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When architects design washstations, they need to consider a range of factors while determining the placement of soap dispensers. These factors include enhancing user experience, optimising space utilisation, and ensuring that any surplus soap released by the dispenser conveniently drips into the washbasin and not on the vanity surface.

As washroom consultants, we often help our clients by offering insights into best locations for soap dispenser placement within commercial washrooms, as we frequently receive questions like, “What side does the soap dispenser go on?”.

In this article, you will receive valuable recommendations on soap dispenser placement for commercial washrooms, as well as insights into washstation designs to exercise caution in order to prevent the potential dripping of excess soap onto the vanity tops.

Different types of soap dispensers and locations

First and foremost, when choosing your vanity surface, washbasin, and commercial soap dispenser, you must consider how all three are going to function together. This comes down to getting the washstation design just right and making sure all the dimensions align perfectly.

Here are a few commercial designs from Dolphin Solutions’ past washroom projects, showcasing the ideal soap dispenser placement that has been strategically chosen. These locations not only direct any extra soap to drip directly into the washbasin but also manage to maximise space and enhance the overall user experience:

Panel mounted soap dispenser in an Accessible Doc M washroom rendering

Panel mounted soap dispensers

The thoughtful placement of a panel mounted soap dispenser on the opposite side of the washbasin from the counter mounted tap holds a significant advantage for disabled users.

The soap dispenser placement ensures that a user with limited mobility or visual impairments can distinctly differentiate between the soap dispenser and the tap thus creating an intuitive experience for disabled individuals.

It is positioned close to the edge of the washbasin, striking the perfect balance to ensure any surplus soap drips straight into the basin.

Situating the tap closest to the WC, in line with accessible regulations, helps reinforce the user’s understanding of the layout. As a result, the accessible washroom becomes more user friendly, making it easier for disabled persons to navigate and utilise the facilities independently and confidently.

A row of gold special finish panel mounted soap dispensers and curved basins

Here is another washroom project highlighting a panel mounted soap dispenser strategically positioned to allow soap to drip directly into a curved washbasin.

The washbasin’s arrangement between the splashback and the soap dispenser placement has been carefully thought through, and their dimensions harmonise smoothly.

To enhance user convenience and distinguish between the tap and the soap dispenser, a distinct style of commercial soap dispenser has been selected. Placing it adjacent to the tap ensures swift and straightforward usage, contributing to an overall pleasant user experience.

Superloo washroom with tap and soap dispenser positioned on opposite sides of washbasin

Counter mounted soap dispensers

Here is a unique approach to a counter mounted soap dispenser, where the tap and soap dispenser are strategically positioned on opposing sides of the washbasin. This arrangement not only achieves a harmonious and balanced design but also facilitates practicality.

Any surplus soap that drips downward easily finds its way into the basin, ensuring effortless cleanup, making this an ideal soap dispenser placement idea in commercial washrooms.

Washstations equipped with a behind mirror soap dispenser

Behind mirror soap dispensers

Each of these washstations is equipped with a behind mirror soap dispenser for every washbasin.

The space between the basin and the splashback measures approximately 70mm, while the outlet of the soap dispenser positioned behind the mirror extends around 120mm. This setup with its carefully planned dimensions ensures the dripping of any excess soap falls directly into the washbasin while enhancing user convenience.

The behind mirror system includes illuminated icons that precisely guide users to the soap source, enhancing the user friendly experience that is essential when selecting the best soap dispenser placement in a commercial washroom.

Soap dispenser locations to be cautious of

Here are three examples of washstation designs to cautious of, as they illustrate how soap can drip onto vanity tops when the proper measurements between the soap dispenser outlet and the washbasin, as well as their functional compatibility, are not carefully considered.

Behind mirror soap dispenser with curved basins illustrated drawing

1. Behind mirror soap dispenser with curved basins

Due to an oversight in analysing the dimensions, this example clearly demonstrates how the soap dispenser placement between the behind mirror soap dispenser and a round basin can result in soap droplets narrowly missing the basin’s rim and, unfortunately, ending up on the vanity surface.

Soap dispenser leak dripped on the edge of washbasin

As a result, it leads to an unsightly mess and necessitates regular cleaning efforts to uphold the washroom’s pristine appearance. This places a significant labour burden on facilities teams due to the demanding maintenance requirements.

Behind washbasin soap dispenser illustrated drawing

2. Behind washbasin soap dispenser

In this particular plan, the panel mounted soap dispenser placement was deliberately designed to be behind the counter top basin. However, this introduces a potential concern, as it could lead to the accumulation of excess dripping soap on the vanity top behind the basin.

Dripping soap not only creates an unsightly mess and the potential for long term damage to the vanity, but it also presents challenges for cleaners who need to access the area behind the basin for cleaning purposes. What’s worse, the soap accumulation might go unnoticed, further complicating the situation of damage to the vanity top.

Soap dispenser placed between two washbasins

3. Soap dispenser between washbasins

From a value engineering standpoint, if having a soap dispenser per washstation is not feasible, it might be considered to place one dispenser between two basins, which means users would share it.

However, this setup brings up the issue of soap potentially dripping on the counter and users accidentally bumping their hands when reaching for the soap dispenser at the same time.

This type of soap dispenser placement is commonly found in school washrooms.

Where is the best place to put a washroom soap dispenser?

To determine the best location for public toilet soap dispenser placement, you need to analyse the intricate details that go beyond its physical location. It is not merely about aesthetics; the functionality of the whole washstation is equally important.

Keep in mind elements like user experience, space optimisation, selecting the appropriate soap dispenser finishes and style that aligns with your overall design, and even the practical aspects of maintenance and cleaning.

Dolphin Solutions consistently analyses architects’ drawings to ensure every little detail is considered in every aspect of a washroom. If you need help with your soap dispenser placement and washroom design, we are more than ready to lend a hand.