Kitchen Hack – filling the soap dispenser

filling kitchen soap dispenser collage

Our kitchen counter has a soap dispenser built into it.  While this is handy to use, it is a pain to fill.  It is so annoying that I often find myself just sitting the bottle of soap either next to it or under the counter to use.

After a visit from some friends earlier this week, where they tried to use the obvious source of soap (the dispenser) and found it empty, I renewed my search for a way to fill this container.  Because of how this is installed, there are two ways to add soap: 1. from above, 2. from below.

If you chose to do it from below, you had to clear out the cabinet, lay on  your back, reach up into a space you could not really see into and unscrew the bottle.  Once it was filled, you then had to hold a heavy bottle full of soap, hoping not to spill it, while you tried to align it with the threads of top section.  This would all have to be done going by touch alone as you could not see what you were doing.

If you chose to go from the top, it was a slow process of getting the soap in without having the escaping air push it back out.  When you take off the pump handle and attached parts, you can see down into the neck of the top portion.  Inside I found a narrow section that the soap had to go through while the air escaped.  If any soap covered this opening or got across it while filling, then the escaping air would push it upward making a bubbles or pushing the soap you just added back out, all over the counter.

Either route I chose, it was a process that was not easy.

While thinking on this yesterday the idea of using a funnel came to mind.  We have 3 different sizes of small funnels that I use in the kitchen.  Picking up the largest, I placed it on the top portion.  It was too large, the bottom of the funnel would not allow air to escape the neck of the bottle/top portion.  The middle size looked just right for what I was trying to do.

Now came the problem of it not actually reaching down to the junction neck.  Needing something to make it longer, I tried a drinking straw.  It was a tight fit, but was almost the exact size of the funnel’s tip.  I cut off about a third of the straw, pulling the cut portion through the funnel.  Now the soap could be drained straight into the bottle, allowing the air to escape up without touching the soap.  No bubbles.  No spilling over.

When I first did this, a portion of the straw stuck up into the funnel.  I tried to get it down as low as needed, but I did not want it to fall out.  It turns out that this was not much of an issue, as there was just enough space between the straw and funnel to allow any small amount of soap left in the funnel to drain down the outside of the straw, given enough time.

While washing dishes and doing other activities around the kitchen, I would fill the funnel and walk away.  When I noticed the soap had drain down into the bottle I added more.  The draining was not a quick action, but it was clean and did not require me to stand there to watch it; I could walk away and come back as my time allowed.  What was once a dreaded, time consuming chore had now become a very simple, effortless chore. It is amazing how a normal straw made my day so much easier.