DIYdiy projects

diy project: quick and easy soap dispenser

by Grace Bonney

when i was at home in virginia the other weekend i was walking around the house noticing all the little craft projects my mom has done to make things look nice. one exceptionally easy project she uses caught my eye because it solves a problem i’ve been having for years- wet, pulpy labels on dish soap containers.

i use, and love, my seventh generation dish soap, but i don’t love the packaging- and love the label even less. not because it’s particularly unattractive, but because it’s always getting wet and then tearing and turning into a mushy, pulpy mess on the counter (yes, i’m a somewhat messy dish-washer). so i’ve been wanting to find a way to swap out the container and keep the eco-friendly soap. inspired by my mom’s dish soap dispenser, i decided to find a new use for some vintage bottles i had lying around the house. one was an old olive oil bottle, the others were small bits and bobs i’ve picked up during travels. the process is incredible easy but i’ve written out the steps below the jump just to be super clear. if you’re looking for a super simple way to customize the way you use soap around the house, this is a fun and affordable project. thanks mom, for the inspiration!

CLICK HERE for the full project after the the jump!

Quick and Easy Soap Dispenser


-Bottles (you can use plastic, but glass is particularly pretty)*
-Plastic bottle pourers (I used these but you can find more styles here)


*Before you buy your bottle, make sure the bottle opening will fit the bottle pourer you bought.

1. Clean out your bottle and dry thoroughly
2. Fill with desired soap
3. Insert bottle pourer and make sure it is securely attached.

That’s it! Enjoy your new dispenser and say goodbye to wet, peeling labels.

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  • Love this! So simple, yet so elegant. I definitely will be putting a few of these together for my kitchen and bathroom.

  • Not only is does the 7th Generation soap have an unattractive package, but why not skip the plastic bottle all together? Most natural foods co-ops and even stores like Whole Foods/Wild Oats sell dish soap, shampoo, etc. in bulk. Just have a cashier weigh your pretty glass bottle before you fill it up, and you’ve eliminated the extra packaging!

  • I have one and it pours out just the right amount of soap and will make a bottle of soap last well over a year. i LOVE it. such a simple simple solution for aesthetic and conservation.

  • one additional tip! I do this same thing, but I add some water to the bottle (since you can’t squeeze glass, and shaking it too hard makes the bottle pourer fall out)

  • I love the fabric in the background, beautiful. What is it about dark backgrounds for a floral print that look so good!?

  • I love this!

    I actually saw someone use the same idea for storing/displaying mouthwash in the bathroom. The bright green added a nice pop to an all-white room.

  • We also keep our mouth wash in an olive oil bottle on the bathroom counter. It looks great and it’s easy to pour some straight in your mouth. You don’t even have to unscrew the lid!

  • That’s a great idea! I’ve been struggling with my hand soap dispenser turned dish soap dispenser. For some reason, dish soap just doesn’t like being in there and oozes out or clogs! I’ll have to go find a nice bottle now. :)

  • I’ve done this in the past. One tip – better to find the plastic spout devices rather than metal. Eventually the soap sort of eats the metal (of course you can just put in a new one, but a plastic one would wash).

    I love the mouthwash idea. I hate our costco size bottle and the only place to store it is in the open.

  • Ikea has a similar bottle setup that I use for my soap. The trick I’ve found is that as long as I keep the bottle at least half full, the soap flows well. Get too low on soap and you have to wait awhile for it to come out!

  • Lovely idea, so much prettier than the plastic squeeze bottle. Great tip about the bulk soap S@sha – no need to mess around with the plastic bottles at all!

  • this is exactly what i had done for our soap and i love it. another little burst of color on the counter and something so typical made pretty.

  • I actually saw this same idea in martha stewart living, but when I tried it, the pour spout kept popping out. I think it’s because the soap is so slippery that the stopper can’t catch on the bottle… I’m not sure, but the bottle and stopper did come together, so I know they’re meant to be used as a pair. Any ideas on what I can do?

    • kristin

      did you get soap on the actual stopper when you attached them? i left plenty of room between the soap level and the actual body of the plug and it’s been working without a hitch for a few weeks now.

      perhaps the plug isn’t tight enough? i’ll ask my mom, who’s been using hers for years….


  • i saw this somewhere and copied it and people always compliment it. dishsoap is actually pretty in a glass container and you can get a color that compliments your kitchen :)

  • Yay! Great idea, greener than buying more a plastic soap dispenser and I even have a vintage bottle that I love, but didn’t know how to use. Thank you!

  • I used to use a pretty olive oil container but the top would never go all the way in because of the soap. Now I use an old blue wine bottle and found specific pourers for wine bottles – now it works great.

  • I used to do this (before I was given some dish soap with really pretty containers) and it works so well. Dispenses just the right amount of soap.

  • I live down the street from Seventh Generation’s headquarters and am really tempted to march this idea right into them. I’ve never liked how gooey their bottles get…

  • i have been doing this since college. my friend always gave these as gifts. i made my own. u end up using way less soap, so it is just better all around. pretty and green!

  • How funny — I do the exact same thing because my mom has always done it that way, too!

    And a great idea for mouthwash is to use a carafe and glass set that would normally go on a nightstand.

  • coincidence! i was just this morning hating that the seventh generation label on the dish soap was looking nasty and made a mental note to stop by the local cooking supply shop for some of those pourer thingies. your look great!

  • I did this with my dish soap, but I got some lab glassware from the local university (for 10 cents a piece) and now have my soap sitting in boiling flasks (see link for example). It looks like a little experiment on my counter!

  • Bits & bobs??? Wow – do I hear a Brit…? I think you’re the only Brooklynite who uses that phrase besides me…
    Love the soap dispenser and I do it myself, although I inevitably always have the wrong size hole to pourer ratio and end up with a mess – need to find more sizes.
    Any chance of a D*S craft night in Bklyn???

  • Kristin, if you’re having trouble with the spout popping off take it out, rinse it and give it a rub down with some alcohol (rubbing works, even vodka LOL). Give the inside mouth of the bottle a good wipe too and let them dry before before putting them back together. This really gets them clean of soap-goo and gets a good “grip” working. Hope that helps, this is such a pretty project!

  • I did this for a while, I loved it! Unfortunately my bf put a stop to it. Why do men always put function over form? I guess if he’s the resident dishwasher I need to play by his rules….. Hopefully this post will make him think otherwise!

  • This is definitely on old Martha idea. One word of warning: wet and soapy glass bottles become very slippery. Choose a small bottle and one that fits comfortably in your hand— I’ve dropped/broken a couple of large (olive oil) bottles. Adding water to the mix is a must, especially with all the ‘concentrate’ dish soaps out there these days.

  • I’ve done this for years but I use wine stoppers as the topper. I love the metal ones with a decorative shape on top.

  • I have used a smal bottle (they get too heavy if too big) and done a mosaic on the outside of it. I use one for my olive oil and one for my hand soap in the bathroom. I decided it was too heavy for the frequent use my dish soap bottle gets. that one I left plain and clear. The mosaic bottle are so so pretty!! Broken up good will or st. vinnie’s or garage sale tea cups and saucers work great for this!

  • my mother in law always complained how i would leave the dishwashing soap on the counter after doing dishes. This was a great solution. now i can leave the dish soap out and it looks great on the counter because of my pretty bottle.

  • Ah, I love these! My mom uses old, short and stumpy Ball jars. She puts a hole in the top, puts a soap-dispensing pump through it, and fills it up! Not quite the same, but looks so so pretty in the old jars.

  • My bathroom will be seen by guests visiting my shop (although it’s also my home) – I use these for shampoo, conditioner, etc. where you can see them in my shower on the ledge (or if people get “interested” and peek!)

  • I’ve been using an ikea oil dispenser bottle for dish soap for ages. Not only does it look better, but it dispenses a small drop at a time!

  • Yeah, what is up with 7th Generation’s label? It gets so grody. I have always meant to do this with my soap, love the look.

  • I’ve been doing this for a while. Two cautions/suggestions: make sure you’ve sterilized or boiled the bottles you’ll use for mouthwash (I also use them for my Torani coffee syrups, homemade raspberry vinaigrette, etc.) and two, Williams-Sonoma makes a wider version of the bar pourer for those bottles that may be too big for the regular-size pourers you’ve shown in the OP.

  • I have done this for a long time with olive oil and vegetable oil(i always buy in bulk) to keep them out on the counter near the stove! And recently my parents brought my hubby a bottle of fabulous Tequila from mexico and I loved the tequila more than he did (mmm margaritas!!) and the glass bottle is fantastic and now houses my dish soap! Such an easy upgrade to add a little sunshine to an ever day chore!

  • what local stores do you buy the pourers? I have been doing this for sometime but am having trouble finding pourers that are large enough to dispense my dish soap.

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