How to Unclog a Liquid Soap Dispenser

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Things You'll Need

  • Pump-style liquid soap dispenser (freestanding or built-in)

  • Sink with stopper

  • Hot water

  • Small scrub brush or old toothbrush

  • Small bowl

  • Paper clip


Add a little white vinegar to the soaking water to remove soap residue and scaly build-up more easily.

Periodically rinse the head of the pump to prevent future clogs.

Don't throw away a clogged soap dispenser. It is easy and fast to fix the clog.

It is frustrating to wrestle with a clogged soap dispenser–especially with dirty hands! Don't let a simple clog stand in the way of more exciting projects. It is easy to remove soap buildup and restore the flow to a clogged liquid soap dispenser. Soon the pump will be working and you'll be clean and on your way.

Disassemble and Clean the Pump

Step 1

Disassemble the pump by unscrewing the lid and removing it from the base. If any of the other parts, such as the straw that draws soap up from the container, detach easily, remove those as well. Do not force anything apart or disassemble the head of the pump.

Step 2

Fill the sink with hot water, and place the pump parts in the sink. Soak the pump for several minutes.

Step 3

Use the scrub brush or toothbrush to scrub the pump, especially at connection points and the opening of the pump head. This will remove any dry soap residue.

Step 4

Flush hot water from the faucet through the straw of the pump.

Test the Pump and Remove Stubborn Clogs

Step 1

Fill the soap vessel, or, for a built-in pump, a small bowl, with hot water. Reassemble the pump top. For a freestanding pump, reattach it to the vessel; for a built-in pump, place the straw in the bowl of water.

Step 2

Test the pump by drawing the hot water through the pump top as you would to dispense soap.

Step 3

Use the paperclip to clean the pump head. Straighten the paper clip and push it through the disassembled straw. Use the point of the paper clip to dig soap residue out of the opening of the pump head.

Step 4

Flush a large volume of hot water from the faucet through the pump straw and head to remove any remaining residue.

Reassemble the Pump

Step 1

Rinse all components well when soap begins flowing freely again.

Step 2

Fill the vessel with soap and reassemble the pump.

Step 3

Reattach the pump head to the vessel.

Heather Vidmar-McEwen

Heather Vidmar-McEwen has worked as a writer and editor for academic and nonprofit organizations since 2002. She has a master's degree in archaeology from Indiana University. Her articles specialize in culture, history, science, crafts and the natural world.