Kitchen Sink Soap Dispenser Not Working- 5 DIY Repairs

By Kristy Warren •  Updated: 01/07/21 •  14 min read


Kitchen soap dispensers are the life savers, when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene in a kitchen.

But upon use, they can run out of order in a number of ways. And not always you’d like to invite a plumber in for this issue. Not at least for a DIY who loves to solve his/her own problems. 

To save the day, we’ve figured out EVERY single way that a kitchen soap dispenser can go wrong, and put together the solutions to them.  All you need to do is, identify which route matches with your dispenser and get into the fix.  

Put your DIYer hat on, and let’s get into it.

Kitchen Soap Dispenser: The Basics

Before making our hands dirty with kitchen soap dispenser fixes, we’ll take some time to learn about this device. We’ll talk how does it work, and why it might not work. So that, rest of this troubleshooting guide becomes easier for you to understand. 

How Kitchen Sink Soap Dispensers Work

Just press the dispenser next to the kitchen sink and soap will come out, right? Well, that’s how it’s operated. But behind the operation, here’s how does a kitchen sink dispenser really work- 

When you press the head, it compresses the spring. There’s a ball at the end of the spring which draws the soap(dispense) because of the upward air pressure the pump has created. Once you release the head, the spring resets and so does the ball. As the ball returns, it seals up the pump pipe and prevents the liquid soap to flow back to the bottle. 

The working principle is the same for lotion dispensers, shampoo, etc. 

Sometimes, the bottle is directly connected to the head. And sometimes, an extension tube is used to connect the bottle and the pump. 

Kitchen Sink Soap Dispenser Parts

You might have understood which is what in a kitchen soap dispenser. But for the record, here are all of the major parts and their functions- 

The head contains the pump, and the pump pipe goes through the soap container. The threaded head of the container connects to the threaded pipe.

The upper part of the threaded pipe is used to hold the whole device tight into the sink edge. A lock nut(not in the picture) is used to secure the device against kitchen sink surface. And the container bottle connects to the bottom part of the threaded pipe. 

Why Soap Dispenser Doesn’t Work?

Kitchen soap dispenser might not work for any of these problems- 

  1. The pump stops pumping the soap properly. 
  2. The container bottle breaks or leaks, which drains all the soap away. 
  3. The head or the spout tip breaks and stops functioning. 
  4. Mistakes or misfits in installation of the kitchen soap dispenser. 

No matter whatever the reasons is, all you’ll notice is soap isn’t coming out as pushed. 

Can You Fix Soap Pump of Your Kitchen?

Yes, of course. No matter wherever the problem is, as long as you can troubleshoot and identify, it’s either repairable or replaceable. And sometimes, even just a few adjustments in the setup of a kitchen soap dispenser gets it fixed and back on order again. 

Stick tight throughout the next few segments where we’ll take you through a 5-step fixing guide. Check which symptom/problem matches with your one, and follow the respective solution. 

Let’s go.

Problem 1: Soap Dispenser Pump Isn’t Working

Most of the time, the dispenser looks good from the outside but it stops pumping soap. This is one of the most common issues of soap dispensers. So, how to solve it?

Well, just follow our step by step process and it’ll be ready in no time. Here are the steps-

Fix 1: Check for Soap

We know that it’s obvious. But don’t get all pissed off right now. Sometimes, the soap solution just clings to the wall. But actually, the soap level goes down too low. So, it’s better if you peek directly into the bottle.

If you’ve run out of soap, it’s time for a refill or replace the soap bottle with a new one. Check out all the refill options from amazon

Fix 2: Give Some Extra Presses

Sometimes, the thickness of the soap becomes too much for the pump. So, it fails to bring out soap in one press. If you give a few extra presses, then the soap may come out.

To fix this in future, we’d suggest to add 1/8th of water with the soap, which will thin it a bit. 

Fix 3: Flush Away The Dried Up Soap in the Tube/Pump

It’s a very common event that liquid soap dries up and clogs the cross section of either the pump pipe or somewhere else across the funnel. Hence, your kitchen soap dispenser pump stops pumping. 

Here’s a quick guide to solve the problem- 

Step 1- Remove The Pump

Take off the head of the dispenser and the pump will come out with it. For some models, you need to rotate the head for a while to take out the pump. 

Step 2- Pump Underwater

Take a bowl of mildly warm water. Take the separated pump underwater and start pumping. Do this for 15 minutes. This will dissolve all the hardened soap(as soap is soluble in water) and clear out the path inside the pump tube. 

Step 3- Clear the Pump

Once the pump starts moving, take it out of the water. Start pumping it on the air so that the water inside gets flushed out. Next, put it back in the dispenser and start using it.

Fix 4: Replace The Troublesome Spring Causing Depressed Trigger

Sometimes, the trigger doesn’t pop up after a press. This means that your kitchen sink soap dispenser will stuck and won’t pump at all.  

Most probably, the spring in your pump has lost its tension. Or it could be forced into an unwanted position. So, how to fix it?Try to access the insides of the pump. If you can bring out the damage spring, replace it with a new one of the exact same size. If the spring simply doesn’t come out, try holding the bottom of it, push down on the top piece, and turn the spring. 

See how Average Homeowner channel from Youtube explains it- 

Sometimes, the trigger can get stuck because of different kind of oil build as well. If there’s no way to replace the spring, simply replace the pump.Here’s a few soap dispenser pump replacements that you can choose from- 

What to Do If A New Soap Dispenser Pump not Working

If a new soap dispenser pump isn’t working, the most likely reason is the pump is locked. This happens if the top/head is twisted. Done so, this will make the dispenser pump ineffective. 

Simply try to learn how the locking mechanism works from your model manual, and try to reverse the move. 9 out of 10 times, this will fix your problem with a new soap dispenser pump. 

Problem 2: Broken Soap Dispenser Bottle

This means that your bottle is leaking soap. And if this problem arises, then you have two options. You can either try to fix the broken bottle or you can replace the bottle.

We will help you with both the approaches. So, no worries. Just make up your mind and follow our suggestions-

Fix 1: Fix the Broken Bottle

Most of the soap dispensers are made out of plastic. So, if you can find out the exact broken spot, then it’s pretty easy to fix it.

Once you find the broken spot, clean it up with some dry clothes. It’s better if you clear out the soap from the dispenser. Once, you’re done preparing, fetch a Krazy glue pen.

Next, apply the glue along with the cracks. Hopefully, the glue will seal the cracks on its own. Test the sealings by pouring in some water.

If the glue alone doesn’t work, then fetch a plastic sheet and glue it on the cracked dispenser wall.

Fix 2: Replace the Bottle

Here we’re assuming that you’ve already got yourself a new bottle. If not, then order up a new one. Beware of the mismatch of the threaded tube and the head of your new soap bottle. If they’re not of the same diameter, it just won’t work at all. 

That said, here’s a few best soap dispenser bottles of different sizes that you can choose from- 

Once you’ve got the bottle at hand, get to work. At first, reach the old bottle under your counter or sink. Then grab it and twist it counterclockwise. After it comes off, insert the new bottle in its place. Twist it clockwise.

However, don’t tighten it too much.

Special Note: Sometimes, you’d like to use an extension tube for a comfortable and faster replacement of soap bottle/liquid soap. If so, make sure to use a Check Valve so that you don’t end up bubbles within the pipe, or not to let the soap down to the container. Also, it helps to keep under kitchen faucet dry

Here’s a video from Old McWaller explaining how this hack can be done right. 

Problem 3: The Head Broke

This problem is a bit uncommon. However, if this happens then try to locate the exact location.

The head can break off in three places. The spout tip, soap head base and broken pump tip are the most pressured areas.

However, the solution varies from place to place. Now, let’s look at the exact solutions-

Fix 1: Dealing with A Broken Spout Tip 

Here you cannot do much. Changing the dispenser head is the only solution here. Try to find the exact looking dispenser head. If you don’t find any, then it’s time to change the whole dispenser pump.

Fix 2: Repair The Broken Soap Head Base

This is the spot where the whole pump connects with the main dispenser. So, here the only solution is to replace the whole dispenser. Because even the new pump won’t connect with the bottle without that specific location.

Fix 3: Repair The Broken Pump Tip 

Here you’ll need a new pump. However, if you cannot grab and pull up the broken part then just replace the whole thing.

Problem 5: Installation Blunder

Sometimes the dispenser moves while pumping soap. This could result in the dispenser malfunctions.

So, why does the pump move? Well, the most logical reason is installation blunder. So, to fix the problem, you have to reinstall it.

Fix: Reinstalling The Dispenser

This time install the dispenser slowly and carefully. Make sure that the bottle and pump stay straight while tightening the bottle.

Hopefully, your dispenser will work properly from this point. If it doesn’t that probably you have any of the above problems.

Foam Soap Dispenser not Working

Many homemakers prefer using foaming soap dispensers instead of regular ones because of a couple of conveniences. First, it dispenses non-thick soap foam that doesn’t slip away. And secondly, foam soap dispensers are easier to install. 

That said, the operation of foam soap dispensers is a bit different than regular ones. And the reasons why it might stop working are different as well. 

Here are the reasons followed by the solution

Problem 1: Dried Up Soap Foam

Because foam soap has much less liquid content in it, it dries up very fast. Hence, it might clog up the pump pipe or head if left unused for a few days. 

The solution to this is to take the pump out and pump a glass of mildly warm water with it. Hopefully, it’ll fix the problem. 

Problem 2: The Soap is Not Mixed With Water

Some foam dispensers require to add water to liquid soap at a certain ratio. If you didn’t do that, or used wrong kind of soap refill, the soap dispenser might not work. 

The solution is to bring out the soap container out, and do necessary changes to the water:soap ratio. 

For rest of the problems, the solution is identical to non-foam, regular soap dispensers. As example, if your foaming soap dispenser gets stuck, the reason is a damaged spring, just like it is for a non-foam kitchen sink dispenser. 

Want to Upgrade to A Better kitchen soap dispenser?

Even after all these all these attempts of fixing your kitchen soap dispenser, things might not turn around. In that case, the only option left is going for a brand new replacement. And here goes our choices for the upgrade- 

5 Best Kitchen Soap Dispensers of Our Choice- 

Some Tips Before You Finish

Don’t overflow the dispenser by fulling it to its teeth. Leave half-inch space at the top of the bottle. This will allow the pump to work properly. And you’ll get fewer problems.

Also, use transparent or semi-transparent soap bottles so that you can foresee if you’re running out of soap or not. 

For buying new soap bottle, or pump, make sure the diameter matches with the respective parts of the hole of your kitchen sink surface. 

Lastly, clean and maintain the soap dispenser from both inside and outside as instructed by the manufacturer. 

Also, keep the area around the kitchen sink clean. Prevent any grease build up, solid specks of dirt buildup etc around the dispenser area. Use good kitchen degreasers for that purpose. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to fix a broken soap pump?

If the pump is stuck, replace the spring with one that’s measured the same. In case the entire pump is broken, it’s better to replace the entire pump with a new one. 

What kind of soap do you put in kitchen sink dispenser?

For non-foaming models, there are liquid soap refills available in the market that you can use. Also, some brands sells replacement soap bottle with soap inside them. 

Where to place soap dispenser on kitchen sink?

If you’re a right handed person, you should install the soap dispenser on the right of your kitchen faucet. And vice versa for left handed people. 

How to unclog/clean a kitchen sink soap dispenser?

Take out the pump of the dispenser, and pump away a glass of mild-warm water with it. This will clean and unclog the pump and it’s pipe all the way. 

How to tighten kitchen sink soap dispenser?

Just reach to the lock nut of your kitchen soap dispenser and move it upwards across the threaded pipe. this will tighten your kitchen soap dispenser. 

Bottom Line

We’re at the end. Hopefully, you’ll solve your ‘kitchen sink soap dispenser not working’ – issue. To be honest, the whole process is pretty easy once you know what to do. However, make sure to keep your eyes safe while working with the soap dispensers.

Now go and bring that soap dispenser back to life. Good luck. Happy washing.

Kristy Warren

Hello, I’m Kristy and the person behind KitchenPicker.com. I regularly post daily life kitchen-oriented things like kitchen hacks, kitchen tools, utensils, and related articles. The purpose of this blog is to make an archive and share my ideas and knowledge with my followers.