Introduction: Reduce Your Liquid Soap Usage - FOR FREE

Picture of Reduce Your Liquid Soap Usage - FOR FREE

Liquid soap has many advantages over "normal" soap - it smells better, is a bit cheaper (depends on where and what sort of liquid soap you buy), easier to use and, to a certain degree, more hygienic than sharing the same piece of soap with several other people (if you live in a dorm, for example).

It does have a disadvantage, though: If you mindlessly push the dispenser head too far down, you get way more soap than you actually need. A third or a quarter of that amount is normally sufficient to clean you hands - that is, if you don't have bucket-wheel excavator-sized hands.

I've modified my soap dispenser a little bit in order to limit the dispensed amount to this sufficient minimum. I didn't actually spend anything for this modification and it took me less than five minutes to finish.

Sidenote: I'm not a native english speaker, so please bear with my writing style :)

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Picture of Bill of Materials

You need the following items and tools to create the soap dispenser modification:

- the soap dispenser, of course
- a plastic screw-on bottlecap (I recommend the ones from tetrapack packages, their plastic is a bit softer)
- something to drill a hole in the bottlecap (I used the corkscrew of a swiss army knife)
- scissors or small knives for enlarging and carving out the hole in the bottlecap

Step 2: Trimming the Bottlecap

Picture of Trimming the Bottlecap

Start by making a small hole into the bottlecap. Use your knives/scissors to enlarge the hole. Be careful not to cut yourself!!

Step 3: Disassemble the Dispenser

Picture of Disassemble the Dispenser

Carefully move the dispenser head. If you have problems getting it off, you may have to pull a bit stronger. I advise you to do this at a basin since it can get a bit messy when the soap leaks out.

Step 4: Adjust and Mount the Bottlecap

Picture of Adjust and Mount the Bottlecap

This part took up most the five minutes. Adjust the bottlecap to your dispenser and make sure the dispenser head still fits after mounting the bottlecap.

Be CAREFUL not to make the bottlecap too small. You won't have a soap saving effect if you do.

Step 5: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Put the dispenser head back on the bottle. Push the head down with force to make sure that it fits tight - you should do this at a basin because the dispenser is likely to spill some soap when mounting the dispenser head.

Congratulations, you have just reduced your liquid soap usage and made your soap dispenser a little bit more environment-friendly at the same time :)


crossless (author)2009-11-29

 I bought from shop that like 3litres of bottle soap cost the same that refill bottle that has only soap for two bottles. If you have really dirty hands soap that been mixed with water won't clean your hands.

Super_Natural (author)crossless2012-07-14

I imagine it depends on what your hands are really dirty with. If you create suds and wash them good it should be fine for dirt, etc. If I'm not mistaken Pure castile soap does not have a "grease-cutter or degreaser" ingredient that dish soaps have and therefore any grease/oil/lipid grime may be tougher for one to remove?
Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Bronner's and also really enjoyed the documentary. IMHO It's great that the family has carried on the business & grown it with the same values as their father/originator of Dr. Bronner's. It's nice to know your not buying a product from Kraft or Nestle! (if you don't know what I mean check out

Keep em Clean!

My apologies. This instructables doesn't even mention Dr. Bronner's...doh!!
I just did a search for best way to dilute Dr. B's for a hand soap pump and this is what popped up....never assume. I guess that's why I haven't posted before LOL.
I probably sound like a Dr. B's Rep. or something. Sorry.

Zorra31 (author)2010-05-17

This is exactly what I need for the soap in my children's bathroom.  They go notoriously overboard because they have typical 4-year-old judgment and motor skills - they basically just smash down all the way on the pump and assume they need everything that comes out, lol.  Even when I tell them to just use a tiny bit, it's hard for them to control.  If I add a bottle cap around the dispenser as shown (plus dilute the liquid soap with some water per bram's tip), it will probably be perfect!  Thanks!  :)

Super_Natural (author)Zorra312012-07-14

And you know that pump/packaging was by design. A great way to sell more soap from a pure capitalist point of view, I guess. I hope that was nice and positive, maybe not ideal, but at least made the cut for the policy I just read below (long time lurker/learner - love this site!, first time post'er). Great idea, especially for those with children (or those of us that act like children sometimes:-) . I also agree with porcupinemamma, your writing was great. I wish I was multilingual and had an excuse for mine! Thank you.

porcupinemamma (author)2011-07-12

First may I say that you did not have to explain that english is not your first language. You write beautifully! Great Instructable. Thanks so much for sharing!

francoe (author)2009-12-11

A mi me resulta como miserable la idea.

rockytop44 (author)2009-10-04

I save all of my bars of soap pieces and put them in a pumper or dish soap bottle and this is almost an endless soap supply, mix with water and you have it.

AstralQueen (author)2009-09-08

I am pretty slap dash when it comes to these things so I took a shortcut and used a rubber band instead. I ust tied it at the base of the pump head and diluted the soap (3 parts soap, 1 part water.) This should reduce the use of soap. :D

Janinafrunzi (author)2009-09-04

That's a great idea. I know how to make liquid soap even cheaper. Take an empty liquid foam style soap container. It must be the "foam" style. Fill the container about 20% with your favorite liquid soap(not foam style). Fill the rest of the way with water and shake well. The foam liquid soap always costs more than the regular liquid soap but if you notice the foam soap is very watery. That's because it's 80% water to get through the foaming process of the different pump. This makes the normal bottle of foaming liquid soap cost pennies.

Amiga500 (author)Janinafrunzi2009-09-06

You can also use shampoo, body wash, dish soap . . .any detergent, really. It's a great way to use up products that were a bit disappointing at their intended purpose. We've been using a few disposable foaming soap containers for a couple of years now.

MegaMaker (author)2009-09-06

Nice mod!

sweetaddietude (author)2009-09-05

I have used an alternative method for years using a few rubber washers in the same way you used the second cap. Hopes this helps .

sirmorrow (author)2009-09-02

Be careful the company doesn't come after you. They designed it to run out faster. You're costing then money. BTW your English is better than 80% of my high school students... in America!

Arbitror (author)sirmorrow2009-09-03

I agree! The only thing that I didn't get was "Bill of materials". I would use "List of Materials".

Berserk87 (author)Arbitror2009-09-04

Bill of materials is commonly used in a lot of projects. Its usually the materials along with unit number and sometimes price. some places instead of browsing there website or store, you can just bring in a bill of materials.

Arbitror (author)Berserk872009-09-04

I just learned something new then!

wal9000 (author)Arbitror2009-09-04

The term's especially common in engineering/manufacturing areas, I don't know that I've ever heard it used outside the context of people who make stuff as a profession

raytruant (author)sirmorrow2009-09-03

..and better than 90% of my University students, in Canada.

denkbert (author)sirmorrow2009-09-02

Why, thank you :)

bhagawan (author)denkbert2009-09-03

Your english is good and your idea is simple and brilliant. Very practical.

nehmah (author)2009-09-04

Thanks for the informative article. Your English use is fine. I keep thinning out the cheap stuff, but never thought of adding alcohol to the hand soap for an anti-bacterial. With two grandchildren under 6, I may wait a bit. The concept of rinsing soap off seems to elude them. Cordially, Nehmah

rimar2000 (author)2009-09-01

Very clever. This reminds me of the salt shaker for hypertensive, which contains salt but has no holes ...

I_am_Canadian (author)rimar20002009-09-02

May I have a link to that?

rimar2000 (author)I_am_Canadian2009-09-02

No, it is a secret web page.

I_am_Canadian (author)rimar20002009-09-02

Another one...

I feel so left out...

rimar2000 (author)I_am_Canadian2009-09-03

That is not a web page, it is itself a joke. Read carefully my first sentence and you understand.

I_am_Canadian (author)rimar20002009-09-03

Yes yes, I know.

nathski (author)2009-09-03

We have soap dispensers at my office which regularly run out. I often add a dribble of water every now and then to make them last longer.

kylara70 (author)2009-09-02

Wonderful!!! I've explained the concept to my little ones but they are not careful (as children will be), so this would be WONDERFUL! I will set my son to making this adaptation. It will be a GREAT learning experience for him and a money saver for me. Can't beat that!!! Also, I too want to congratulate you on your English. You did very well.

goodgnus (author)2009-09-02

Clever idea to reduce soap per pump. Though I suspect some people will just go for more pumps. Liquid soap is really just gel soap diluted. I venture to say soap company profits went through the roof when they figured out this little trick. I prefer to make my own "diluted soap". I refill my foaming handsoap dispensers with Dr. Bronner's liquid Organic soap. I usually add about 1/4" of Dr. Bronner's to the bottom of the dispenser and fill the rest with water. Test, and add more soap to your liking. Works great and is tens of times cheaper than buying liquid soap refills.

surfreak (author)goodgnus2009-09-02

Dr. Bronner's FTW! Stuff is amazing. I've got to try this with a foaming dispenser... Sounds brilliant!

goodgnus (author)surfreak2009-09-02

Indeed, glad you share the enthusiasm for Dr. Bronner's. I use it as shampoo, facewash and bodywash too. I like the tingle of the Hemp Peppermint. I find it's cheapest in 32oz bottles at Trader Joe's stores.

Kirbsome! (author)2009-09-02

This is pretty good! But wouldn't it be easier just to put a dab of hot-glue where the cap goes?

denkbert (author)Kirbsome!2009-09-02

It surely would be easier. But you would risk melting the thin plastic walls of the bottle.

BOOM5601 (author)Kirbsome!2009-09-02

Probably, but it doesn't look as good.

l3owzaaaah (author)2009-09-02

5 stars to this buddy, i did this with one of those quick handwash things you buy for swine flue protection or whatever. It works wonders and my friends think it's broken so they don't bug me to use it 24/7 Thanks matey, all the best. GB. ☆☆☆☆☆

kerns (author)2009-09-02

+1 to this idea... another option would be to acquire and subsequently refill a foaming liquid soap dispenser.
We have two hand soap dispensers (made by method soap in the US) and I've refilled both many times now... their pump heads *foam* liquid soap, thus dispensing less per pump.
To go still farther, I refill these with liquid hand soaps (and once Palmolive SpecialLadyHandLovin'DishSoap(TM) but *only put in 1/4 /container soap, and then add filtered water*.
The foam still cleans our hands thoroughly but is using much, much less soap per pump.

Nice idea on the modded hand pump nevertheless!

Scott_Tx (author)2009-08-31

I re-use those foaming hand soap dispensers with a watered down cheap dish detergent. I prefer the foaming because the soap doesnt run off your hands like it does with the liquid soaps.

sgt_pinky (author)Scott_Tx2009-09-02

I refill mine with large bulk bottles of shampoo from the $2 shop or similar

bram (author)2009-09-02

Additionaly you can water-down the soap, by adding 1/6th water and shaking it up. That will barely be noticeable, will clean just as well, but every 6th bottle you will have saved one (at the price of plain tap water.)

tmross4 (author)2009-09-01

You can make your own anti-bacterial hand soap with the following items: Bottle with a pump (I re-use ones that I have), cheap body wash with moisturizers, and cheap hand sanitizer. Mix 3 parts body wash and 1 part hand santizer and place in the bottle with a pump. You can add water for a more fluid product and to stretch pennies. You will have to shake the bottle occasionally, the sanitizer and body wash tend to separate. This works just as well as the anti-bacterial soap.

knife141 (author)2009-08-31

Very clever! Thanks for posting.

lemonie (author)2009-08-31

Quantised cleaning - do the manufacturers make the quanta too large to enhance sales..? Great simple job. L

ansanma (author)2009-08-31

Simple, brilliant and very effective. Congratulations!

loximuthal (author)2009-08-31

Wasting soap is a real issue with little kids. They either ignore the soap entirely, or jam it down as far and as hard as they can. I've done something similar with rubber bands. Just wrap them around under the dispenser head a bunch of times. This idea looks like it would work even better.

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