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Using Less Soap in the Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap Dispenser

The Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System is possibly the most affordable automatic hand soap dispenser on the market, but unfortunately it requires expensive soap refills and does not offer any adjustments to increase or decrease the amount of soap dispensed.

What is the "right amount" of soap? Certainly the amount of soap needed to clean up after handling raw meat is not required for everyday use. Although some users of the Lysol No-Touch are satisfied with the amount of soap dispensed, others feel that this automatic soap pump is just washing their dollars down the drain.

Read this article to learn what one consumer is doing to limit the amount of expensive Lysol Healthy Touch soap dispensed with each hand washing.


A simple way to reduce soap dispensed from the Lysol Dispenser

  1. Remove the dispenser casing
  2. Remove the soap intake nozzle
  3. Remove and flip around the orange valve in the intake nozzle

The soap dispensed is now roughly half the usual amount! This works because with the intake valve flipped it no longer acts entirely as a one way valve, and during dipsensing, some of the soap goes back into the bottle rather than to the exit nozzle.

Thanks to downunder for this tip!

Options for Reducing Lysol Hand Soap Waste

When considering how to save money and reduce waste with the Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System, everything boils down to reducing the amount of soap dispensed and extending the life of the Lysol Healthy Touch refill containers.

Without any controls provided to manage soap usage, the following options were devised:

  1. Water down the soap
  2. Circuitry/mechanical modification to pump half as much soap
  3. Add something to pump reservoir to reduce the volume available for soap

Trial and Error

Watering down the soap

After learning how to open the refill canister, I attempted to use a diluted solution of Lysol Healthy Touch soap. With most of the soap emptied into a second container, water was added and gently stirred into the soap. While a mixture of about 1/3 water was too runny and therefore unsatisfactory for dispensing, adding more soap created a mixture which was well-balanced - not as thick as the original soap but thick enough to use.

The three visible screws secure the base to the plastic gear box. Each battery compartment has a screw at the bottom. When removed, the gray plastic lining can be detached from the base, exposing the machine's plumbing.

The three visible screws secure the base to the plastic gear box. Each battery compartment has a screw at the bottom. When removed, the gray plastic lining can be detached from the base, exposing the machine's plumbing.

Mechanical modifications

After removing the refill and batteries and using all the soap remaining in the system to prevent spills the dispenser can be opened by removing a series of screws in the base of the unit. While the Lysol No-Touch is very well-designed, much caution was required to avoid damaging the device.

The dispenser uses a small motor with a series of plastic gears to drive a plunger. The plunger pulls soap out of the bottle and pushes it to the dispenser. While it may be possible to replace the offset gear that produces the plunging motion in order to reduce the motion of the plunger (and volume of soap pumped), it would be difficult to find the proper parts and to make any such modifications without damaging the gear system. Financial and time investment into any such maintenance certainly exceeds the value of reducing or increasing the amount of soap dispensed.

Soap reservoir volume

Although less effective, the final option is to add something to the soap plunger reservoir which would occupy some volume in place of soap. Such a material could not prevent the plunger from moving to its normal extents to avoid locking up over causing excessive strain on the plastic gears. Adding anything which impedes the plunger action will reduce the longevity of the automatic hand soap dispenser and the thin plastic gears or plunger may break easily.

A Working Solution

After investigating the inner workings of the Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System I reassembled the device so that the mechanical assembly was screwed into the base but left the gray plastic liner detached from the battery compartments, allowing it to be easily removed as needed. After some confusion I noted that the red light will blink continuously if the unit is not properly assembled due to a misalignment of the sensor. This causes problems with the device's calibration which is performed when the device is turned on as a baseline for detecting motion.

Synthetic polyester sponge cut to the proper size disc (thickness depends on the density of the sponge) will reduce the volume of soap in the Lysol No-Touch plunger pump without stressing the gears. Natural sponge may foul over time but synthetic spo

Synthetic polyester sponge cut to the proper size disc (thickness depends on the density of the sponge) will reduce the volume of soap in the Lysol No-Touch plunger pump without stressing the gears. Natural sponge may foul over time but synthetic spo

I cut a synthetic sponge to the exact diameter of the plunger reservoir and after numerous attempts was able to find the proper amount of sponge that would dispense soap but not cause the gears to lock up. The system is designed intelligently so that when the gears lock up, the dispensing stops and remains disabled until the device is turned off.

Since the sponge resists the flow of soap, it was necessary to move some of the Lysol Healthy Touch soap to a second container for storage so that water could be added to thin the soap.

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The Lysol No-Touch, shown here dispensing watered-down Lysol Healthy Touch hand soap with the sponge modification. This setup provides what I consider "just the right amount" of soap.

The Lysol No-Touch, shown here dispensing watered-down Lysol Healthy Touch hand soap with the sponge modification. This setup provides what I consider "just the right amount" of soap.


The sponge reduces the amount of soap dispensed by about 25%, still ample soap for washing hands with a second dispensing available for greasy hands. This amount is also easier to rinse off once I am done washing my hands.

Is it worth the effort?

The operating cost of the Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System is roughly $39 per year if you use it 4 times daily. After watering down the soap and reducing the amount of soap dispensed you will save about 50% which reduces the annual cost to $20, still double the cost of standard Softsoap.

Unfortunately, any monetary savings from using less soap may be mitigated by the time investment to find a balance of soap to water and sponge to plunger, the potential of irreparably damaging the device, and the likely shortened life of the dispenser.

However, if you are concerned about the amount of soap dispensed due to the difficulty of rinsing it all off, this may be a solution. Otherwise you may prefer a higher priced automatic soap dispenser which offers soap adjustment switches and a refillable soap canister.

Use Appropriate Caution

If you have purchased the Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System, be sure to remove the paper lining from inside the packaging and read all of the instructions and warnings before operating the device. Batteries should be removed whenever the soap dispenser is not set up for standard use to prevent any electrical damage or personal injury. Using the device other than as directed may void any warranties, cause irreparable damage, and shorten the life of the dispenser.

The author is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or otherwise associated with the manufacturer of this product. The machine pictured above was purchased from Rite Aid pharmacy.

Poly sponge photo courtesy of LeoSynapse.

Lysol® is a registered trademark of Reckitt Benckiser Group. Softsoap® is a registered trademark of Minetonka, Inc. Corporation.

Reader Comments

Edith on October 01, 2019:

All the work for what? Just buy cheaper soap at the Dollar Stores and refill the lysol container which I have done for a long time.

Mark on August 28, 2015:

I have had the "turn the lights off" activation issue. It appears as if the soap build up around the nozzle was beginning to cover the sensor. Take a damp paper towel and clean all of the soap off of the sensor and your dispenser will work correctly. :)

Sharon from Perth on April 13, 2014:

I have thought about buying these, but seems like lots of problems. Although you have good ideas. thanks

betina on May 02, 2013:

If one was in luck to someway shorten the piston it wouldn't help either as the piston movement is dependent on the circular wheel it is mounted on. The closer the piston is to the pivoting point (centre of the wheel) the less up and down movement. I have not yet tried but maybe I will one day just out of sheer curiosity

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on February 03, 2013:

This modification was made on the original dispenser. I think they have redesigned it but since it is not a product that we have any use for, I haven't purchased the new one, sorry.

Denny on February 02, 2013:

@fritter so how your lysol no touch?? after modding it to dispense less soap? is any problem might happen? because what i read comment on youtube you provide i saw now they have triple dose coming out and as for the sponge thingy can you post the picture of what u have done if you dont mind thx

lame on November 18, 2012:

geezuz, you could get into more detail how to take apart the dispenser, im having trouble removing the grey liner after removing the 6 screws

Steve B. on April 18, 2012:

Another possibility is that the IR emitter (inside the unit, behind the red lens) could have somehow been shifted so that it no longer points properly at the sensor.

I noticed when I took the unit apart that the black housing is angled to point toward the sensor, but at the time I had it apart I didn't make the connection as to what it was (and I was working on the piston anyway, so didn't pay much attention to it). I wonder if its possible that the emitter might be out of position?

I seem to recall that it was fixed to the electronics board in one permanent position so it's probably not adjustable, but just in case it IS possible to move or re-aim it, that might be an area to check out.

If it isn't properly aimed at the sensor than obviously the unit would not operate properly or consistently ... Just a thought.



fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on April 18, 2012:

Interesting thoughts. Specifically makes me wonder if fluorescent lighting would work better than incandescent. Thanks for posting that feedback, the troubleshooting page comments have been in need of a helpful contributor for quite awhile. I've tried sanding down the red part to make it rough and opaque, but couldn't replicate the problems people have noticed.

Steve B. on April 18, 2012:

Hi, fritter!

Just posted what may be a solution to the problems reported in the other thread. I forgot to mention (for those people who have the unit dispensing soap when the lights are turned off, that the reason may be that the IR emitter is dirty or obstructed, but ANOTHER source of IR light is being detected by the unit (Perhaps coming from the bathroom light itself). When the light is turned off, the unit is sensing a loss of the IR beam, just like it would if the built in IR beam was interrupted by ones hands under the sensor/spout. It would be interesting to see if those people took the unit to another room with different lights and tried the same thing without the problem repeating itself...



Steve B. on April 18, 2012:

No Problem, fritter!

I'm going to experiment with removing the valve entirely to see if it still pumps any soap out or if it instead sends it all back into the refill container. I suspect that enough may still come out of the pump to qualify as "adequate" while sending most back into the refill, and if that is the case it would be the easiest way to control the amount of soap dispensed. Need more soap? just pass your hand under the dispenser again.

I'll report back with my findings. Haven't looked at the other thread yet, but when I do I hope I'll come up with a "brilliant" solution, hehe!



fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on April 13, 2012:

Steve, thanks for the follow-up, very interesting! If you ever happen to encounter issues like dispensing more than one pump per cycle or dispensing when the lights in the room are turned off and know how to fix those problems I am sure that many people would appreciate your wisdom over here

Steve B. on April 11, 2012:

Well, so much for the slicing off of the piston idea. After disassembling the pump and using a grinder to make the piston smaller (without removing too much material), I reassembled the pump to find absolutely no difference.

All I succeeded in doing was enlarging the capacity of the pumping chamber, allowing MORE soap into the chamber before being pumped out of the unit. The amount that comes out, as it turns out, is EXACTLY the same because the piston still moves the same distance as before. In order to mechanically reduce the amount of soap pumped one has to shorten the stroke of the piston. Changing its size will make no difference at all, and if I had stopped to think about it I would have realized it before going to all the trouble - DOH!

For my money, using a combination of the valve reversal and sponge will be the most easiest way to reduce the volume of soap pumped per cycle, and that's what I intend to do. It's possible that having ground down the piston a bit MIGHT allow me to use more sponge than the original poster did without binding the gears, but I'll have to wait and see. Obviously, the softest sponge material should allow the pump to operate with the least resistance (during compression) while still displacing a lot of soap that would otherwise be pumped out during the cycle.

Hope this is helpful to others planning to mod their units!




Steve B. on April 10, 2012:

I watched ChinaStuffReview's video and was intrigued, since I also believe that the dispenser pumps much more soap than is necessary ... Not surprising when one considers Lysol is hoping to sell lots of refills.

What really caught my eye, though, was a comment left for him suggesting that one could open up the pump assembly (carefully, of course) and slice off part of the piston, effectively reducing the amount of soap pumped each cycle. I intend to try this mod on both of my dispensers.

Regarding refills, I simply created a 3/4 inch hole (drill/cut/melt - whatever works) in the top of the refill, and then glued on the plastic screw cap from a quart sized milk container. This makes it easy to refill with any soap you like, while protecting against spils or leaks. Even better - the cap looks like it was always meant to be there!

I think adding the hole and the screw cap is a better long-term solution than repeatedly prying off the base of the refill, which will likely crack with repeated prying and make the refill container unusable. All in all, a great, inexpensive alternative to the more expensive dispensers, and with the mods done it ought to work perfectly!


ChinaStuffReview on October 03, 2011:

Hi I made a tutorial video of how to flip the orange valve right here:

Hope its usefull. I read the article and it inspired me to make a tutorial, it was still pretty hard to figure out through text only. My soap dispenser does half the dose now and Im very happy :)

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on September 17, 2011:

Great method - added it to the article.

downunder on September 17, 2011:

I would like to share with you and your readers, a simple modification to the dispenser that reduces soap volume dispensed.

The casing of the dispenser needs to be removed first. The soap intake nozzle needs to be removed next. There is a small orange valve in the intake nozzle, this is removed and then put back in flipped the other way around.

The soap dispensed is now roughly half the usual amount! This works because with the intake valve flipped it no longer acts entirely as a one way valve, and during dipsensing, some of the soap goes back into the bottle rather than to the exit nozzle.

NO other changes to the setup required.

vinsanity on June 07, 2011:

This would really be a nice thing to have. I would assume this would save you money over time.

Peg on February 20, 2011:

Thanks for the information. Would love to see more pictures of each step described.

Brenda on January 24, 2011:

this is great for the aged if the suffer from any pain in the hands,it is easy for them saves, pushing down on a pump also great for the cook with grease on the hands.

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on September 23, 2010:

A new article has been created to help troubleshoot problems with the Lysol No Touch dispenser, check it out here!

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on September 10, 2010:

Great! Toothbrushes are awesome for cleaning, I guess the sensor may not be very resilient to even the smallest amount of buildup...

Becky on September 10, 2010:

Fritteritter, thanks for the advice. I cleaned the sensor again, this time with a dry toothbrush and now it's working again!

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on September 09, 2010:

Becky, when I have seen Lysol No Touch dispenser blinking continuously in the past it was due to the sensor. I am not sure if that is the only cause of continuous blinking, but I think it is the most likely. The red part with the blinking light does not contain the actual sensor, just a reflector. The sensor itself is on the dispenser arm.

The sensor is the thing nearest to the end of the dispenser arm, on the underside. Be sure that it is wiped clean and hopefully the dispenser will work again.

If that doesn't fix the issue and you haven't actually disassembled the dispenser, it is possible that a wire has come loose or shorted out. If the defective refill was brand new from a store, you may be able to get better troubleshooting or even a replacement dispenser from Lysol. Try calling them at 1-800-841-1256.

Becky on September 09, 2010:

Fritteritter, a thousand thanks for your informative blog. I was hoping you could help. Somehow the inside cap of one of my refills broke and over the course of a couple of days leaked soap everywhere. I rinsed the unit off and set it to dry. The next time I turned it on it blinked and blinked and never stopped. It does not dispense soap. I've tried wiping down the sensor lights and the battery terminals and I've put in new batteries with no success - just blinking. Any advice?

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on July 28, 2010:

Anita, sounds like you might be interested in refilling the containers. They can be refilled with hand soap, dish soap, or body wash when you pop off the lid. The instructions are here:

You probably won't see any good coupons for the refills. Reckitt Benckiser Group, the company that makes the product, does not often offer coupons for refills of their Lysol, Airwick, Finish, or other products.

I'm not affiliated with the company, but you can contact them to share your idea here:

anita y alch on July 28, 2010:

i just purchased a lyson hand soap motion for my friend who can only use one hand............ she loves it now i am going to buy me one... and another friend. we love it. is it possible for some coupons for the refill.... i have another idea my friend how has one hand to use she uses a body plunger soap it would be nice if you company looked into making the same body soap in a motion also... you company would be the first to make it and i know people with disablits would use that also..... thank you ....

fritteritter (author) from Ohio, USA on April 26, 2010:

koren, you can follow the instructions in the article linked above:

Some people have also written comments there regarding their own preferred refill methods.

koren on April 26, 2010:

how do you open the refill canister that holds the soap?

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