Soap Pumps: Care & FAQ

Using the wrong soap can damage or break your new soap dispenser!  

Wondering how to care for your new soap pump or need troubleshooting tips?  


FYI most soap dispensers are made by the same foreign manufacturers and most will experience the same problems.  I really want my customers to be happy.  So I try to be as transparent as possible and let you know how long your soap dispenser may last and what you can do to extend its life as much as possible before you need to purchase a replacement. 


Frequently Asked Questions:

* Why do soap dispensers clog?  (Quick answer: Using the wrong type of soap, using your soap pump infrequently)

- The manufacture does NOT recommend using soap that contains an antibacterial, bleach, chlorine or lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) in the ingredients. These ingredients are in dish soaps and Soft Soap. So you should NOT use these soaps. If you use a soap that contains these ingredients then over time these chemicals will eat through the protective layers of the pump and cause the pump to rust (pump out a dark color) and/ or stop working (clog, seize).

- Glycerin based soaps can also cause clogs.  Try using an olive oil based liquid soap instead or try adding water to your soap to thin the glycerin.

- Dial or olive oil based soaps are better soaps to use.


- Can I use dish soap with my new soap pump?

- Dish soaps are full of harsh chemicals and they are very thick/concentrated.  This means they are likely to cause clogs and they may strain your pump causing it to seize/ stop pumping.  If your pump is clogged and you push down on it the soap will be forced to find an exist other than out the tip of the pump (such as around the neck of the pump). 

- If you really want to use your pump to dispense dish soap you can try watering down your soap, choosing a soap that doesn’t have harsh chemicals and clean your pump often so you remove clogs before they seize your pump.  Please keep in mind most dish soaps will shorten the life of your pump.


Are you using your soap pump often enough?

- Infrequent use can let the soap or lotion sit inside the pump and dry out.  If you try to pump the soap/lotion out and feel resistance stop pumping, and clean your pump.  If you keep pumping you can break the spring inside your pump. The solution is to use your pump frequently, do not use concentrated soaps, clean your pump and the tip of the pump regularly.


* Why do soap dispensers rust? (Quick answer: Using the wrong soap; leaving soap on the pump spout; not cleaning your pump)

- There is a protective finish on your pump to discourage rusting.  But repeated use, hard water and soaps can slowly eat away this protection.  The solution is to wipe off any soap that accumulates on the tip of the pump with a non-scratch scouring pad then rub a little Vaseline or beeswax on the metal. This creates a barrier so oxygen can’t get to the metal and cause further rust.  White vinegar with warm water may help with minor rust inside the pump. If the brand of soap you’re using builds up on the pump tip try adding water to your soap to thin it.  You can also try using a soap that contains less glycerin or clean your pump more frequently.

- If your pump has rusted on the inside (rusty colored soap) there isn’t a fix for this except to purchase a new pump and in the future only use the soap types recommended by the manufacture. 


* Why do soap dispensers drip? (Quick answer: soap is too thick)

- If you use concentrated, thick or glycerin based soaps then your pump might occasionally drip soap from the tip.  Thicker soaps stay at the top of the soap dispenser instead of falling back down. 

-Try pump water or water + white vinegar through the pump

- Thin your soap with distilled water so the soap is less concentrated.

-Do not soak or submerge your soap pump under water.


* How long do soap pumps last?

How long a soap pump lasts depends on how you use, or abuse it. For me these pumps work well but I use the types of soap recommended by the manufacture.

I try to buy the highest quality pumps I can but today’s manufactures don’t make items to last forever, especially not at this inexpensive price point. But if you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations you should be able to enjoy your soap pump for many months before needing to replace it. Pumps can last from 4 months to 2 years before a replacement may be needed. 

Pumps that break quickly were used with the wrong type of soap/lotion, were used infrequently, or were damaged by hard water. 

I test each pump by pumping water through it to make sure it works before I ship it to you.  If your pump has a manufacturer’s defect you can ship it back to me within 60 days of your purchase date for a refund or replacement of the pump piece only.  I also sell replacement pumps if you need one in the future.

I have these pumps in all 3 of my bathrooms and they are subjected to the use of many people including my not so gentle children.  So far they all work great. 


* Cleaning your soap dispenser pump:

  • Before each soap refill clean your pump. Pump out remaining soap/lotion.  Pump warm water (distilled if possible) + vinegar through your pump until it pumps freely. Clean other areas with toothpick, pipe cleaner.
  • Do not use harsh cleaners to clean your pump.
  • Do not put your pump in the dishwater
  • Do not submerge your pump under water


Trouble Shooting:

Can you pump water through your pump?  If that works then perhaps your soap just needs to be diluted a bit more?

Is the straw firmly pushed into the pump head so it can create a vacuum?

Is your pump stuck in a down position? - If so you may be using the wrong soap or have a clog.  If you think the soap has clogged try rinsing  your pump head in warm water to get rid of a clog and clean the tip with a small fluffy pipe cleaner. After the clog is removed pump olive oil through the pump.  Then to prevent another clog use a soap recommended by the manufacture (see above) and try diluting  your soap so it is 1/3 soap and 2/3 water.  This will still work well for cleaning but should also increase the life of your pump and lead to less clogs.

If all else fails email me with pictures and I’ll see what I can do to help from afar. I can help you problem solve (starting with the above steps).  If your pump head breaks, and you would like a new one, you can buy just a replacement pump head through my online store and it will ship with cheap First Class shipping.  


* For bottles with black rubber adapters added to pump head: “What are the little black specks?”

I make each adapter and in the process I have to reform the rubber.  This creates little black specks.  Don’t worry the rubber if a food safe rubber so the specks are harmless.


* “What is the moisture in my bottle/pump head?”

I rinse each bottle and I test each pump/spray head with water before I ship it.  I really try to get all the water back out but occasionally you may see some condensation or a few drops of water.


* For bottles with black rubber adapters added to the pump head:  “How can I decrease the rocking motion of the pump head?”

My handmade adapters really are the best items out there to use with recycled glass bottles.  They seal much better and have MUCH less rocking motion than say the bottles that people drill a hole in a cork and use with a pump head… L  If your pump head rocks a bit try gently putting a finger between the top of the black rubber adapter and the bottom of the pump head.  Then gently slide the attachment down say 1/8” all the way around.  This will recreate the gap that used to exist between your pump head and the attachment and give you much less rocking motion.  You just don’t want to put excessive pressure on the top of the pump head as there is a spring inside your pump head we don’t want to break.


* If you ordered a glass bottle with soap pump: Be especially careful NOT to wet the bottle’s label (unless you ordered a bottle with custom vinyl lettering).  Each alcohol brand has a different type of bottle label and some label types tolerate getting wet better than others.  Patron labels and vinyl labels/lettering do well with exposure to water.  Brands with a paper based label would not do as well exposed to water….  **
- Alcohol bottles are up-cycled so bottle and it’s label may  have slight imperfections.


*  A few buyers ask me to apply a clear coat to their bottle for an extra charge (custom order). IF you asked for a clear coat to be added to your bottle as part of a custom order that will add a barrier between your label and water.  No barrier is perfect, so please don’t scrub your label.  Please use a paper towel to pat the label dry if it gets wet.  Patron bottles do NOT need this coating.  If you did NOT order a special coating you can still add your own coating.  At your local hardware store look for a clear spray on protectant that says it is UV resistant.


Thank you for your purchase!  You are allowing me to stay home with my kiddos for a bit longer and we all thank you for that!!!!


Enjoy and feel free to email me with any questions or suggestion! I’d love to see pictures of how you are using your upcycled bottle!