume, the soap can be more easily distributed over your hands as you wash. The problem is that the designer has - possibly purposefully - made a soap dispenser that malfunctions around the time the soap runs out. The pump plunger begins to stick in the down position, and has to be pulled up manually.

I dissected three of these (Dial brand), and came to the conclusion that the friction of the plastic sleeve that created the pressure which ejects the soap as it slides within its cylinder increases with each use. I also came up with a way to improve the pump mechanism to overcome this problem. The solution requires either two intact mechanisms or a spring very similar to the one used in the mechanism. Here's how to fix it:

  • Disassemble the mechanism - the parts almost all can be separated by hand. The small cylinder containing the spring may be more difficult to open, but forcing it usually does not damage it. I used a blunt wooden rod to help push the tip of the plastic rivet through its insertion point, and the mechanism came apart easily. Be careful that you do not lose the spring or ball bearing that the mechanism contains, and that you watch carefully so that you can reassemble it.
  • Take the second spring, and clip about 10% from each end with pliers or metal clippers. Twist the spring into the coil of the original spring, intertwining them. The truncated spring should rest in the midsection of the original spring. Slip the newly-enhanced spring back into the mechanism, and reassemble the entire mechanism. Place it back in the dispenser and you should have a fully-functioning and reusable foaming soap dispenser!
To refill the dispenser, take any liquid soap and pour the dispenser about a fourth to a third full - filling the rest with water. I've used cheap generic liquid soap, scented shampoo, and even dish soap - all worked wonderfully. My kids love colors and smells. Shake the (closed) container until the soap and water are fully mixed, and pump away!

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