How To Open A Soap Dispenser

If you’re struggling to get that pump-action bottle nozzle working, or if you can’t figure out how to open the wall-mounted soap dispenser at work (and don’t want to have to go and ask your boss), then you’ve come to the right place.

To learn how to open either of these two most common types of soap dispensers, just follow our simple step-by-step guides below. For all other information, or if you have further questions, see our FAQ section at the end of this article.

How to open a pump-action bottle soap dispenser

  1. When you first buy a pump-action soap bottle for your home from the store, the nozzle itself will be locked in place (so that soap doesn’t pour out all over your shopping, and so that it can’t be used in store).
  2. To unlock the nozzle, simply twist the pump-head clockwise (or anti-clockwise) until it pops up, and ‘opens’.
  3. You can now use this soap dispenser until it runs out. If you’d then like to reuse it by refilling it, you can ‘open’ it up further simply by unscrewing the pump-cap at the neck of the bottle. Just turn it anti-clockwise and pull the cap, pump, and nozzle right out.

How to open a wall-mounted soap dispenser (automatic and manual)

  1. Wall-mounted soap dispensers, the sort you see in public or commercial restrooms, are easy to open, but they require a key.
  2. This key, called a barrel key, is typically shaped like a key handle with a cylindrical shape attached. First, you must locate the key for the specific model/type of wall-mounted soap dispenser you’re attempting to open. The key will have been included in the kit at initial purchase.
  3. Next, locate the lock on the top of the wall-mounted soap dispenser.
  4. Fit the key into the lock and give it a small turn anti-clockwise. You should feel the lock unlock.
  5. You can now pull the front of the dispenser down so you can refill it, after which you just need to lock the dispenser again by pushing the lid back flush with the wall, turning the key clockwise, and removing the key for future use.

And there you have it! Two easy methods for opening two common soap dispensers. For any other information or additional queries, see our FAQs below.


Why would I need to open a soap dispenser?

When we talk about ‘opening’ a soap dispenser, this could mean one of many things. After all, there are for starters simply lots of different soap dispenser types! Most typically, though, the main reason you’ll need to open a soap dispenser is in order to refill it, whether at home or at your place of work. 

Alternatively, though, you may be wondering how – with those classic pump-action soap dispensers you get for your kitchen/bathroom at the store – how to ‘open’ them so that you can start using them. In other words, the nozzle is locked and you need to unlock it so you can start pumping away on it.

Whatever your reasons for needing to open your soap dispenser, we’re here to help. Just follow our step-by-step instructions above to learn how to open just about any soap dispenser.

Do all soap dispensers open the same way?

No, not all soap dispensers open the same way. The method for opening soap dispensers differs from dispenser to dispenser. It would take all day and night to explain the opening mechanisms for each and every type of free-standing, pouring, pumping and/or wall-mounted soap dispenser out there.

Instead, we’ve chosen to focus on the two most common types of soap-dispenser and their opening mechanisms. These two types are the reloadable wall-mounted (sometimes automatic, sometimes manual) soap dispensers of the kind you see in restaurant or public restrooms, and the smaller pump-action soap bottles you most often buy for your home from the store.

To learn how to open either of these, see our tutorials above.

Can anyone open a public bathroom wall-mounted soap dispenser?

Thankfully, the answer to this is: no, not just anyone can open a wall-mounted soap dispenser. Typically, only the person (or people) with access to the specially-designed key can open a wall-mounted soap dispenser. Read our tutorials above to learn more.

Can I reuse old soap dispensers?

Yes! You can absolutely reuse old, finished pump-action soap dispensers, and what’s more, you should! We’re all aware of the environmental climate crisis our world is currently facing, with wildfires raging, polar ice caps melting, animals going extinct and our seas full of plastic. Well, one of the best ways you can ensure that you’re having as positive an impact on the world around you as possible is to ensure that you reuse, make do, and mend wherever you can.

The same principle applies to old soap dispensers. If you’ve finished that last pump-action soap dispenser you bought from the store, then instead of just chucking it in the garbage, why not see if you can reuse it by buying liquid soap in a recyclable container, and putting it into your old pump-action! You could even get creative and use the pump-action dispenser for art or any number of other household chores, such as watering the plants!