How to Maintain Your Commercial Soap Dispensers

Man washing hands with soap under a tap

Good hand hygiene saves lives. This might sound over dramatic but it is true, and we’re not just talking about Covid-19, effective hand cleansing protects and breaks the transmission path of a range of diseases, it breaks the cycle of pathogens and helps to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance. It protects against healthcare-associated infections. We’re lucky enough to be in the 60% of the world that has access to hand washing facilities. In recent research by The Joint Monitoring Program run by UNICEF and WHO it found that in 42 of 78 countries analysed, less than half of the population had basic handwashing facilities at home.  Read that again… ‘at home’ so we’re not talking about at work or schools, over half couldn’t wash their hands at home.  Highlighting the lack of basic hygiene facilities isn’t the purpose of this article but I just wanted to put into context how lucky we are to be able to wash our hands.  But as something we now take for granted have we become blasé about it? Covid-19 has certainly brought it to the forefront of our minds but a year on, are we letting our standards slip?  Are we honestly washing thoroughly for at least 20 seconds?

So let’s get to the crux of this blog; providing good hand washing facilities encourages good practices. And every pair of hygienic hands helps to protect others. Soap provision should be considered alongside other health and safety measures. A broken or empty soap dispenser isn’t great for the washroom user but nor does it reflect your company values and care for your staff and visitors.

At Dudley Industries, we pride ourselves on making quality, robust soap dispensers that will serve you for the long term; so much so that each dispenser is warranted for 10 years. We believe metal is the ideal material as it’s robust, hygienic, easy to clean and will stand up to the demands placed on it in the busiest of washrooms.  We also think it’s incredibly stylish but we might be biased on that one!

Yes it may cost a little more at the beginning but it’s an investment worth doing for the long term rewards. Let’s take a look at the different variables within a soap dispenser and how best to look after them.

Soap Dispenser Maintenance

Does it really matter what soap you use?

 Not all soaps are the same. Firstly, there are liquid soaps and foam soaps, both of these start out as a liquid, but the foam soap has a foaming agent which is aerated when dispensed through the pump, i.e., has air injected into it to give it the foamy consistency. The liquid soap is not altered during the dispensing process. This means that it’s important to use the correct pump for the choice of soap. We recognise the importance of this and ensure all of our soap dispensers specify whether it is suitable for liquid or foam formulations.

The choice of liquid or foam is often down to personal preference. Foam soap is often seen as more cost effective as less formulation is used with each dispense. The ‘pre-lathered’ soap could also require less water to lather and rinse which is a further cost saving for businesses. The environmental benefits may also go further in that foam soaps are considered to break down quicker meaning that less soap enters the drainage system. With all this being said, liquid soap is preferred by many as it simply feels more effective for washing our hands.

A further formulation we need to consider is hand sanitiser; this generally requires a liquid style pump unless the formulation specifically specifies something else. Find out more about our range of hand sanitiser dispensers.

Whilst liquid or foam pumps are our standards, other pumps are available such as spray or creams etc. If you are looking for a specific solution speak to our team about our bespoke solutions.

What are the different types of dispensers?

The majority of our soap dispensers are bulk fill, also known as top-up.  These dispensers house a plastic reservoir that is filled with your choice of formulation.  These are usually filled from 5L bottles which can be more cost effective when purchased.  Even some of the most premium soap brands can be purchased in these bulk quantities to suit top-up dispensers. These large bottles are generally considered better for the environment as they reduce the amount of plastic used for individual bottles and can also be recycled when emptied. Bulk fill dispensers also allow you to change formulations and don’t tie you to a particular brand or type of soap.

That’s not to say cartridge or bottle filled soap dispensers don’t have their own advantages. Smaller bottles are easier to store and are potentially easier for the maintenance teams to replace, avoiding handling large heavy bottles and decanting into dispensers. Certain soap dispensers have the option for cartridge refills, such as the Platinum range.

How to Re-fill

 The refilling process is simple. All Dudley Industries soap dispensers have a lock, this helps to protect the contents from theft, contamination and general mischief. Wherever possible the same lock type is used across ranges so that a single key will open a range of products such as soap, toilet roll holders, paper towel dispensers etc. making it easier for the cleaning and maintenance teams.

Once your soap dispenser is empty or needs refilling, simply unlock the cover, remove the lid of the reservoir and fill with your preferred soap. Replace the lid and close the cover. For new or empty dispensers that haven’t been used, press the button or cover a few times to prime the soap ready for the first user.

If the pump nozzle is blocked by dried soap, remove the reservoir and empty the soap, place a small amount of warm water into the reservoir and press the pump a number of times.  The warm water will help to dissolve the congealed soap and help to clear the blockage. Never place anything into the nozzle to try and remove the blockage; this will inevitably cause long term damage to the pump.

What is the Correct Way to Clean Your Soap Dispenser

 The cleaning of dispensers should be incorporated into the daily cleaning schedule for the washroom.  For daily cleaning, wiping stainless steel soap dispensers with a damp soft cloth followed by drying will suffice. We do not advise the use of any soap, detergents, bleach or abrasive cleaners, these should never be used. For more thorough cleaning use a specific stainless-steel cleaner but as best practice always test on a small area first before using all over.

If the dispensers have a paint finish, for example our white products, or clear lacquers such as our Platinum range, wipe over with a soft damp cloth and dry thoroughly with another soft cloth.  Again do not use any chemical cleaners on these finishes.

With simple maintenance, metal and stainless-steel soap dispensers will provide years of reliable service through their inherent corrosion resistance, strength and aesthetic. Read our guide to cleaning stainless steel for more information on the best ways to clean your dispensers.

What to do if your soap dispenser is broken?

 Our range of soap dispensers is made to be reliable, and this is supported through our 10-year warranty. However, if for any reason your soap dispenser isn’t working first check it for any damage; has it been vandalised in any way?

Soap dispensers can often become blocked where soap has dried in the nozzle preventing it from proper use. If the nozzle is blocked follow the advice above for using warm water above to help clear it.

If the dispenser isn’t working following installation check that it has been installed level and in a straight position. It may also be worth checking that the backplate is level and that it is not skewed as this can affect the pump mechanism.

If all these areas are found to be correct and the problem persists, please contact our customer services team and we will look into the solutions available.

 Browse Dudley Industries range of soap dispensers

 The benefits of effective hand hygiene are immense. Good hand hygiene facilities with basins, warm water and reliable soap and drying methods all work together to encourage washroom visitors to undertake good hand hygiene which in turn protects your whole team.

Dudley Industries produce a range of commercial soap dispensers that are easy to use, clean and maintain to ensure good levels of hygiene for all washroom visitors. For more information about the different types of soap dispensers available visit our Washroom Products section, alternatively please speak to our team who will happily guide you through the range to find the best solution on +44 (0) 1253 738311.