How to Troubleshoot a Simplehuman Soap Dispenser

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Close-up of Simplehuman soap dispenser
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Simplehuman soap dispensers use built-in sensors to automatically dispense soap when you place your hand beneath the unit. This eliminates the need to touch the dispenser, which can help you avoid contact with bacteria. Many common problems associated with these dispensers can be resolved using basic troubleshooting techniques that take just a few minutes to perform.


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Unit Doesn't Light Up

Simplehuman soap dispensers sold after 2010 feature a pair of buttons featuring a "+" and "-" sign. Pressing the "+" button increases the amount of soap the machine releases, while the "-" button decreases the volume of soap per application. When you press these buttons, the light on the unit should come on. If it doesn't, you likely have a battery problem. Start by checking to see if the batteries are properly oriented. If this doesn't work, replace the batteries with new ones to ensure they are functional. As a last resort, remove the batteries and gently clean the contacts on the battery dispenser using a piece of steel wool. If the contacts are rusted beyond repair, contact the company to order a new battery case cover.


Flashing Light

If the light on your soap dispenser flashes when you press the buttons, but you don't hear the pump motor working, you may have a problem with your sensor. Start by wiping the sensor with a damp cloth, then drying it. If this doesn't solve the problem, try moving the dispenser to another part of the room to see if the lighting in your space is impacting the sensor. This troubleshooting step doesn't apply to units produced before 2010.

Red Light Signal

If the light on your sensor turns red or flashes red during dispensing, you may have a battery issue. Replace the batteries with new ones, or use steel wool to clean the battery contacts. You may have to order a new battery case cover if yours is badly corroded. On pre-2010 models, this light will be blue instead of red.


Dispensing Issues

A Simplehuman dispenser that releases soap on its own may have a sensor issue. Start by cleaning the sensor, then check to make sure nothing under the dispenser, such as a shelf, is activating the sensor. If the machine is dispensing too much or too little soap, use the "+" and "-" buttons to adjust the amount of soap dispensed with each application. On a pre-2010 model, use the dial on the machine to adjust the amount of soap, as these earlier models were not equipped with buttons. If adjusting these settings doesn't solve the problem, try flicking, rubbing or wiping down the valve to eliminate any clogs. If you are using a thick soap, turn the dial up or press the "+" button so that the machine is able to dispense enough soap with each application to meet your needs.



Emily Beach

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.