An automatic soap dispenser is a freestanding or wall-mounted device that dispenses a pre-measured dollop of liquid or foam soap when a hand is passed beneath it. A sensor inside the device activates the pump when it detects movement. Automation in soap dispensers, faucets, hand dryers and sometimes even flushes on toilets are becoming common in such places as shopping malls, medical buildings, airports and other high-traffic areas. The automatic soap dispenser, which is often called a hands-free or touchless dispenser, is now also available for use in the home, along with other similar gadgets.
Hand soap purchased in a manual pump dispenser requires the user to push down on the nozzle to pump out the soap. This is more convenient than having to pick up a container and squeeze soap into the hand, but an automatic soap dispenser is even simpler to use. It is not necessary to touch the device, so it is easy to get soap with one hand without dropping or knocking over the container.
There are several benefits to this kind of device. Only one hand is needed, so someone with busy hands or slippery hands can get soap from a hands-free dispenser more easily than from a standard one. Another important benefit is hygiene. The user does not have to touch the hands-free soap dispenser at all, so no germs or dirt can be transferred to it for the next person to touch. This type of dispenser may also encourage hand washing, especially in children who might be fascinated by the hands-free operation of the device.
Another benefit that not everyone considers is cost. An automatic soap dispenser will push out the same amount of hand soap every time, minimizing the waste that might occur if someone uses a standard dispenser and pumps it several times. Likewise, a hand lotion dispenser and shampoo dispenser offer the same cost-savings and convenience benefits that hand soap devices do. The shampoo dispenser is especially convenient, because the user will not have to worry about opening or dropping slippery shampoo bottles in the shower.
This type of soap dispenser for the home is generally battery operated. Most units will dispense several thousand times on one set of batteries. A home automatic soap dispenser may come with extra features as well, such as a sensor or a see-through window so the user will know when the soap level is getting low. Some also have battery monitors so the batteries can be changed before the dispenser stops working.