Reading time: 6 minutes

A soap dispenser is one of the smallest fittings in the washroom and plays the most significant role in controlling hygiene and cross-contamination of bacteria at the washstation. Choosing the most suitable soap dispenser involves its design elements, hygienic properties, maintenance, sustainability, compliance with UK water regulations, the type of soap, and the soap tank.

Supplying soap dispensers was once Dolphin’s core business, and over the years, we have expanded our product range to provide everything our clients need in a modern commercial washroom today. As a leader in manufacturing and supplying soap dispensers, we can help you choose the right soap dispenser and refill option for your washroom and provide you with all the information to consider before making your final decision.

In this article, we will dive deeper into bulk-fill tubs, multi-feed soap systems, and soap cartridges.

Bulk-fill and multi-feed soap refill systems

Bulk-fill and multi-feed soap systems


Bulk-fill and multi-feed soap systems for wall-mounted, counter-mounted, and behind mirror soap dispensers are commonly found in commercial washrooms rather than free-standing open bottles.

Typically, a multi-feed system is a resealable plastic tub with a clear PVC tube to feed the soap from the reservoir into the soap dispensers. Multi-feed systems can supply soap from one to four counter mounted or panel mounted soap dispensers.

A bulk-fill soap container is also a resealable plastic tub minus the soap feed and is a refill option that manually replenishes soap.

Hygienic properties

The main concern is whether the dispensed soap has been contaminated before use. If bulk-fill dispensers or multi-feed soap tanks are not thoroughly cleaned before each replenishing cycle, bacteria starts to grow over time which causes a congealing effect that blocks the soap feed. Washing hands with contaminated soap is harmful to users therefore maintaining a manual soap dispenser or touch free soap dispenser and the tank is imperative to include in the housekeeping schedule.

Provided the maintenance and cleaning procedure is carried out efficiently, bulk-fill and multi-feed soap systems are still popular options for open soap dispensers.

Sustainability and eco-friendly

As both soap reservoirs come with refillable options, this eliminates replacing the soap with a new tub each time replenishing is required. Plastic drums and plastic soap feeds are also recyclable.

The type of soap and its molecular makeup can also affect the environment. For example, some liquid soaps have a hard time binding with the ions in water, making them stick to a user’s hands resulting in a longer duration of using water to wash it off. Essentially, water and energy get wasted due to being heated upon activation.


Maintaining a soap dispenser is a necessary routine procedure to ensure optimised functionality and keep the washroom always looking pristine, but refilling the reservoirs proves to be a little more challenging.

A lot more labour goes into refilling a soap reservoir as the steps include:

  1. Constant checking whether the dispenser needs a refill
  2. Pulling out the soap reservoir
  3. Taking the lid off
  4. Draining and flushing out the reservoir and soap feed
  5. Refilling the tub or replacing the tub
  6. Reattaching soap feed for a multi-feed system
  7. Screwing the lid back on
  8. Cleaning up any soap mess that may have spilt

Facility staff run the risk of hurting themselves when pouring large tubs of soap to refill a reservoir. For example, lifting, carrying and positioning a 5-litre tub of soap under a vanity unit is physically exhausting and intensive, especially if replenishment is necessary on a continuous basis.

Contact us at or on 01424202224 for washroom design assistance or any further queries.

Cartridge soap dispensing system design

Cartridge soap dispensing system


Behind mirror soap dispenser

A soap cartridge is a component of a soap dispensing system or mounted soap dispenser that contains a closed cartridge for soap which is dispensed during an activation. The compact unit typically holds the soap in a sanitised plastic capsule contained in a cardboard box for easier handling and avoiding damage to the contents.

Fixed to the container is a pressure dispensing valve that allows the soap to flow through the feed only once it has been clipped into the soap dispensing system, making this an innovative design to avoid soap spillage, mess, and soap contamination.

Cartridge soap dispensing systems can be concealed behind a mirror – see Dolphin’s Alavo Mirror System – or an IPS panel, keeping it out of sight and providing ease of access when changing cartridges.

Multi-feed soap dispensing system

Dolphin also introduced the two part reservoir system where the first part is a cartridge holding 3,5 litres of foam soap (approximately 10,000 shots of foam soap) and the second reservoir holds 2 litres (approximately 5,500 shots of foam soap). These two options are available for washstation designs that require either a multi-feed system or a wall mounted soap cartridge dispenser.

An advanced feature of the cartridge multi-feed design is the soap pipes can run at a longer distance across the room, and due to being gravity fed combined with the low viscosity of foam soap, the soap can flow further, reaching more washstations. This would be the ideal setup in a superloo layout where, for example, each neighbouring superloo has a washstation on the adjoining wall, and one cartridge multi-feed soap dispenser system can cater for several superloos.

Hygienic properties

Cartridge soap is not only the most hygienic option on the market, but it is fully compliant with WELL standards, giving you peace of mind that you will achieve one point in this requirement. As the system is completely sealed, the chance of debris contaminating the contents is significantly reduced and may not even be possible.

Unlike manual or bottled soap dispensers, soap cartridges cannot be refilled and must be replaced with a new cartridge upon replenishment. The soap feed from the cartridge system does not require cleaning before replacing a new cartridge which may eliminate the potential of soap contamination during housekeeping and maintenance procedures.

Although sealed, many soap cartridges are rigid, meaning air admittance is needed as the soap is dispensed upon activation. Collapsible soap cartridges for instance in Dolphin’s range, have an inner lining that allows complete emptying of the container, eliminating the need for air ingress, therefore reducing the risk of contamination.

Sustainability and eco-friendly

Considering that soap cartridges are typically a combination of plastic and cardboard, both of these components have recyclable properties and have the potential to be recycled responsibly.

Typically soap cartridges hold foam soap which is a far more environmentally friendly option because there is less product going down the drain after each use, and less water is required to wash it off due to its water-based content.

In the long run, incorporating this system essentially saves water. Users spend less time applying water to wash the foam soap off their hands, ultimately creating a positive ripple effect that serves far beyond design, hygiene, and maintenance advantages.


Replacing a soap cartridge requires minimal maintenance and is less labour-intensive to replenish the soap. The process is simple for facilities staff taking out the empty cartridge, slotting in a new one, and clicking it into place. From opening the packaging to completing the replenishment can take as little as 40 seconds! Watch our video to see how replacing a soap cartridge is the easiest and simplest process in a commercial washroom.

Get in touch