How To Refill A Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser With Regular Liquid Hand Soap

foaming hand soap dispenser on sink beside paper drinking cups

Don’t you just love those foaming hand soap dispensers?

I do.

I like that I get just enough soap without having an extra ton to rinse off, but most of all, I really like that because they dispense less actual soap with each pump, my family and I can save money and still get our hands clean!

May I just say something here?

One thing that I really don’t like is paying for water. No; not my water bill, silly (although that can be a little frustrating as well). What I mean is I don’t like paying for watered down products, at the same price (or more?) than the regular liquid product. You’re actually paying for less product and more water.

Examples include “light” salad dressing (just put less on your salad if you’re trying to cut calories or add your own water!), cheap shampoo (I’m actually washing my hair in water, so please just give me shampoo!), and then according to my husband, there’s antifreeze too. Apparently you used to have to add water, but now they provide the “convenience” of the premixed product… close to the same price for the watered down product. I’m sure there’s something else I’ve forgotten, but you get my point.

There. End of rant.

So what was I saying? Oh, yes. I do not like paying for water, but I really like my foaming hand soap dispensers.

So what’s a girl to do?

By the way, before I tell you what to do, I wanted to mention that I got this wonderful idea from a foaming hand soap dispenser that I purchased years ago from one of my favorite direct marketing companies. The dispenser came with directions to refill it using regular soap, and lines to guide you on the side of the container.

One day I had the amazing realization that this concept could simply be applied to any foaming soap container!

I purposely went out and bought some foaming soaps, just so I’d have the dispensers. Then I refilled them using this simple method.

One more note: If you wish to purchase a fancy, nicer-looking foaming hand soap dispenser, I found a bunch on Amazon. This is a nice option.

But since we’re discussing saving money, you have the choice to reuse an empty store-bought foaming hand soap container. Either way, you’ll still save money on the refill.

Mrs. Meyer's hand soap refill

Use any liquid hand soap (refill packages are usually more economical).

Here’s the scoop on what to do:

1. First, remove the lid from your empty foaming hand soap dispenser.

empty Dial foaming hand soap dispenser

Any brand will do.

2. Pour in approximately one inch (or less) of regular liquid hand soap

pouring liquid hand soap into foaming dispenser

Add soap to empty dispenser.

liquid soap in dispenser

Fill to about one inch (or one quarter of the dispenser). A little less usually works just fine.

3. Next, add water to the dispenser, stopping about one inch from the top (since they need air to operate).

add water to foaming soap dispenser

Simply add tap water.

Stop adding water at line (if provided), or about one inch from top of hand soap dispenser.

Stop adding water at line (if provided), or about one inch from top of hand soap dispenser.

4. Screw the pump back on to your dispenser.

5. Gently shake or move the dispenser back and forth to mix the soap and water.

6. Press the spout and enjoy economical, foaming hand soap!

foaming hand soap dispenser in use

I have recently noticed that on one of the brands of soap I use there are instructions on how to refill their dispenser with regular soap refill (and I must say, I’m impressed!). However, their suggested amount of soap to use in the dispenser is one half! I tried my usual, smaller amount and it works just fine!

liquid hand soap in dispenser 2

Experiment with the amount if you wish.

Beware of moisturizing hand soaps, as many foaming-type dispensers will clog with this variety.

So… probably have a foaming soap dispenser somewhere in your house. You very likely have some regular soap (or better yet, an economical refill size).

I know that you can hardly wait to try this tip for yourself!

Kudos to those of you who figured this out on your own. If that is the case, you probably didn’t make it much past the title of this post, but if you did read this far, thank you for sticking with me! If you have any further points to add, please feel free to share!


Do you prefer foaming hand soap to full strength? Have you ever refilled your dispensers using this method? Am I the only one who dislikes paying extra for water?

15 replies
  1. Frankie Sue Newell
    Frankie Sue Newell says:

    I can’t get my soap dispenser to foam. It is new and I don’t know what went wrong If it does not foam, but comes out part foam and the rest liquid. What did I do wrong?


    • Ann Guinn
      Ann Guinn says:

      Hi Frankie. Thanks for your question. If your dispenser is brand new, is it possible that it is faulty? I would also suggest reading any instructions that came with your dispenser. Many of them do not recommend using highly moisturizing soaps, for instance. The other thing is that you do need to gently mix or shake the dispenser back and forth to thoroughly mix the soap and water after you fill it. Often it takes a few pumps to get it flowing properly, but then it should be fine. I hope this helps.

  2. Nikki
    Nikki says:

    That was an epic rant straight from my daily lifet! I too, feel the whole love/hate relationship of buying watered down products!! Love the product. Let me have concentrated version & I’ll do it myself! You literally made me laugh out loud. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is aware of the deceitful, more expensive, shady watered down conveniences like cheap laundry detergent.. But it was The salad dressing comment.. That made me smile ear to ear. Common sense is a great thing to have.. Ive been adding water to my salad dressings since my early 20s which was in the early 2000s.
    Not for dieting but because I don’t like globs of dressing making mush out ofn something meant to be crisp light and refreshing. Like a school house rock from waaay back even b4 my day.. *don’t drown your food*
    Ok where was I??? Ahhh yes! ~~~Great post! Im glad I found your site today!

    • Ann Guinn
      Ann Guinn says:

      So glad this rang true with you and made you chuckle as well. We sure need to laugh, especially right now, right? Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. 🙂

    • Ann Guinn
      Ann Guinn says:

      I can’t say I’ve ever tried it with dish soap, but I don’t see why not. Now that I think of it, I believe years ago I purchased a foam type dish soap designed to use directly on your sponge/cleaning brush or dishes. I think this would be preferable to just pumping foam soap into your dishwater, as it would be too diluted. Give it a try and let us know!

    • Kirsten
      Kirsten says:

      Yes, it does work.

      My daughter refilled a bath and body works foam dispenser with Dawn and water and it works perfectly.

  3. Nancy in Florida
    Nancy in Florida says:

    This works like a charm! My new foaming soap dispensers for bathroom had instructions on the tag to fill with 1 part liquid soap and 5 parts water. I found this article before I flipped over the tag, ha.


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